July 14, 2024

Alex Morgan (Yes, This Will Be About Merchandise)

When the USWNT Olympics Team was announced, all-time great Alex Morgan wasn't on the team. Nor was she on the four player alternate list. The new coach stated she was taking the team in a different direction. Which, if you follow the team, is sad.

Alex Morgan was the youngest member of the 2011 World Cup team that lost to Japan, and was a central figure in the teams that won the World Cup in 2015 and 2019. She also made the 2023 World Cup team that did not medal.

In Merchandise Dynamics terms, she was a member of the Class of 2010 (when she joined the team), was a winner for nearly a decade, and now will not play for an opportunity to win Olympic Gold.

You have items in your assortment that are comparable. Maybe it's the Start Here Slinky Tank, or the Ruched-Waist Houndstooth Floral Dress.

You'll know you have a budding problem if you measure the "age of winners". You already do this, right? For each of the items you believe are "winners", you measure the number of months the item has been offered. If you have a problem, the problem looks like this.

• Through 7/10/2024 = Winners are 39.4 months old.
• Through 7/10/2023 = Winners are 33.2 months old.
• Through 7/10/2022 = Winners are 28.5 months old.
• Through 7/10/2021 = Winners are 27.9 months old.

This means your assortment is aging. You are not finding new items to replace the items that always worked.

Your assortment will always go through a transition, with best sellers extracting as much profit as possible from customers before tiring, before being replaces by up-and-coming items. You are no different than the General Manager of an NFL, MLB, NHL, or NBA team. In fact, you should have a prediction for every item in your assortment for how long of a life that item has left. You are no different than the Green Bay Packers, assessing the number of high-performing years that Aaron Rodgers had left, analyzing that against the upside potential of Jordan Love, and then making a decision that was very risky at the time and, in retrospect, pretty clever.

Does this make sense to you?

Measure the "age of winners", and let me know what you learn. Well-run brands may not analyze this specific metric, but they know what the metric means and they have a succession plan for every winning item in their assortment.