This is indeed a question with many answers. There is a wide variety of open to buy systems. They range in ease of operation, accuracy, accessibility, support, reporting, price, etc. So, you need to consider more than just the price. Remember, you get what you pay for. Sadly, too many retailers are “penny wise and pound foolish” and consider only the price.
The first thing to consider is how important an open to buy system is to the financial health of your store. As you’ve read here in the past, buying without an open to buy plan is just guessing – and that never works. So, having an open to buy in place and keeping it current is the most important merchandising tool you can utilize. Basically, it’s indispensable.
Then you need to consider what you want from your open to buy plan. You need an accurate buying plan based on YOUR projected sales and YOUR desired turn rates. You don’t really need to know what other retailers are doing because your store and your customers are unique. If you’re in Atlanta, you don’t need to know what’s going on in Portland (either one). Your plan should only be based on sales and turnover. Those two elements (which also drive your store) will determine your inventory levels. If a plan suggests that you determine inventory levels, you should look elsewhere. Also, annual turn rates need to be adjusted to reflect the sale impact of each month or the inventory levels will be off. If they are off, you buying plan will be off.
In today’s world, accessibility is also important. Be sure you can access your data from other computers, tablets or smartphones when out of the store. It not only saves printing reams of reports, but allows you to update the program on the fly. Support is a big issue. Be sure you are able to call and ask questions at anytime with no additional cost. If you have a problem, you don’t want to be thinking about how much the phone call is going to cost.
nd finally cost. As indicated, there are many systems and services available from bare bones to more bells and whistles than you can comprehend. And prices to go along with their offerings. MYOTBPLAN.COM has everything you need in an open to buy plan – ease of operation, accuracy, accessibility, support (10 hours every day of the year), no contract, and a Performance Guarantee to insure your success with the system or we’ll refund your payments. We charge $150/month for 30 departments and that’s it for as long as you stay with us. We feel it’s more than competitive for what you get, but you just need to consider that using our system will let you tighten and balance your inventory, improve your turnover, reduce your markdowns and raise your profitability. If you look at it that way, it’s the biggest bargain on the market.