As we grow our inventory, we try to part out sets according to a strategy. Sure, the set that’s 70% off after Christmas obviously gets picked, but sometimes we have tougher choices. We compete with many other stores in a marketplace and consequently think often about how to make our store the most attractive.
We want a broad inventory. When someone comes looking for an odd part, we want to have it in stock obviously. The more types of parts and the more colors present, the more orders we earn. When looking to increase the breadth of our inventory, we look at the number of new lots a set adds. We still want to part out multiple copies to make time spent parting out more efficient, but will do smaller numbers. Currently, five copies of a set is roughly my lower limit. We add new lots to the inventory, though often only five or ten of a part.
Orders earned by breadth of inventory tend to have a lot of lots in them. Two of this piece, four of another. Perhaps someone wants to restore and rebuild an old set? Looking at the wide variety of LEGO® elements produced through the ages certainly gives a desire to play and build!
Other buyers come looking for a large quantity of certain parts. We call these orders “depth orders”. When purchasing sets, we might buy 20+ copies of these sets. On Black Friday, we bought 83 copies of a set at WalMart – this does a minimal amount to widen the number of lots in our store. Yet it gives us the quantities to satisfy most builders. Last week, I got to list 664 of the 2×4 brick in red – large numbers like this (especially in basic bricks) often sell all at once. When they do, that’s a depth order.
To see the contrast, check out these two orders I picked today. One consists of three minifigures from different Star Wars sets. That’s breadth – if we hadn’t parted out those three sets, the buyer goes elsewhere. The other includes 200 of a particular plant leaf and nothing else. We earned that order by having a deep inventory, most stores just don’t have that quantity of this decorative element.