Why is there too much stock of exotic colors that no one wants?

Merchandisers juggle with data to predict future sales. But a surprising quirk hides in their practices: they tend to make the same mistakes. Why is that? Because they have an unfortunate habit of ignoring missed sales, those moments when we can no longer find our favorite blue jeans but only the same model in green. Imagine if you had to plan your next birthday party based solely on the guests who came to the previous ones, never taking into account those who couldn't come!

Let's take a concrete example: you have to forecast the sales of different colors of a new jeans collection. You therefore rely on past sales figures to decide on the quantities to order. If, unfortunately, navy blue was out of stock for two long months, you risk ending up each year with a surplus of purple or green jeans, a color to which you stubbornly clung because of previous sales, and a cruel lack of navy blue, your customers' favorite color. It's a bit like planning a picnic without worrying about the weather: you could end up with a stock of umbrellas in the middle of summer!

It is in this spiral of forgetting missed sales that merchandisers find themselves, thus reproducing the same past mistakes, simply because they do not have the tools to collect missed sales. So the next time you see a merchandiser juggling with numbers, don't forget to give him a little reminder: "Don't lose sight of missed sales, you might end up with a stock of green where you dreamed of navy blue!"

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