I got an email from a customer today after I had written to her pointing out that her open to buy data was not current. Her response was that sales have been up over last year and that even though she had pulled her sales and inventory figures from her POS system, she lacked the time to enter them into the system.

To make things worse (in more ways than one) she is leaving soon to attend a trade show. I wrote back and pointed out that especially because she is about to do some serious buying, she should get her open to buy up to date so she will have buying numbers reflecting the improvement in sales, but more importantly, have a buying plan to work from that accurately reflected her situation.

Improved sales are great and there’s no reason to explain why since that’s what we all live for. But the heady knowledge that sales are growing can lead one to become a “big buyer”. Of course, the reps will certainly not discourage that mind set and will encourage you to buy more. More merchandise will naturally mean more sales, right? Not really.

More inventory will only mean more invoices and more overhead. While it is important to have the right amount of inventory to support expected sales, having too much will only lead to excess payables, markdowns, and cash flow problems.

It is always important to have your open to buy plan up to date, but even more so when you are going into a buying situation – in your store, or at market. Without accurate open to buy figures based on anticipated sales and desired turn rates, you will be guessing. And no matter how much you know your store, your merchandise, and your customers, you will always be wrong. Open to buy cannot be done in your head. There’s just too many variables.

With an easy, accurate open to buy like MYOTBPLAN.COM, you will always face reps knowing how much you need in each merchandise department for each month for the next 12 months. It takes minutes each month to keep it up and will save you hours of frustration and work if you buy the right quantities in the first place.

If you want your store to run smoothly, you will never be too busy for OTB!

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