From The Co-Founders


Tips, Tactics & Strategic Insights and Commentary
from The ROI Co-Founders, Pat Johnson and Dick Outcalt
Outcalt & Johnson: Retail Strategists LLC; Retail Turnaround Experts

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Calling All Merchants: Are Higher Margins Available?

Here's a post-pandemic strategy that should not be missed: higher margins! 

Not the entire store, of course; you must be a merchant here. 

But think about it: many shoppers have increased savings, reduced debt, or gotten their job back. Maybe all three.

And after months of being at home, and spending on home improvement and groceries, many shoppers have pent-up demand to spend on items they have had to postpone, like for themselves. Whether that would be in a restaurant or in a specialty store, shoppers are more willing and able to spend. (And some even feel entitled to spend.)

For over a year, we've all held our breath and our wallets. But now it's a new environment. 

  • That hammock that Dad really wanted for Father's Day last year (but thought it was a bit of a spurge?) He's ready to show it off.
  • Really good new tires are expensive. Right now, they are best sellers for tire dealers, as folks plan summer driving vacations. 
  • Grandma wants to have a better way to order online and do more Zoom sessions. So she's actively shopping for a laptop or tablet.
  • And Mom? She's shopping all over town while thinking about new clothes for everyone in the family. Finally!

What an opportunity for true merchants! Don't miss it!

  • Remember, price is not a function of cost. Instead, price is what someone will pay for it.
  • And especially in the optimism of this post-pandemic environment, shoppers are more willing to pay.
  • Plus, since retailers are unlikely to be over-inventoried, there already is abuilt-in sense of scarcity.

So, dust off your merchant skills, and seize this opportunity!

  • Now is the time to experiment. Which of your items could be priced just a bit higher? 
  • Think this way when you are ordering, too. Especially with some of the online wholesale marketplaces, you may be able to source some unique items, in small quantities, giving you even more pricing flexibility.

Don't be shy about this. Decide which items – for which customers – you choose to markup higher. And then watch them carefully.

Keep that merchant hat on. Be ready and willing to adjust as needs be. The goal is to be a merchant, not a museum curator.

  • If the customers are resistant, take the markdowns quickly (and let the customers have the sense of getting a deal.)
  • Then, buy something else and see how that does! Keep it lively and dynamic.
  • Give the shoppers reasons to come back. They always want to know"What's new?" 

Sounds like fun, doesn't it? Getting back to "doing retail." And getting back some of those lost margin dollars from 2020. 

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