Everyone procrastinates. I’m writing this blog a day late, but in my defense, I was under the weather yesterday. But we all do it – especially retailers.

I’m not picking on retailers, but after dealing with them for over 30 years, I realize that they have too much to do and not enough time to do it all. In addition, they generally don’t like numbers or computers, so open to buy goes to the bottom of the pile.

But that’s a huge mistake! Not only is open to buy planning critical to every retailers’ success, it saves them time – but not until they use it. Sadly, most retailers who are not using open to buy, know they should be, but, again, put it off in order to deal with what’s in front of them. The reason that there is so much in front of them is because of the mistakes they have made because they don’t have open to buy.

It’s true! Retailers spend a large amount of time correcting the mistakes they made in their buying because they didn’t have open to buy. Too much inventory, too many invoices, too many markdowns, and cash flow problems can be eliminated with open to buy. And many of the retailers who have an open to buy system don’t use it or keep it up so they suffer as though they didn’t have one at all.

It’s hard to believe that a retailer would go into the marketplace and order merchandise without a plan, but they do all the time. It’s much easier to order than to sell. Without open to buy, a retailer – no matter how savvy – will get it wrong. Buying this way creates all of the problems and extra work I just spoke about. So when open to buy is readily available, why would a retailer procrastinate setting it up or, if they have it, keeping it up?

I still haven’t figured that one out.


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