There is much enthusiasm coming out of the buying trade shows, and why not?
Attendance levels have been near to or better than 2019. Energy levels are high, and very contagious. A sense of urgency persists, due to past supply chain issues, emboldening the pressures from the vendors to "Buy now!"
Especially in today's environment, FOMO - the Fear Of Missing Out – can be a compelling sales pitch.
How to deal with this pressure, especially given all the headlines about a coming recession, or drops in consumer spending, or cautions about the need to control expenses, improve profits, maintain cash?
Here are two tactics to help you manage this. One helps monitor and control "How much to buy?" The other helps decide "What to buy?"
As you prepare for a buying trip, have your Buyer's Tally Sheet at the ready. (Download the pdf here; make as many copies as you need.)
Yes, it all is done with a pencil. It is a simple, practical, and helpful way for you to keep within your buying budget. (And it's free!)
Here are 6 key questions for you and your buyers to ask anytime buying decisions are being made: at shows, browsing online wholesale platforms, meeting with sales reps in your store, wherever and whenever.
We think of it as an "entry exam" for merchandise. It's a very quick way toidentify which items actually deserve to be in your stores.
1. Can my customers get this item at other stores in my market area?
2. Is this subject to a lot of price competition?
3. Does having this item in stock help me sell other higher-margin merchandise?
4. Can I get faster delivery on this item than I am now getting?
5. Do I order larger quantities of this item than I actually need in order to take advantage of price breaks?
6. Do I have an emotional attachment to this item that reflects my personal taste rather than a business-like response to my customer’s desires?
New items? Of course! The customers always want what's new.
Too much of a good thing? Not any more!
Being the owner of a business always has pluses and minuses. Usually the pluses outnumber the minuses. But maybe not so much right now.
If you feel that way, you've got a lot of company. Ugh! But hang on; maybe we have a perspective that you'll find useful and timely. It's called "Misery loves company!"
First, consider where we are. Early July, just past a nice Fourth of July Holiday weekend. The summer and early fall look promising, both for getting "back to normal" and for some leisure hours in the hammock. Nice, eh?
But there are those dark clouds out there.
Now that we've put a wrap on 2021, and before we really dive into 2022, it's time to catch your breath and reflect on where we are after 2021.
Perhaps like us you believe that fundamental and enduring changes have occurred; no one can operate on "auto-pilot" anymore. All of us have to learn new processes, and form new habits. What's it called? Oh yes; "embracing change." Lots of it.
That's why it is a very opportune time, particularly for owners, to have a very active Q&A session with themselves.
That's a sign of the times, isn't it?
While retailers are more accustomed than most folks to cope with change, 2020's unrelenting flexibility tests have been a challenge. Forget about five years. Retailers have to be ready for the next five months! It's back-to-school and then Holiday.
The only certainty about the next five months is that they will probably feel like the past five months. Yet you still must run a retail business. And that means you still must buy and sell merchandise.
The opportunities – and the pressures – are mounting.
It's a given that your sales volume is a very big deal. Granted, you are analyzing it every day. But here's a slightly different approach which you may find very revealing.
Let's start with a couple truisms. The definition of retailing is “selling to the ultimate consumer.”
Retailing also is having "the right product at the right price at the right place at the right time for the right customer."
But, as retailers ponder how best to manage sales in the current consumer environment, does it really matter whether their "right customers" buy from them in-store or online?
Actually, it might! And here’s a simple, free "pilot project" to find out a little more.
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.
This is, after all, The Retail OWNERS Institute. We long have specialized in alerting, coaxing, and applauding retail owners worldwide.
Today's message is a major heads-up.
Keeping pace with the relentless changes in retailing has never been easy. Retailers know that constant adjustments are demanded.
Then, the three pandemics of 2020 happened: COVID; the economic meltdown; the social unrest. And life changed modestly or enormously for almost everyone, including owners of retail businesses.
Still less than $1 a day! 👀