We’re all familiar with this quote blasted by Jack Nicholson in a “Few Good Men”, but it applies in many other areas of life. So, let’s look at retailers (my favorite group).
Retailers work hard, but they have it made in that they spend all day doing what they love – dealing with their favorite merchandise and helping their customers to acquire it. They get to do displays, plan advertising, encourage their sales personnel, and spend time in the marketplace buying all the incredible new items.
Well, that’s the good news. And now the “truth”. Because retailers love their store and their merchandise so much, they are susceptible to overbuying. Of course, they never consider bringing in all of that wonderful merchandise overbuying – it’s just more of the good stuff. Sadly, the truth is that too much good stuff quickly becomes bad stuff.
Most retailers don’t want to hear that. How can they go wrong when they know their customers so well, and their stores, and the merchandise. It’s like they’re the ultimate match makers. The answer to this dilemma is open to buy. And that’s the truth.
But retailers can’t handle the truth, or they don’t want to. They feel that their store is their canvas and the merchandise is their palette. In some ways, that’s true, but if you keep piling paint on a canvas, you just wind up with murky goo. You have to know which colors to use and in what quantity. With a painting, it’s a bit easier, but with a store, how do you know when enough is becoming too much?
The simple, effective answer is open to buy planning. Retailers resist because they feel they are too busy to devote the little time it takes to let their plan develop the proper numbers to guide their buying. But in reality, not using open to buy and saving that little bit of time costs retailers a huge amount of time and money in terms of markdowns and cash flow problems. If merchandise is transferred between stores, it’s a very expensive proposition. If merchandise is marked down, not only do you lose your profit and contribution to overhead, but your staff has to handle the item, probably move it, re-ticket it and later account for it. Also their efforts are used to sell the markdowns while the regular price merchandise depreciates and becomes markdowns.
So, the truth is that every retailer needs open to buy. If you feel you don’t, you’re kidding yourself and will wind up injecting money into your store rather than taking money out. Your store should support you, not the other way around.
If the above makes sense (and it should) and you want an easy, accurate, affordable, accessible, well supported, and guaranteed open to buy program, myotbplan.com is the answer. If you feel you can still fly by the seat of your pants, “You can’t handle the truth!”