Just a few months ago, Disney+ introduced a character who took the media by storm. The cuteness overload from The Mandalorian’s Baby Yoda dominated social media platforms and ranked among the highest searched toys online during the 2019 holiday season. To the disappointment of many, no such toys were available. For a brand that famously launches character empires in media and merchandise, this caused many to question who was responsible for the miss that left $3M worth of sales on the table.
The race against lead times
Disney eventually revealed that the lack of inventory was intentional in an effort to create excitement around the character. To avoid leaks before fans of the Star Wars empire were able to see Baby Yoda’s debut, partnering toy companies like Hasbro were not given any guidance in product planning until the show’s launch in November 2019. Given the lead time to prototype, manufacture, and bring to market, the earliest release of Hasbro toys will be May 2020.
Meanwhile, other companies with more flexible supply chains are able to take advantage of this trend much faster. Mattel will be able to release toys and action figures in February, just 4 months out from Baby Yoda’s release. Outside of figurines, others reacted with t-shirts and small chachkies after the first episode without product renderings, using just the images shown on the show. Anything to capitalize on the trend, though not quite enough to satisfy the millions of dollars worth of demand from gift givers.
Given their vast empire, Disney was able to forgo top dollar to protect its assets. Though the same does not hold true for many retailers. Flexibility in supply chain is crucial to monetizing on abrupt trends and unpredicted customer demand.
Tapping into trends
While you can’t always predict what craze is going to unfold, you can intelligently invest in inventory so that you have adequate resources to help you pivot when needed. Ensuring you’re not overstocked is a proven way to have adequate cash on hand to fuel quick endeavors. More importantly, having the right stock at the right time allows you to meet your current demand, fueling your profitability and driving your overall business. Fuse’s ability to help you streamline forecasting and ordering while accurately predicting demand can help set you up for success so that your business doesn’t miss the next big thing.