In many ways, retailing is like a dance. You dance with your employees. You dance with the media. And, of course, you dance with your suppliers.
The dance with suppliers is the most important as that determines if you will take the Grand Prize (make money) and move to the next round (keep your doors open). It’s a delicate dance, but one where you must lead.
Your suppliers will always want to lead. It’s in their nature and in their best interests (or so they think). They feel they know the best way around the floor (your store) and can move you with the most agility (to buy their products). But no one knows your store better than you do, or your customers for that matter. And because of that, you must be the one that determines the best items for your store.
You must always take the lead, but it’s not easy because the reps will always want to do so. It’s almost impossible to take the lead from them unless you show up at the dance with a proper open to buy plan. Once you have developed your buying numbers for your store, no one can lead but you. They will become the very important supporting partner, but you will be the leader.
When you dance through a trade show with your open to buy plan in hand, the music will never be sweeter and your store will never be over stocked. You will be able to pick the best available items to meet your dollar plan and support your sales at the turn rates you desire. All that’s left is the applause of your customers as they enjoy buying what you have brought to your store for them.
With your open to buy plan in tow, you’ll be dancing on a cloud.