This time of year there’s so much to think about, but as a retailer, your most important resolution is to get a productive open to buy system working for you. That’s the one New Year’s Resolution that will insure your success in 2017.
Let’s face it, retailing (on the surface) is pretty easy. You buy and you sell. Of course there’s a whole bunch of other tasks vying for your attention – personnel, advertising, the landlord, etc. – but your most important job is to insure that your buying and selling are equal (in retail dollars). If they are, you’re going to make lots of money. If they aren’t, you’re going to have lots of problems.
Based on history and your promotional plans, you can closely figure what your sales will be for the coming months. Of course, there will be changes because of the weather, tourism, and business trends. But these can be accounted for as you see trends develop each month. You realize that the most important factor in making money is turnover and so you will need to work turnover into your buying plan. You are also aware that sales in each month is different from the last – some will go up and some will go down – so you need to build that into your buying plan as well so you’ll have enough merchandise for the strong selling months and yet pull your inventory down for your weak selling months to avoid being over inventoried, having excess invoices and taking markdowns.
So, the simple is actually a bit more complicated. The only way to properly plan and control your buying, inventory, turnover, markdowns and cash flow is with open to buy planning. Trying to buy without open to buy leads to guessing and leaves you at the mercy of the reps. As soon as you start marking merchandise down and putting it on sales, you have effectively eliminated your contribution to overhead (all of those expenses necessary to keep the doors open) and your profit.
Resolve now to add a great open to buy plan to your merchandising tool box. There’ nothing else that will do as much for your store and your bank account.