Winter 2019 - Inside Outdoor Magazine

Inside Outdoor | WINTER 2019 28 A s 2018 came to a close, hopefully you were able to find some quiet time for reflection and contem- plation. If not, that could start by making a list of the major areas in your business that you feel should be scrutinized. Your list may differ, but as an ex- ample, let’s use merchandising, mar- keting, human resources and tech- nology as areas to consider. If we were to examine how each of these areas might look, we might include the following: • Merchandising – All buying func- tions including assortment planning, resource structure, floor presentation and the evaluation of metrics includ- ing sales, turnover, markup – both initial and maintained – and return on investment (ROI). • Marketing – Trunk shows, popups and catalogs would be reviewed for productivity. Don’t forget to include an evaluation of any online business ac- tivities including social media, inter- net selling, current website effective- ness, email lists and print media and broadcast media, if you use it. • Human Resources – Basically this is the people part of the business. Re- view every key position to determine if any changes need to be made. Now is the time. • Technology – Needless to say, tech is changing at a very rapid pace. Is your point-of-sale system keeping up with your needs? Do you employ a state-of-the-art merchandise planning system? Are the company’s computer software programs up to date regard- ing security? Let’s take a deeper dive into each of these four areas. Since merchandising is the en- gine that powers the entire operation, let’s start there. I think it makes sense to begin with a review of the year-end merchandising metrics. Were sales up or down by store and classification? Has the initial markup (IMU%) been reviewed recently, or are you pricing items the way you always have. A small increase in this area alone can make a huge difference in the bottom line if put into practice now. Is the maintained markup (MU%) in line with industry standards? If not, what is the reason? There could be a markdown issue? Was it weather related, prod- uct related, poor timing of deliveries, or did you just buy too much of the wrong stuff? Each resource needs to be evalu- ated at year end as well. Determina- tions need to be made if the vendor’s past performance justifies more ex- posure on the sales floor, or maybe it needs to be decreased or eliminated completely? (Note: It’s okay to change lines once in a while to keep things fresh and interesting, assuming they have been thoroughly vetted.) That’s not to say it is wise to throw out lines indiscriminately. A case can be made for discontinuing lines that no longer perform or have become long in the tooth in the customers’ eyes. How is the selling floor presenta- tion? Do the floors need to be refinished or the carpeting changed out? How is the lighting, customer fitting areas, cash/wrap area? Does the store need painting? How is the outside signage? Buyer’s Side By Ritchie Sayner It’s Okay to Change Start the New Year off right with introspection