Hardware Retailing

AUG 2017

Hardware Retailing magazine is the pre-eminent how-to management magazine for small business owners and managers in the home improvement retailing industry.

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Page 88 of 114

HARDWARE RETAILING | August 2017 82 The bigger opportunity when it comes to reordering is asking yourself this question: "Before I reorder this widget, is this the right widget to stock?" For example, there are dozens of different kinds of 25-foot tape measures. Do you carry the best-sellers, and do you really need to carry 10 different kinds? This is where a velocity index report from your supplier will help. You can see which tape measures are the best-sellers, and then you can reorder smarter. 3. Don't Fall in Love It's just inventory, not your prized possession, so don't become too attached to it. You have to evaluate slow and nonturning inventory monthly. Yes, some items do turn slowly. When you realize it's time to get rid of products that aren't selling, take a deep breath, close your eyes and sing out loud, "Let it go." Remember, you can't buy anything with gross margin percentage, only dollars. While you wish you could get more margin from that one item, be smarter about how you invest those dollars. If you are in retailing long enough, you will make some bad purchasing decisions and make a buy that "just can't lose." If you have never made those decisions, just keep buying; it will happen. Just remember when it's time to get rid of something and move on. 4. Refresh. Reset. Repeat. Merchandising your store well is a never-ending process. Each year, you need to refresh your merchandise, evaluate your mix, add new products, dump turn-killers and spend time with the sales data, especially when it comes to seasonal categories. Do the hard work to create the best mix possible. Refreshing your inventory never ends. Every five years, plan to do a complete reset. If you don't do a major reset of the whole store at once (which has many benefits), you should rethink each department every five years. The value of resetting your store is time; it will force you to honestly and candidly evaluate your mix. Plus, when you reset your store, you usually have some outside help, which provides a fresh perspective you won't have by being in the store every day. 5. Do You Think I'm Pretty? Fronting and facing merchandise is as basic as it gets. But, like so many areas of life, when things get busy, we let the basics slip. Don't take for granted how important having faced and fronted product can be. Keep product, shelving and bin tags clean. (Soapbox: Please, when you put a new bin tag up, do not place it over the top of the existing bin tag. It looks terrible and makes you and your staff look lazy.) There are plenty of time-consuming store maintenance tasks that you might not be able to undertake as often as you want, including weekly velocity reports or total inventory overhauls, but staying on top of minor things like regular cleaning, fronting and facing product can make a substantial impact. Think how hard you work to achieve your sales. Keep in mind that nearly 60 percent of sales dollars goes into your inventory. With that kind of investment in mind, remind yourself that the time, energy and effort you spend on your inventory are worth it. Dustin Kaehr is a retail consultant with over 17 years of experience working with independent retailers, national retail chains and small businesses. He frequently presents seminars and training sessions throughout North America on a range of topics including marketing, sales growth, employee retention and the customer experience. Learn more about him at dustinkaehr.com. " Don't take for granted how important having faced and fronted product can be. "

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