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Mariel Eben ACF Abstract FY11

"Georgie's Consignment Shop: Inventory and CRM Practices"

Conference Name: North American Case Research Association (NACRA) 2010 Annual Meeting

Georgie’s Consignment Clothing opened in 1981, when resale shops were just beginning to appear around the country. Located in a historic Post House, Georgie’s attracts shoppers and consigners from across West Michigan. Readers of both “On the Town” and “Grand Rapids” magazines have recognized Georgie’s as the best consignment shop in the area. Consignment merchandise is held for sale for two months and priced at one-third of the retail price, or one-half of the retail price if the items have original sales tags. In 2009, Georgie’s had revenues of $700k and paid out one-half of revenues to consigners. 

Within the consignment industry, there is a splurge of competitive growth across the nation. Women’s suits are no longer in vogue, thus reducing the traditional high price-points retailers have historically exploited. To catalyze growth, Georgie's needs to increase its consignment inventory and capitalize on its excellent customer service. Traditional methods, such as advertising coupons, have proven ineffective. The current inventory system is completely manual and centers around an organization of color-coded index cards and tags. The case seeks to analyze whether the implementation of technology, namely an inventory management system and customer relationship management, will be a helpful and profitable investment for Georgie's Consignment Shop. The case shows how inventory and customer retention processes can prove to be either outdated or competitive advantages. For example, is color coding the inventory and manually sorting clothes based on the date they were received still effective? Is it enough of a competitive advantage to personally know your customers?

The subsequent Instructor's Manual addresses suggested teaching approaches, student discussion questions and answers, an instructor's chalkboard diagram, a process flowchart, and a TOWS analysis (similar to a SWOT analysis).