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Debra

Debra

Shopping should be a pleasure for everyone involved - customers, staff and business owners - never a chore.  I spend my time working with retail business owners - helping them love their businesses back to life!  This blog is my thoughts, ideas, tips and  musings on what I find...

Posted by on in Buying
A Retail Buyer's Responsibilities

The buying function plays a critical role in a retail business because it is buyers who determine virtually all of the elements of the merchandise offer. If the buyer fails to get the ‘five rights’ (that is, merchandise, quantity, price, place and timing) right, no amount of slick presentation or promotion will save the retailer.

The effectiveness of the buying function has a major impact on the retailer’s ultimate profitability because:

  • Merchandise is the principal generator of revenue
  • Merchandise typically represents between 33 and 66 percent of a retailer’s total assets.

Viewed in this context, it becomes clear that buyers don’t simply acquire merchandise; they are in fact managers of money. Every decision they make has an impact on the company’s level of turnover, its profits, its cash flow and its return on investment.

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Posted by on in Social Media
Don't be "That" Person on Social Media

Word of Caution (or Don’t Be “That Person”)
You know those people who go to networking events and try to sell you long before they learn anything about your needs? Who are pushing their product or service as they give you their never-let-go-G.I.-Joe-with-the-Kung-Fu-grip handshake? It’s easy in real life to see how obnoxious that behaviour is, right?
Well, then don’t behave that way on facebook. (Or on any social media site, for that matter.) Anyone jumping into social media as a way to make a quick sale will be sorely disappointed, and may irrevocably damage their reputation.
Social media is about building relationships; you build your network and your reputation over time by providing value to other people. The best book ever written on social media marketing could well be How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie.
Remember; You need to focus on building rapport, reaching out to connect with others, adding value, sharing information relative to your niche and marketplace.

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Posted by on in Social Media
Broken Businesses Aren't Fixed by Social Media

Whenever there is a new type of technology, media or fad of any kind everyone hops on the new wagon. The foolish think just because it's new, the seat on the new wagon must be better. They think it will cost less, be easier, bring more customers. It's normal to look for a solution.
To hope that something will fix the issues that keeps you up at night. It is normal to hope and dream of the day you can go to sleep without waking up in the middle of the night to solve a problem.
Many do the same thing with social media.
They think once they are on Twitter, have a facebook page, and get everything automated their business problems will be solved. Sorry to break the news to you but that’s not how it works.
The reality is that social media will probably highlight these issues even further. It may even shine like a strobe light on the very broken areas of your business. It may put departments, people and even individuals under pressure. Why? Because you will be forced to talk about these things. Why? Because it is now more out in the open.

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Posted by on in Selling
Bumping the Sale

Too many small business people spend inordinate amounts of time and money trying to increase their profitability by attracting new customers, when all along they’re allowing a goldmine of profits to slip by right under their nose.

What is a Bump?
On each and every transaction you have the opportunity to increase your margins dramatically with a simple “bump” or “up-sell”. Bumps are offers made at the point of sale by giving a simple suggestion.
For instance, when I’m on the road, one of the easiest places for breakfast is McDonalds. I always order a Sausage Muffin and a flat white and each time I go to order, the counter person asks me if I’d like to have the large coffee. Errr, yeeesssss. This is a good example of a bump.

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Posted by on in Selling
Conversational Selling

Remember: ALWAYS talk on purpose.
Purpose: resolution, a thing intended
The Australian Concise Oxford Dictionary
Experience doesn’t necessarily teach anyone anything. It can mean a repetition of mistakes.
What we need to do is make a deeper study of the relationship between the buyer and the salesperson.
Many salespeople have proudly announced that they have been paid a handsome compliment by a customer. ‘Do you know what they said? They told me I was the best salesperson who had called on them that week!” In fact, this was an indirect criticism, for the salesperson must have made it obvious to the customer that they were making an effort to take an order; and this is the worst form of salesmanship.
Selling has been called the gentle art of giving other people your own way. That sums it up pretty well.
High pressure selling is usually fraudulent selling, and an aggressive salesperson gets nowhere with a professional buyer. Nevertheless, a salesperson must be determined to obtain an order, although the determination mustn’t show.

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Posted by on in Selling
Sales Training is a MUST not a maybe...

