Quick Start Guide

Lesson 7:

Styles & Items

User Manual Chapters to Read

Topic: Styles
Topic: Items
Topic: XpertMartrix

Other Resources
Styles Catalog Video


All of the data entry you have done so far has just been training for the main event: entering Styles & Items. Styles are the heart of your database and are at the center of any apparel & footwear retail enterprise. First we are going to learn how to enter Styles & Items one at a time and then, in the next lesson, we will learn a shortcut.

Before we begin, let's review the difference between a Style and an Item. Let's say you carry a certain kind of sweater called the Verona sweater. This sweater is available in 4 sizes (small, medium, large and x-large) and two colors (orange and green). This particular Style then has 8 items that belong to it (4 x 2). The Style is the Verona sweater, an Item is a specific size/color combination of the Verona sweater such as medium/green or large/orange.

All eight items in this example share certain Style-level characteristics: they come from the same vendor, they belong to the same Department, they are of the same brand, etc. As a retail manager it is of course useful to understand your sales at the Style level. However, there is no inventory action at the Style level.

All inventory action (adding or subtracting stock) occurs at the Item level. You do not add 5 Veronas to your inventory: you add 2 medium/green Veronas, 1 large/green Verona and 2 small/orange Veronas.

In most cases the difference between a Style and Item is obvious, but occasionally you may have to think about it to determine where to draw the line. Is a handbag and matching wallet one Style with two Items or two Styles each with one Item? These are the kind of questions you will need to settle as you add your merchandise to your database.

But back to the easy cases, let's add a new Style to the database. Open the Styles Catalog and click New Record. Give your new Style a name and enter a cost in the Order Cost field and enter  a Price. (Don't worry if the cost will vary slightly each time you receive a shipment, this will be covered when you do Receiving). If you will use photos, double-click the blank space to the left and use XpertImage to add a photo. Now press Save.

So far we have a Style with a name, a price, a cost and perhaps a photo. Now we want to associate this Style with a Department, Vendor and Brand. By now you should be very comfortable using the embedded catalogs to enter this data.

You will notice that all drop-down menus have a "-". This represents the null entry in the database. (Don't worry if you don't know what that means). To do a lookup in these menus you first need to delete this dash and then enter your search criteria.

For example, go to Departments and delete the "-". Then type "M" and press enter. This will pull up every department that starts with the letter M (such as Mens Clothing...etc).

You can use the wild card % to search these drop-down menus.

If you want to see the entire contents of the drop-down menu, such as every available Department, delete the "-" and the press the space bar and hit Enter twice.

Use the zoom button to add any new entries to the catalogs you are working with such as Vendors, Departments and Brands.

Some catalogs are optional, such as Material, Collection & Season. Different retailers will want to track different information. Just remember, the more data you put into the database now the more analysis you'll have at your fingertips down the road.

Once you've assigned the Style to a Department, a Brand and a Vendor (and other optional Catalogs) you have two choices to make. First, is this Style taxable? In most cases it is. If it is, then just leave the entry in the Taxes Catalog (Sales Tax) as is. If it is not, skip ahead to the lesson on Taxes and create a new entry for Tax Exempt.

Secondly, do all items that belong to this Style have the same price and cost? In most cases they do. If so, then check the box that says "Price/Cost to Items." For example, if all eight Verona sweaters we used in the example above have the same price and cost you would want to check this box.

Occasionally the cost (and therefore the price) will vary by items, for example larger sizes may be more expensive. If this is the case, do not check the "Price/Cost to Items" box.

You are done entering Style information. Click Save. Now we need to create the Items for this Style.

Open the Items Catalog. Notice the 3 ?s in the records bar. Even though we've created our first Style, we have not yet created any Items. Let's do that now.

The first thing you will want to do is jot down the color(s) the Style is available in as well as the sizes.

Go to Catalogs>Items>Colors. Create an entry in this catalog for every color the Style is available in (for example, orange and green). Then go to Catalogs>Items>Sizes and create an entry for every size the Style is available in (small, medium, large, x-large).

Now, back to the Items Catalog. Click New Record. From the Style drop-down menu, select the Style you created earlier. In the Colors drop-down menu pick the appropriate color and then do the same with the Sizes drop-down menu. Click Save. You have just created your first Item.

Notice that the price and cost for this item were filled in automatically from the Styles Catalog because you checked the Price/Cost to Item box. Also notice the Item Number which appears in gray since this is assigned automatically by the system. The item number is a sequential, non-repeatable number. In this case the Item Number is 1.

The item number is the famous SKU or Stock Keeping Unit. When you add or subtract inventory the system is adding or subtracting quantities for a particular item number. Everything else is an attribute of this number (style, color, size, price, cost, etc) and can be edited.

If the item  already has a barcode from the vendor or manufacturer you can enter it now in the EAN/UPC field. Or you can wait and enter all the barcodes at the end. Jump to Lesson #11 to learn more about barcoding.

Ok, now click on New Record to create the next item. Select your Style from the drop-down menu, the right color and the next size. Click save. The records bar should show 2 total records.

Continue adding items until you've created every size/color combination for this first Style. When you are done, click the First Record button to refresh the view. Now click the Matrix button in the toolbar at the top. You should now be seeing a matrix of sizes and colors for the Style you've created. (Refer to the User Manual for instructions on how to make your sizes appear in ascending order from left to right.)

If the matrix looks wrong then you probably missed creating an Item along the way. Remember that every size/color cell in the matrix is an item. Notice the 0s the matrix is displaying. This indicates that your current on-hand stock for these items is 0. Stock quantities are only added through Transactions like Receipts (which we will do in a later lesson). For now all we've done is created the categories or entries in our catalog. This is the first step that must be done before we can actually make transactions.

You've now completed your first Style and all the corresponding Items. Practice adding 3-4 more Styles and their Items before moving on to the next lesson. Try creating at least one Style where each Item has its own price and cost so you can practice adding these individually in the Items Catalog.

Also try adding a Style that has only one Item, such as  picture frame or book or postcard. This is somewhat counter-intuitive, but every Item needs to have a color and a size, even if it is creating a matrix of one item. For these unique items you may create sizes such as "one size" and "n/a" and colors such as "n/a" or "wood".

Make sure you feel very comfortable adding Styles in the Styles Catalog and Items in the Items Catalog before moving on to the next lesson. It is important that you have the fundamentals down before learning the shortcuts.

*** Return to QuickStart Index Page ***

Copyright © 2000 - 2005 Dinari Systems LLC