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

How Refreshing: Back to the Basics!

Ahh yes. Retail IS detail! 

Time to move on from Covid, and get our minds back on retail. Focus on the merchandise. And the customers. And the results. In other words, it's time to put the fun back into retailing!

So, here are a few of The ROI's "attention to detail" reminders that you may want to have at the ready for your next staff meeting. A refreshing change of pace for everybody!


Music is a great way to create an inviting atmosphere in your store.

But be careful – music should always be selected to appeal to the customer, not the staff.

First-time customers have no idea what to expect when they walk into your store.

Look out. If you offer only price-and-item information, you may lose those first timers. Instead, take advantage of graphics and signage to educate about your merchandise, and to persuade why your store should be preferred.

Customers naturally gravitate toward new merchandise.

Take advantage of that tendency; pair older merchandise with new arrivals!  

More than one-third of the retail businesses that fail are profitable(!)

However, they ran out of cash as their creditors ran out of patience. As the owner, focus on cash flow as much or more than sales and profits.

The best displays are those that actually sell the merchandise.

Even right off of the display! You are not running a museum (are you?) 

For retailers, the name of the game is inventory turnover.

Higher is better. 

Studies show that only 20% of customers are true price hounds who always chase the lowest price.

The other 80% care more about what else your store offers. What value can you deliver to these folks? Don't let that fickle 20% distract you.

Look at your sales results from a variety of productivity measures.

Besides total sales volume, monitor total number of transactions and items per transactions, both for your total operation as well as by category.

The best time to take markdowns is just before the sales peak, not just after.

While your past sales records will be indicators, there are new post-pandemic patterns emerging. Keep this tell-tale sign in mind: when your suppliers start offering deals, it's time to start cutting prices!

Have some favorite back to basics reminders of your own? We'd love to hear about them! Just email us here.

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