Pardon the double negative, but retailers are constantly making up reasons why they shouldn’t use open to buy planning. All of what they put forth are EXCUSES and not valid reasons. One thing retailers need to be – and usually are not – is great time managers. Retail has a lot of parts, but the most important part is your buying. All the rest is a result of how well or how poorly you do that.
One retailer said that open to buy was a waste because the vendors don’t always ship what you order. How many of you take the time to check with your vendors after you order to make sure they are going to ship the items you ordered? Without that information, you don’t know if you’ll have the merchandise to support your sales, so it’s something that needs to be done, and you have to do it.
Nothing in life happens exactly as we plan it, but that doesn’t negate the need for planning. Planning gives you a base to work with and puts you in a position to deal with the fringes when they are not falling into place. With no plan, everything is fringe and you will never accomplish your goals. Open to buy planning is the most important merchandising tool a retailer can use to insure that your buying will be on target, your inventory will be balanced and turning, your markdowns reduced, and your cash flow positive.
If you’re not using open to buy planning, you’re just guessing and in today’s retail environment, guessing is a sure path to financial disaster. Open to buy will help you in your pursuit of a profitable store. Making up reasons not to use it is not in your best interest. The sooner you institute an open to buy system, the sooner your life as a retailer will become easier, more efficient, and definitely more profitable.