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