It is the best way for us to meet the needs of *most* Disc Golfer’s - willing to wait for a great deal. Let me expand on that with a little background.
When we originally launched Disc Jock, we had a large number of shirt options available (over 2,000) and printed each item as they were ordered. Often this required us to order blank shirts from our suppliers on an individual basis. As you can imagine, this adds in a lot of extra operating costs. This ad-hoc management of our supply line forced us to keep the price per shirt in the $20 per cotton shirt range which we found was above what disc golfers were willing to pay. The first couple months ran at a loss which was acceptable to us as a marketing cost while starting to build the name, but we knew we couldn’t keep this up for long.
So we started tested out different theories. First we tried to preprint orders and bring down the number of options. While this worked to some extent we received a number of disappointed comments about not being able to get a shirt in the color that they wanted – plus we were stuck with a number of shirt options that sit in our inventory … certainly not something that we could do with every design that we come up with.
Next we tried to bulk up our blank garment inventory to see if we could anticipate what garments, colors, and sizes would be popular. We figured that beefing up inventory levels to $4,000 would allow us to cover the most likely ordered combinations. Uh, not really. Some of it could be forecasted, but color selections appeared to change with the changing seasons in both style and color. In the end we realized that true Just-In-Time manufacturing would not work at our scale. Plus, the new price point of $16 still was not low enough to meet most disc golfer budgets after shipping ($21 total).
Then we decided to dip deeper into the MBA bag of tricks and see if we could shift toward processing in bigger batches. For our custom apparel company this works great for clubs and businesses. So what we decided to try was to have flash mob sales where our sales would only be available for a short period so that we could pool all orders together. This way we can eliminate procurement shipping costs and drop our prices to a new low of $10 per shirt. Many of our customers loved this and order sizes went on average 1.1 shirts per order to 2.3 shirts per order – great. With this move Disc Jock became a lot easier to manage for us as well. A true win-win. However, we received a growing number of concerns about the short length of the sales and ended up spending a lot of time with individual buyers to help them find something that we had in stock in the days after our supply order.
This spurred us to adopt a highbred approach where we offer some shirts year round based on the blank inventory that we have in stock, while we open up the full garment catalog in our sales. The orders purchased out of existing blank inventory stock are processed as they are received and shipped quickly. The orders from our current sale list will pool up until our sale ends and then will be processed the weekend after the sale and shipped the following Monday. Is it a perfect answer? No. Are we completely satisfied with this approach? No. We are seeking alternative ecommerce platform tools to better help us run Disc Jock the way that we want to, but it will take time.
Until we have a more optimal solution in place we will continue to run the highbred approach and tweak the length of the sale, the length of notice we give disc golfers, etc. Another thing we do is review each sale order against what blank stock we have on hand. If we happen to have the stock available then we treat it like an “in stock” purchase and process it & ship it quickly.
What can you do if you want your order ASAP? First, you can purchase sale items on garments colors/sizes that are displayed in our current stock section. All items in our current stock section (with exception to our preprinted Graffiti shirts) are sitting in our stock room un-printed. In other words if you see a “Large – I’d Hit That – Black Drifit” in our current stock, then that Large Black Drifit can be used to print an item from our current sale. Alternatively, you are more than welcome to send us an email listing what you’d like to order including garment style/size/color and we can help you pick items that are in stock before you put in your order on our website.
Thanks for your understanding with this!
jason - Drive, Putt, Repeat