Black Friday is the ultimate example of how retailers have ruined their businesses. Making everything about price destroys what you have worked so hard to build. No longer is your customer concerned about service or atmosphere or selection. They have been trained to only consider the cheapest price.
We can blame it on the internet, but it began long before the internet. Once retailers decided it was easier to bring customers in by cutting prices (and profits), that’s what they did. And the price war rages on. As retailers drop by the wayside, the consumers are smiling.
No longer is shopping an enjoyable experience, it’s simply a money grab. A TV is a TV is a TV, and buying it at the lowest possible price is all that matters. But you don’t sell TV’s, so you still have a chance to thrive even though you’re competing in a culture of “discounters”. You’re selling fashion. It’s not so easy to do all of that price comparison. You need to take advantage of that advantage.
There are times when you will have to offer bargains because everyone around you is doing that. But if you are prepared, you can still bring in profits rather than giving them away to your customers. To repeat what I said earlier, you’ve worked hard to develop customers’ loyalty to your store for your atmosphere, service, and selection. There are many consumers who still value that experience. But when the time comes, they want to feel that there’s bargains to be had at your store.
In the first place, you need to be sure your inventory is always at the right level to support your anticipated sales at the turn rates you desire. You can only do that with open to buy planning and an effective system will insure that your buying supports your goals. Within your plan, you need to set aside buying dollars for these “discount” periods and spend them on “off price” (to you) merchandise. When those items arrive, take longer markups and put them on the floor. When you need “sale” items, you can mark down these items to a great price and still be maintaining your desired markups. So everyone wins – the customer, and you!
But you cannot do this without open to buy planning. This will give you your buying plan for each month 12 months into the future and allow you to be prepared for those times that your customers are looking for a great “deal”. If you do that, Black Friday will suddenly become Green Friday.