Your customer comes into your store and sees wall to wall merchandise. Is that a good thing? Probably not because it’s overwhelming. Customers need guidance, just like retailers do. Your open to buy plan will give you the guidance you need to set your store up for your CUSTOMER!
Your customer comes into your store and sees exciting displays. OK, now we’re talking. Your displays are your best salespersons, NOT stacks and bins of merchandise. Give your customer a break and also an incentive to buy. Show off your wondrous wares in a way that excites their buying gene. If you show it, they will buy it.
So, how will an open to buy plan do all this? Your open to buy will show you which departments are selling well, selling poorly, are over stocked, are under stocked, are over bought and which are under bought. With this information, you will know where to place your emphasis in selling and in buying.
An ideal store will order the right amount of merchandise in the right departments for delivery at the right time. Merchandise will flow in, be displayed and sold and new merchandise will flow in to replace it. Markdowns will be unnecessary or minimal since the buying was in direct relationship to your selling. While it sounds almost too good to be true, it will always happen with open to buy planning – if you follow your plan. Of course, a good open to buy revises every month after an analysis of the previous month’s sales, beginning inventory and turnover, actual vs. projected.
Your open to buy will help you clean up your store so you can properly guide your customer to enjoy their experience and buy the merchandise that you have shown them, first with your displays and then with your sales personnel. Without the guidance of open to buy planning, you’re just confusing your customer because you’re confused yourself.