Every group forms a bell curve. It doesn’t matter whether we’re talking about lawyers, police, politicians, dentists, plumbers, construction workers, or restaurant workers. Each group forms a bell curve.
A bell curve simply shows that there are far fewer exceptional performers and really terrible performers than there are average performers (in the middle). Retailers are a group that follows this formula.
Since I have been dealing with retailers for over 30 years trying to help them with their buying, I can tell you that they definitely form a bell curve. I have been offering a system that EVERY retailer needs and it’s guaranteed. Just based on those two facts, you would think that any retailer I had contact with would have signed up, but it hasn’t proven to be the case because of the bell curve.
My customers have come from the end of the curve that indicates high performers. These retailers will do whatever it takes to improve their business. Success is their goal, not ego, and if you can show them a way to get there, they’re in! I have also spent more time than I would like to think about talking to the retailers on the other end of the curve. These retailers know everything and are too smart (or so they think) to consider anything I had to offer.
The largest group of retailers fall in the middle. It seems they want to see improvements, but they are reluctant to change anything even though business is not working in their favor. My system always sounds good to them, but they have trouble making a decision. Fear of change (even for the better) is crippling most retailers. I would be very rich if I was a better salesman and had it in me to push these retailers to make the right decision, but that’s not part of my personality.
So, where do you fall on the Retail Bell Curve? If you’re on the end of being all in for success, you’re on the right path and chances are you’re using a great open to buy plan. If you’re on the other end, you need to do some introspective thinking about what you really want for your business and how to get there. If you’re part of the large middle group who fear change and have difficulty making a decision, you need to rethink your goals and determine how to achieve them.
Retails will spend a lot of time and money to do a lot of things that they think will help their stores. The simple fact that your buying determines your bottom line seems to elude them. Without open to buy planning, a retailer is constantly chasing dollars to pay the bills. Markdowns ensue and the cycle begins again. Open to buy planning will change all that, but you have to decide in favor of that course of action. The sooner you do, the sooner you will be on your way to success.