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  • Writer's picturePhil Chang

Buying Hacks - Tips for Merchants, Buyers, Store Owners

How can we sell more stuff to more people and still be able to cover our operating costs and show a profit at years end?

Good merchants are one half of the retailer equation. The other half is about being a buyer - we need to fuel your ingenuity and help you find creative solutions to thrive. What we do now to keep us viable will allow us to grow when we get back to better times. There are a few very basic buying practices that we can be doing to make sure we have a good year.

Managing Inventory

How and what you buy and your managing of that inventory will be of the utmost importance as cash flow is critical this coming year. Holding money in inventory that is not turning is not what we want.

Look for new items and work with brands that can and do provide listing allowances and/or free fills. Use those funds to assist in margin building not only on these brands but on other brands that we may want to push to keep listings fresh and interesting.

Buy With Value In Mind: What can we do to make a difference in our neighborhoods? How do we show that we do care and that we do understand that people are having challenges?

Buy with value in mind. The equation is as follows; Value = Price x Quality.

Even in tougher times, not everyone is racing to the bottom. Not everyone is looking to buy cheap and inferior products.

Buy as much as you can during deal periods and build your store around this. Either use the deals to pad margin or maybe this year, pass on more of the deals to consumers and work on a bit tighter margins to really show your value.

value equals price times quality
value equals price times quality

Bring Excitement to “Ordinary Experiences”

It's not all about cutting prices - most consumers will still try and buy quality goods for the home. Many may have to cut back on eating out or delivery, spa / aesthetician and haircut trips and shift to doing more cooking, and self grooming and self care at home.

Bringing some excitement to "ordinary experiences" will also help consumers know that you've got their interests at heart.

Buy from vendors / brands that are excited and want to work for themselves and you. Brands that want to be successful and come to the table with display opportunities, demo or sampling opportunities or maybe some basic in store help, are the brands we want to play with. Look for brands that are pushing forward and wanting to grow in tough times.

Ask for Help. Sometimes the best help can come in the form of time. Ask for a few weeks extra to pay. If a supplier can stretch your terms to 45 days from 30, that can make the difference of keeping your cash situation fluid. If your brand is with a major retailer, the chances are, they're already used to giving 90-120 days of term.

You know what your business is and you know what you want to show as offerings. You are providing a need in your community that others are either not doing or not doing as well as you are. You know what other stores are carrying, at what price they are selling at, how they are promoting the brands and themselves and you have a plan to work around that. These hacks will help you to find a little breathing room and do what you do best - serve the customer.


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