Day #102 - Christmas Inventory And What To Do With It

Best Practice for retailers is to clear what's left over. Get rid of Christmas inventory now, do not wait, and do not pack product up saving it for next year;  that's like packing up money,  your money in boxes, and storing it away.Have a look around and see what's left. You can learn a lot from seasonal  left over inventory.

Here are a few things I want you think about:

  1. Did you buy to much? May be not enough?
  2. Did you buy the right products for your market place?
  3. Did you buy product customers wanted and liked ?
  4. Where the products the right price?
  5. Did you promote the products effectively on your website and thru your monthly e newsletter?
  6. Did you display products  well with great windows and feature areas?
  7. Did your staff know how to sell what you brought in for Christmas ?
  8. Did your staff like  the products ?

All great questions.  They all effect sales and what your headache may be right now. To much inventory left over.  Let me know what happened in your store this Christmas.Love to hear from you.Barbara

Day #57 - Prevent Shoplifting And Shrinkage In Your Store

The best advice I can give you is that with in the safety and security procedures for your store you should include your policies on "Shoplifting"shoplifting and employee theft. Your policies should be in writing and shared with your staff.Let us look at some things you can do from your store design to training your staff that will help deter shoplifters and shrinkage.

Here are some great tips:

  1. Your cash register should be placed closer to the front so that customers must pass it when exiting the store. Middle side left is my recommendation.
  2. Fixtures and displays should be kept low in the center of the store for better site lines.
  3. A well-lit store with no dark corners is what you want to achieve.
  4. Use mirrors to cover blind spots.
  5. Also, consider putting clearance items in your blind spot areas. If something goes missing, it is not too big a deal.
  6. In addition, a tidy well-organized shop makes it very easy for you to see if products are missing."Shoplifting"
  7. One of the best ways to reduce shoplifting is a well-trained staff.  A staff that is engaged with customers when they are in the store. Train your staff to say hello, look at the person and smile  - it is the best greeting for all customers but for those who are shoplifters it says…  I have been noticed; it may be too risky to steal something from this store.
  8. Signage helps . Post your policy on shoplifting in clear view.
  9. Put small expensive items in locked fixtures and cabinets. Place these fixtures as close to the cash counter as possible.
  10. One of the most effective ways for retailers to prevent shoplifting is to install an electronic security system.  As this is one of the most costly ways to go, I would like you to consider the pros and cons before going this route.
  11. A well-designed store layout will not eliminate all shoplifting but will help reduce it.  Wider aisles with shorter fixture lengths in the middle of the store are what you want. This strategy makes it less likely for shoplifters to feel secure and hidden from view.
  12. Heighten awareness from staff is a must. Please teach your staff to combat shoplifting by being proactive and aware of what’s going on in your store at all times.
  13. Your staff needs to be up to date on regular price points and what is on sale.  Teach them, if the price does not make sense, always check.  Customer price-switching is preventable.
  14. Your shoplifting procedures should be in writing and laid out for your staff so they know what to do if they suspect someone.  You do not want any staff member to be in a position of confrontation and in any danger.  Theft prevention should be your goal.

Let's have a quick look at internal theft:

  1. Retailers  do not like to think that your staff is stealing from you, but the sad reality is that a percentage of your staff will steal when the circumstances and the opportunity is there."Shoplifting"
  2. Theft by employees is a very big problem in Retail today and many companies are reluctant to address it.  You have the right to protect what you own, and you should not make any apologies for taking whatever lawful and appropriate action you can to do so.
  3. Establishing clear policies, procedures and staff training will go a long way to helping your business eliminate shoplifting and shrinkage.

Do not ignore these issues, get started today.Barbara

Day #52 - How To Keep Customers In The Store Longer - Part 11 of 14

A Permanent Clearance Area:

Set up a permanent clearance area at the back of your store. It is a good idea.  Many customers love rummaging through[fusion_builder_container hundred_percent="yes" overflow="visible"][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type="1_1" background_position="left top" background_color="" border_size="" border_color="" border_style="solid" spacing="yes" background_image="" background_repeat="no-repeat" padding="" margin_top="0px" margin_bottom="0px" class="" id="" animation_type="" animation_speed="0.3" animation_direction="left" hide_on_mobile="no" center_content="no" min_height="none"]"Clearance Area"clearance areas.  Set this area up if you do not have one, this will keep customers in your store longer, looking for good deals.  As well, placing your sales items towards the back of the store will force customers to walk by the regularly priced merchandise before coming across the sale items, thus increasing the probability for sales of regular merchandise. Clearly, mark your sales prices on all your merchandise and on signs that will grab your customers' attention.Barbara[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]

Getting ready for your next buying trip

It's that time of the year!  The biggest lesson, I can teach you about being better prepared for your next buying trip has everything to do with one of my major concerns for you.  You need to take care not to over stock your store with more inventory then you need for the next selling season. Check this out, if you are not consistently selling through the products you are bringing in for your selling or seasonal cycle , you are for sure adding  to your financial  debt.You have to promise me that you will not go to another show with out knowing the following information. Buying trips are expensive. Make them count. Getting ready for a trip is important. The more detailed  information  you have with you when you go to buy ,  the more effective your buying experience will be.Here is what I want you to have a look at before you start packing your bags.My first question to you is how much stock do you have on hand? Review your current inventory levels next review the reports that tell you how much stock you have  and specifically what that stock is. It’s easy to forget what you have in the fast pace that is a buying trip, which in turn can have you buying more than you need or duplicating what you have already.Pull together your Year To Date sales per category, focus on the same period you are buying for. What you want to see in this information is  what sold  and what did not. Also what you want to understand is how much of any given category you had to reduce in price to sell thru .Pull reports that show sales by item , yes detail is important. You can get caught up  in the moment during a buying trip and buy  the same or similar items that did not sell .These next two points are in your best interest so be on top of them. 1. Knowing your best sellers. You want to duplicate your best sellers at your next buying trip or if that is not possible find products that are similar. 2. Know your customers likes and dislikes. I recommend you talk to your customers before you go so you know what they want. Do a mini survey.Reading up on trends is a very good use of your time before going on a buying trip. I want you to know what you are talking about! Buying trends or NEW products are the right focus for you. NEW drives your business.  So, do not shy away from trendy purchases, just do not over buy in this area. Use the buying technique of wide shallow purchasing.Understanding how many times products turn over in your store is an important piece of information. I know that many of you are not on top of this. Calculating the number of turns you experience will insure you do not bring in products before you know you can sell them. Again, this will help you not to be overstocked in any given quarter.Managing your schedule at a show is always a challenge. My advice, plan 75 % of your time at the show. Do not over schedule every minute; you may not have any time to just have a real good look around. Possibly passing  by an opportunity to find the next big craze - Silly Bandz any one!Make appointments with key vendors. You want to make sure you catch people you need to see during your next buying trip. It just makes sense.If you do nothing else this is my biggest advise. Set buying budgets before you go. Do not leave home with out knowing how much you can afford to spend. It can be set by item, category, or vendor.  My advice, the more detail the better. You will be more in control of the money being spent and make sounder buying decisions.Just recently, I was speaking to one of my favorite  retailers in North America Diane Acheson, after reviewing the list I have prepared for you in helping you get ready for your next buying trip . I asked Diane what she would add . She said “make sure you know where you are staying”. I love that suggestion thank you Diane ,thank you.Well , it is  over to you now. Do the work I am suggesting.  Round up the information.  You will have a more successful buying trip.See you at the next show.BestBarbara Crowhurst