Managing inventory – arguably the #1 responsibility of a retailer – has been beset by a host of new and sometimes daunting challenges since 2020.
The last few months of 2022 only made matters worse. As supply chain issues seemed to subside, foreboding talk of a recession dominated, dampening customer spending.
Many retailers are feeling a bit over-inventoried as a result. Similar to that sense of having a few added pounds after the holidays.
In other words, a situation that is crying out for perspective. And The ROI has you covered on that!
This is the time of year when most retailers are scheduled to take their annual physical inventory count.
Along with that comes the interruption of daily lives, very serious attitudes of bookkeepers and accountants, and, of course, extra expenses. Oh yes, those!
Typically, preparing for and taking the item-by-item count involves a lot of emphasis on "Make sure to count everything. We don't want to miss anything!" This often-loud focus is true whether the counting is done manually, by scanning, or any other means. "We must count it all!"
Okay, but why? Why is it so darn important to count every last fish hook or candy bar or tube of lipstick?!
It helps to know why.
The savvy retailers know that now is the time to be putting the finishing touches on – wait for it – being ready for December 26!
Yes, this unique time period between December 26 and New Year's Day is a tremendous make-or-break opportunity. Indeed, many retailers find they net more from this time than any earlier stretch of 6-10 days!
First, the many opportunities to reduce expenses "back to normal". Less advertising cost. Less staff. Fewer hours.
There's a very important annual job for you, the owner, and all of your senior staff. It's vital, and it involves your presence.
The pressures are mounting on your stores, and in particular, your front line staff.
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.
Each year at this time, our thoughts turn to turkeys.
No, not the ones that will adorn many dining tables on Thursday. But the "turkeys" lurking amidst your inventory. You know; non-selling, distressed, slow-moving, old, unappealing leftovers among your merchandise.
But this year, frankly, our worries extend beyond the turkeys.
Here are some of the reasons why.
As a result, in this environment, consumers are scaling back their discretionary purchases, and/or choosing to spend on travel, dining out, or other experiences versus retail merchandise.
Not an upbeat prospect for retailers, is it?
What is the definition of "value" for customers? Pretty straightforward, actually.
Wait. What? "Benefits received?" "Burdens endured?"
Turns out, the only single answer to "What is value?" is, "It depends."
Don't just roll your eyes. What constitutes value for your customers increasingly is a make-or-break part of retailing.
Consider this retailer, whose sales over the last 4 weeks are down 12% compared to last year.
Some retailers in this situation essentially freak out.
But others know to keep asking questions. Before they decide what to do next to fix lagging sales, they want to know "Why?"
So, here is one way to get to the numbers behind the numbers; to begin to know the "why" of your sales trends.
All it takes is tapping into the data that's already in your POS system, and putting together a little summary tally sheet. Here's one example.
Still less than $1 a day! 👀