Retail Strategy Group’s Liza Amlani On Smarter Inventory Planning

Learn how to get your products to market faster by perfecting the art of inventory planning.

A topsy-turvy economy, erratic consumer behavior, and evolving software tools have made it imperative for brands to bring products to market quickly.

Join our host, Adii Pienaar, and Liza Amlani, founder and Principal of Retail Strategy Group, as they talk speed-to-market strategies like:

  • Align cross-functional teams to make faster and better decisions 
  • Improve prototyping and sampling processes
  • Marry the art and science in planning, merchandising, and operations to drive success and growth

Tune in on: Apple | Google | Spotify

"There is an art and science to buying product and to filling a store and getting closer to the customer. We must marry art and science. Being a creative person, I will also tell you that me guessing what the customer wants doesn't always work. And that's why we must enable technology to help us understand what the customer wants to a greater degree than what we can do on our own."
Liza Amlani, principal at Retail Strategy Group

Meet Liza Amlani

Liza Amlani is the founder and Principal at Retail Strategy Group. With more than 21 years of experience at luxury and mass merchant retailers in regional and global markets, Liza has become the go-to expert in retail merchandising, product creation, and speed to market. 

She is a RETHINK Retail Top Influencer, as well as a regular contributor to RetailWire, Bloomberg, and Forbes. She is also a respected voice on diversity, equity, and inclusion. 

Connect with Liza on: LinkedIn | Twitter

About Retail Strategy Group

Retail Strategy Group is the go-to expert in merchandising, product creation,

and accelerating speed to market for retailers and global brands.

With over 25 years of experience in retail, RSG takes pride in knowing they can make a difference by helping brands accelerate their speed to market, preserve gross margins and deliver products that their customers truly want.

Learn more about Retail Strategy Group on: LinkedIn | Website | Newsletter

The Checkout episode 43 unpacks:

In today’s episode, Adii Pienaar and Liza Amlani exchange wide-ranging insights on speed-to-market strategies, better inventory management, and deeper relationships with partners and customers. Here are the highlights:


The hidden “perils of inventory management”

  • Many retailers suffer from guesswork, resulting in understocking or excess inventory
  • “It’s sad, and folks have been working the same way for so long that something needs to change, and a fire sale is not the answer.”

Overcoming today's biggest barriers to inventory management

  • Changing the mindset and habits of retailers will be the biggest barrier. Why? Because habits have not evolved as quickly as software solutions
  • Retailers who continue to use Excel-based inventory management systems fail to automate and scale
  • “Time, effort and space can be freed up if we start to enable digital tools like 3D printing when sampling versus going overseas to sample, or even looking at assortment planning tools that will help you better predict what the customer wants.”

Improving ROI with retail technology

  • Retailers are still miscalculating the right time to provide the right product because they aren’t using the right technology to help drive better decisions
  • “The first metric I always look at is gross margin and revenue. And that’s what every merchant, every planner, every CFO, is going to look at. And that is directly tied to inventory management and how much you’re buying.”

The science to getting closer to customers

  • Using consumer insights to drive better decision-making closes the “customer feedback loop”
  • Retailers must enable technology to help understand what the customers want to a greater degree than what we (as humans) can do on our own

The opportunities to increase speed to market

  • Lisa has worked with large global brands who are buying blind a year in advance and physically sampling everything even if they don’t need to
  • Conquer the barriers against speed to market: Manual processes, hybrid model and get cross-functional teams together
  • “By launching faster to market, you’re gonna get closer to what your consumer is actually reacting to or shifts or trends in the market, and you’ll able to react to them a lot faster than you would buying a year or more in advance.”

How brands can avoid missing their launch deadlines

  • In some cases, brands physically sample too much when it is possible to sample digitally
  • Better alignment with cross-functional teams and retail partners creates a better plan and better execution
  • “Freeing up time by enabling digital tools, 3D sampling, digital twins even, I think that is where we’re going to make a dent in getting faster to market.”

How better partnerships improve visibility in your global supply chain

  • Adii and Liza exchange helpful tools that add visibility in supply chain management, merchandising, and planning
  • “They have this fear of letting go, and that’s why you need to have better partnerships and deeper relationships with your factory partner.”

Avoiding excessive inventory and stockouts

  • Liza believes in solving the overbuying challenge by buying the right product at the right time
  • Adii recognizes that being customer-centric allows brands to know what their supply chain looks like so they can tell customers when a product will once again be available once it stocks out
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Connecting the dots: People, data and insights

  • Truly invaluable insights that you can’t capture through data come down to asking the right questions to get the information you need
  • Adii: “Data is good, but all of this success will depend on that marriage and that balance between the art and science of getting closer to the customer.”