“What’s the point of training my staff? I no sooner train them and they leave.”
So many times, this is the lament I hear from retailers. My answer is always the same:
“Your choice is to train them and run the risk of them leaving, or NOT training them and run the risk of them staying…..”
As a store, you’re either getting better or getting worse and in order to succeed, you need a store that is clean, well organised, properly merchandised and with salespeople who are trained well and WANT to sell.
I hasten to add, though, training for the sake of training – with no means of measurement – is a waste of time and money. What is the point of spending time training people if you don’t measure the improvement in your business?
The only reason to ever do sales training is to improve a sales statistic.
Let’s assume you have a store that is ready to sell. The product is displayed beautifully, the store is organised and as clean as can be. All the elements are in place for you to really sell and expand the business. The key element missing is: SALESPEOPLE.

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Posted by on in Musings
If I knew then ...

It’s a funny thing, the decisions you make and where they take you. Never ever in a million years did I think I would “sell” anything.

The thought of selling was anathema to me ... and yet my first job was in a retail business (administration area NOT selling), I worked for a while in a legal firm – billing out hours (but never considering it “selling”), worked on ministerial staff in Federal politics but again never considered anything we did “selling”, and so it went until one day a friend of mine needed my help.

He asked me to help him sell some products he believed in.

I was nearly sick.

Because the “selling” involved standing up in front of people and “selling” his product.

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Posted by on in Musings
Belief Systems

I recently posted this on my facebook page but now think it needs a slightly longer shelf-life.

What makes a BELIEF SYSTEM? This is one of my foundation stones.
I've kept it with me for more years than I intend naming. (It lives in my diary, my journals) I find myself mentally chanting it to myself as I drive, I doodle and scribble it across sticky notes, books...

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Posted by on in Inventory
What to do with Clearance Stock

Clearance merchandise consists of products that have been permanently marked down for quick sale. These items may be handled in several ways:

  • Clearance items may be pulled together at the rear of each department. For example, clearance suits may be positioned on one or more fixtures at the rear of the career department.
  • Clearance merchandise from all departments may be pulled into one area of the store to form a permanent clearance department. This catch-all clearance department should be positioned in the rear of the store.
  • Clearance merchandise in specialty stores may be pulled to the front of the store for traditional major clearance events in January or early July.
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Posted by on in Inventory
Stock Turnover

Stock turnover is defined as the number of times during a specific period, usually one year, that the inventory on hand is sold. At a time like this a slow stock turn means that cash flow is lying on the shelves. It is not being turned into cash to pay your creditors and is a recipe for going bankrupt quickly.

In addition to cash flow, a high level of stock turnover in a business has several advantages for any retailer:
Merchandise on the shelves is always fresh.
Losses due to changes in styles and fashions are reduced.
Costs associated with maintaining stock, such as interest, insurance, breakage are lessened.
Your store has a limited amount of space. It must always be your objective to get the most profit per square foot out of your valuable space. Slow movers tie up valuable space.

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Posted by on in Inventory
Stock Rooms & Storage

Are you opening a retail shop? One of your important tasks is to design your stock room. Or perhaps you opened your shop but didn’t really give all that much attention to your stock room and now is the time to get your stock room in order

The high cost per square metre of many retail locations makes it tempting to devote almost every centimetre to the sales floor in order to maximise display space. Certainly the area devoted to merchandise display is the most important part of the shop, but few shops could survive without a rest room, unloading area, storage space and an office.

A comfortable and efficient office, stock area and employee break room make for a happy bookkeeping, buying and stockperson staff [even if it’s you!]. Few shops have enough room to make these areas as spacious as they should be. Remodelling money tends to get put first into the parts of the shop where customers can see it.

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Posted by on in Inventory
Stock Management - it's IMPORTANT

From a store's perspective, stock management means controlling the stock that is being bought so that customer needs are continually satisfied and maximum profitability is achieved.

Remember:  Merchandise is typically the largest single asset in a retail business and, as such, its productivity is critical when determining a retailer's profitability.

Effective Stock Management is important because:

1) Stock is Money
Stock is money invested and the profitability and financial viability of the retailer depends on the return obtained from that investment.
No stock or the wrong stock means no sales and no income. Since stock is the prime generator of revenue, having the right stock in the right quantities at the right time for the customer is fundamental.

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Posted by on in Financials
Setting the Right Price

There are many outside influences that affect profitability and a retailer's bottom line. Setting the right price is a crucial step toward achieving that profit.

Retailers are in business to make a profit, but figuring out what and how to price products may not come easily.

There are two costs associated with products that you must know before you can determine the best strategy in pricing your products. These are the COST OF GOODS and the amount of OPERATING EXPENSES.

The cost of goods includes the amount paid for the product, plus any shipping or handling expenses. The cost of operating the business, or operating expense, includes overhead, payroll, marketing and office supplies.

