Re-Inventing Retail

From the Co-Founders of The Retail Owners Institute.
Tips | Tactics | Insights on the Business of Retailing.

Want to grow your profits? Bookmark

Want to grow your profits?

Of course you do! Doesn't everybody?

But as pressures grow to raise wages, increase benefits, renew leases, improve technology, and oh yes, pay taxes, many businesses find their profits diminishing.

But retailers have a special advantage. An often under-utilized  pocket of profit growth potential. 

Yes, we're talking about your inventory! 

For each $100 of inventory @cost, as it sells, its markup (margin dollars) helps cover expenses and adds to profit.

Even a modest increase in inventory turnover rates per year can yield a dramatic increase in margin dollars and net profits. (For the formula for turnover and more perspective, see the Retail Benchmarks section at The ROI.)

Take a look at this chart.

A Retailer? Or a Merchant? Bookmark

A Retailer? Or a Merchant?
Anybody can be a retailer, and almost everybody is at one time or another. 

Maybe you put on a garage sale. Or sell on eBay or Amazon or Etsy. Or at a farmer's market. Or your own stores. 

Wherever you are selling to the ultimate consumer, by definition, you are a retailer;

But, just as in education, or in sports, there exists a higher, ultimate level of professionalism. In retailing, this is to be a "Merchant".

Repping Your Customers? Bookmark

Repping Your Customers?

REI, the $2.62 billion outdoor equipment retailer with over 150 stores, has announced rigorous new standards...for their suppliers!

Those suppliers who can't or won't meet REI's standards? Their products will not even be considered for REI's store shelves, even if that will affect sales.
REI's stated standards are an effort to "match its environmental impact to the values espoused by many of its customers." 

Or, in other words, REI has chosen to be an agent for the customer, rather than appear as an agent for the suppliers.

REI's chief executive Jerry Stritzke calls the standards "maybe one of the most transformative things" the 80-year-old co-op has done. "At some point you get to a tipping point where it's expected by consumers," he added.

Quick - Imagine an Online Shopper Bookmark

Quick - Imagine an Online Shopper

Quick: Imagine an online shopper. Did you imagine a man or a woman?

Full disclosure: We thought that online shopping would be dominated by tech-savvy males. Didn't you?

Well, we thought wrong!

Oh Those Returns Policies Bookmark

Oh Those Returns Policies
We read recently of a service that enables retailers to essentially outsource their decision-making regarding refunds and customer returns.  Yes, to an algorithm.

Used especially by large national chains, it applies technology to accept or reject attempted returns.

Have questions about your return being denied? The store employee directs you to contact the return authorization service. 

Well, that's one way to handle returns, isn't it? And it may be very appropriate for large national chains that are particularly susceptible to fraud or so-called "returnaholics."

But for local retailers, return policies are one of the most complex management issues in retailing.

Timeless - and "Towering" - Lessons Bookmark

Timeless - and
At one time Tower Records was the "superstore hangout for music lovers," a $1-billion worldwide chain of 200 stores in fifteen countries, and the nation's largest privately-held music retailer. We're reminded of Tower Records as its founder, Russ Solomon, passed away in March at age 92.

Reading about Solomon, we were struck by the relevance for today's specialty retailers of many of his basic concepts.

Wait! Only talking about weather? Bookmark

Wait! Only talking about weather?

Every minute, some shoppers in your market are checking the weather forecast on their smart phone.

But here's the deal: Immediately, that inquiry is being captured by The Weather Company, which now turns this mass of Big Data into usable information (that it sells, of course.)

And here's what that means for those smart phone users:

Landlords: The Power Has Shifted Bookmark

Landlords: The Power Has Shifted

You know them all, right? 

Warby Parker, eyewear; Everlane, apparel and accessories; Casper, mattresses; Harry’s, razors; Untuckit, button-down shirts; Allbirds, tennis shoes; Boll and Branch, bedding.

All began online-only, then started to open brick-and-mortar locations.

Now, they are coveted tenants by the malls.

Avoid "Distracted Driving" Bookmark


Running retail businesses these days is a lot like teaching a teenager how to drive. "Look son; keep your darn eyes on the road!"

Predictions by the "experts" tell us that the economies of the world are remarkably strong right now. And given that, retail sales this year are expected to be up between 4% and 5%. Maybe the best year in a generation!

It's a time when independent retailers could – and should! – "Go for the gold!" 

All they have to do is keep their eyes on the road.

About The Co-Founders

Pat Johnson and Dick Outcalt, The Co-Founders of The Retail Owners Institute®, have been called "The Zen masters of retail finance!"

Since 1999, they have been assembling  their proprietary content into a unique self-help website. The Retail Owners Institute is an unmatched resource that assists retailers worldwide with basic financial training, assistance and easy-to-use tools.

Their engaging and empowering how-to resources about the financial levers in retailing are informative, fun(!), and retailer-friendly. Their promise: "Everyone will 'get it'!"

Pat and Dick are recognized experts in strategic retailing. Working only as a team – Outcalt & Johnson: Retail Strategists, LLC – they have been consulting, publishing, and speaking professionally throughout North America since 1990.

They focus exclusively on retail, or wherever retail is involved. They work with CEOs, CFOs, boards and owners of retail operations, as well as manufacturers or wholesalers expanding into retail. And they also are Retail Turnaround Experts.

Browse Around

There's lots more for retailers to see and use! Available nowhere else.

 go to Inventory & Turnover go to Cash Flow Control go to Sales & Profits Management

See for yourself why thousands of busy retailers from around the world use and love The ROI!

Since 1999, empowering retailers and store owners to "Turn on your financial headlights!"