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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Time for More "Productive" Customers

For most retailers, especially this year, reducing inventory is priority #1. With talk of a 2023 recession still in the air, lingering inflation driving up costs, and rising interest rates, cash is definitely king this year.

Time to revisit your year-end strategies for meeting your targeted ending inventory on December 31. If you are like many retailers this year, with plenty of merchandise in your stores, you know the challenge:  how best to turn that inventory into cash? Quickly! Especially without looking like a distressed merchant.

Here's one answer for how to do that. Focus on improving the productivity of each shopper who comes to your store. That is, increase the IPTs (Items Per Transaction.) Make it easier, more compelling and more fun for them to buy more items from you. 

For example, create bundles of products. Combine two or three or more items together, and sell them as a bundle. 

  • Provide bundles that have a theme – "for him" "for her" "for your pet" 
  • Or bundles for personality types: "The Creative," "the Foodie," "the Adventurer."
  • Of course, create bundles at different price points.
  • Create "mystery bundles" of one or two items, wrap them, maybe include a clue or two, and sell them as "$X value." Make it fun! "Perfect for your White Elephant gift exchange."

And remember to show the savings for the shopper who buys each bundle: 

  • "Individually these items would cost $X; you save $$ by buying the bundle." 
  • And be explicit; talk in dollars, not percents. Customers do NOT want to do arithmetic!

Add-ons are another way to increase IPTs. Remind your staff to suggest appropriate products to accompany a purchase.

Another concept: the benefit of saving time for customers.  "While you're here...." 

As the calendar ticks away, keep a sharp eye on your inventory. 

  • If it is not going down fast enough, sharpen your markdown pencil.
  • This is not the time to worry about margins. Taking a 25% markdown in December is preferable to a 50%-60% markdown in January. 

Your customers will be happy to save more by buying more from you, if they find it compelling and fun. And your cash flow will benefit from their improved "productivity!"

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