Top 10 Buying and Inventory Control Tips

We figured with the end of the year rapidly approaching, many thoughts are turning to taking stock… of the stock you have in stock… It’s inventory time!

We here at Midwest Retail Services have time blocked off during the last week of December to rally our entire team to head back to the warehouse and take count of each and every shelf the we have sitting on our shelves (how meta!)

To that end, we asked Anne Obarksi, owner of Merchandise Concepts and CONTAGIOUS Customer Service Strategist to share her best tips for Buying and Inventory Control.

Anne’s top 10 simple tips to keep you focused on the analytical part of your business that most retailers fail to address.

10. Take an accurate inventory two times per year.

9. From your accurate inventory, evaluate each department and list each classification within each department

8. Within each classification, evaluate how many vendors you use for each classification and how each one is performing. Also, re-visit your store’s demographics and research what is happening to your current customer base.

7. Calculate the turnover for each vendor by taking your monthly sales for that item and divide by the monthly average stock.  Is there a financial reason to carry that item or are you caring it because you feel loyal to that vendor?

6. New statistics are showing successful retailers are working tighter with their inventory at no more than 2x their sales plan. In the past if you had a $50.0 retail sales plan then you could operate on a $150.0 retail budget. Now we are seeing a drop to close to $100.0 which means a buyer’s choices have to be just right. Of course this ratio can vary depending on the “type” of merchandise you carry. Perishables will be different as well as very slow moving merchandise. It is all based on the numbers.

bar-code-24157_6405. Check pricing to see that you are not just doubling the cost to arrive at your retail price. Merely doubling won’t pay the bills. If you are trying to match competition by “the keystone method” then find another vendor or product that is so unique that you can dictate your retail price.

4. Become proficient in all the capabilities and reports that your POS registers can do, and use them.

3. Before you purchase, know where you plan to stock and display the new merchandise. Without a purpose and a plan your buying will reflect a lack of direction.

2. Watch “sell through” on your merchandise, if sales on specific items slows down, move it around in the store.

1. Become savvy on how you use every marketing channel and vow to keep your customer informed on your store, your merchandise and events that will keep them coming back.

Print this list and post them near your desk to stay numerically focused!

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About Midwest Retail Services

Midwest Retail Services provides all the store fixtures needed to start, expand, or update your retail store. We serve a wide variety of businesses including pharmacy, grocery, pet supply, party supply, book, C-Store, discount, and many other retailers. We also support POP design and fulfillment, retail designers, architects, contractors, installers, and store fixture resellers.