As a retailer, you’re normally overwhelmed with all you have to do. You are constantly bombarded by your suppliers, your staff, the bank, the government, media and overhead vendors. It’s an uphill fight and always seems as though you are engulfed in a hurricane of problems and decisions.
No one has a total solution to turn your days at the store into a day at the beach with a mint julep and a lounge chair, but there are things you can do to quiet the storm.
One change that will pay big dividends is to hire and train dedicated, motivated personnel. There is a feeling in retail that the way to make money is to cut the payroll. Your staff will make or break your store. You want the best image for your store whenever a customer speaks to your staff, so they must feel they are a part of the success of the store. They must care about the stores success and enjoy creating an environment for success. It takes time, effort, hiring, firing and training to accomplish this, but when you have a group of employees that care about the store as much as they care about their pay check, you will notice a big difference.
The other issue that is always up in the air is your merchandising. Buying is critical to your financial success and your sanity. If you are constantly trying to figure out how to dump excess merchandise to pay the bills, you have created major problems for yourself and everyone in the store, including your customers. If your merchandising is on target, you can spend time creating promotions to bring customers in and grow your sales.
The only way to gain control of your merchandising is with open to buy planning. Retailers keep trying to buy by the seat of their pants, but it cannot be done. Think of the cost of your markdowns – not only in terms of dollars lost, but also time lost and time spent by your employees. Markdowns kill profits and the dollars that would go to pay your overhead. The doors must stay open, so cash has to be raised and the process creates a negative financial spiral that must be stopped.
Open to buy planning will develop a buying plan in each merchandise category each month for 12 months into the future based on anticipated sales and desired turn rates. These are the two elements that drive any retail store and must be the driving force for you open to buy plan. Build a proper plan and stay with it, analyzing performance each month and revising your figures and you’ll find your store has the right merchandise in the right quantities in the right areas at the right times so your customers will find the items they seek. You’ll also find far fewer markdowns, improved turnover and cash flow, and a new level of respect from your suppliers.
As I’ve said before, there are many systems and services to provide you with answers, but if you really want the biggest bang for your buck, you’ll turn to MYOTBPLAN.COM. Our system is easy to use, accurate, affordable, supported 10 hours every day and guaranteed to improve your buying, inventory position and cash flow. And because it’s online, you can find your numbers where ever you are on any device.
So, if you want to turn your retail hurricane into a day at the beach, work on your personnel and subscribe to MYOTBPLAN.COM. Fixing your personnel will take some time, but it’s worth it. Setting up MYOTBPLAN.COM will have you on track in a few hours. You’ll find out where your inventory and your outstanding orders are out of balance immediately. A few course corrections and you’ll have the time to work on your employee program.