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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What a Great Time to Be a REAL Merchant!

You've seen all the headlines. Worldwide inflation. Dire warnings of a coming recession. Big time discounts at retailers due to boatloads of inventory. Amazon doubling down on their Prime Day(s) sales. Shoppers shopping early in anticipation of rising prices. 

Shaping up to be yet another "unprecedented" Holiday season for retailers, isn't it?

And a wonderful opportunity for all merchants!

How best to start? Set the boundaries.

  • First, specify how much inventory, in total, you want as of December 31. 
  • How much by department?
  • Category?

Next, establish clear routines for monitoring inventory levels.

  • What are the early indicators of "slow movers?" 
  • When is each item's expected peak in sales?

Then, be ready to pounce! Patience is not  virtue here. 

Always, the best time to take markdowns on seasonal items is just BEFORE sales peak on that item. 

  • After that peak, after the peak of customer traffic, how long would some of those items hang around in your store?
  • And how high would the markdowns have to climb at that point in time?

Markdowns are your friends. (Remember, "the first markdown is the cheapest.") 
If sales of some items are lagging in October, their expected peak season, will sales improve in November? Really?

Instead, quick markdowns on the slow movers allow you to generate more excitement in your store. Just when it is needed the most!

Reassure your shoppers that they do not need to look elsewhere, like the internet, for Holiday savings. Keep traffic coming into your store for your most coveted items. 

All part of the judgment that is required from a merchant. And the cunning. 

  • So, start now to establish your "boundaries" for this Holiday season. Keep them top of mind and close at hand.
  • Keep a dispassionate eye on your inventory levels, by item. Enforce your boundaries with timely markdowns and smart merchandising.
  • Be shrewd. A markdown starting on a Friday morning can add excitement to an entire weekend. 

And most of all, relish the fun of being a merchant!

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