Regardless of the pricing strategy used, the retail price of the products should more than cover the cost of obtaining the goods plus the expenses related to operating the business. A retailer simply cannot succeed in business if they continue to sell their products below cost.

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Posted by on in Inventory
Controlling Your Stock Levels

From a store's perspective, stock management means controlling the stock that is being bought so that customer needs are continually satisfied and maximum profitability is achieved.

Remember:  Merchandise is typically the largest single asset in a retail business and, as such, its productivity is a critical determinant of any retailer's profitability.

Effective Stock Management is vitally important because:
Stock is Money
Stock is money invested and the profitability and financial viability of the retailer depends on the return obtained from that investment.

No stock or the wrong stock means no sales and no income.  Since stock is the prime generator of revenue, having the right stock in the right quantities at the right time for the customer is fundamental.

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Posted by on in Financials
Signs of Trouble Ahead

It’s easy to fall into one of two diametrically opposed camps at the moment: “The Oh Me, Oh My, We are all Doomed, Doomed I tell you” mob, or the slightly cocky and arrogant “Recession? What Recession – Stop Making Excuses – It’s all in your head” gang.

The truth – just like the hole in the doughnut – is probably somewhere around the middle.

It is important not to get caught up in perceptions and make decisions based on community sentiment – but to closely examine your own business and the things that you can control.

How long since you took your eyes of the economy and focused down into the heart of your business?

Here are some warning signs that you should be watching out for – the indicators that as well as the massive changes out on the marketplace it might now be time to implement some change –some improvements – of your own.

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Posted by on in Financials
Loss Leaders

Loss leaders are goods or services offered at steep discounts (generally below cost) in order to attract new sales signscustomers to a shop. It is a time-honoured practice that has been met with much success, especially by large discount retailers. The intent of this pricing strategy is to not only have the customer buy the (loss leader) sale item, but other products that are not discounted.

When to Use Loss Leader Pricing:
Move Overstock: If you have inventory that isn't moving or if you're overstocked on a particular item, a loss leader can move it. By cutting the price of such an item, you'll not only free up the shelf space and reduce inventory, but you'll also increase cash flow.

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Posted by on in e-commerce
e-commerce Today and Tomorrow

The world of e-commerce has long been the "ogre" that retailers and brands were trying to avoid. But the time has come to tame it - and the stakes are high for those that miss the opportunity.
People are shopping online for an ever-increasing number of products. Even product categories traditionally considered unlikely candidates for online shopping have been swept up by the e-commerce revolution.
This means that retail is now heading toward a single organisation that can respond to demand across multiple channels. Processes need to be integrated from source to sale. Retailers must have a more sophisticated understanding of their relationships with suppliers — all the way through to the shelf or point of sale, that moment where the shopper is engaged and motivated.

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Posted by on in Valentine's Day
Hanging Around

Your clothing shop is probably filled with hangers and racks to display your wearable wears, but for Valentine’s Day, trying a little hanging out.

Design one-day only hang tags to clip onto the regular store tags, an effort that won’t take up too much of your or your workers’ time.

Give customers a little something extra with their V-Day wear by cutting out hearts from card stock or thick paper in colors that match the store’s theme or traditional red and pink. Add text such as “We Heart Our Customers” or “Our Clients are the Sweetest!” Clip the hearts onto the clothes’ existing tags with a paper clip or small twist tie.

...
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Posted by on in Valentine's Day
Take a Chance

Any retail store promotion means taking a chance that it’ll be well-received by your shoppers but with a wheel of chance, you’re really spinning it.

Obtain or make a simple cardboard wheel of chance like on “Wheel of Fortune” or carnival games. On each pie piece sliver, place a colourful cardboard heart made to look like a candy conversation heart.

Design a different prize on each heart such as “10% off one item” or “Free bracelet with any purchase.”

...
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Posted by on in Valentine's Day
Reach for Red

Appeal to last-minute shoppers with a promotion that’ll have them seeing red. Stalk the store and gather a couple of pieces of red clothing or homewares or books or gifts or tools (you get my drift...) you have.

Don’t take them all -- one or two in each size will be fine and will leave some back in their regular areas for shoppers who wander around. It’ll also be less for your team to clean up after the day.

Arrange a special promotional area at the front of the store on risers or stacks, T-shirts, socks, underwear and other clothing in the main shade of the day (ie Valentine’s Day). The same for whatever your product range...

For added color, sprinkle some pink and white around the display.

Buyers can create an entire outfit or set out of one-stop shopping for their entire wardrobe or might select that one item to get them into the Valentine’s Day rosy-red spirit

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