I’d be sure to have a factory outlet clearance section in the back of the store, recognizing that it could represent a significant part of my total revenue and of my net income.
Holding onto stale merchandise is bad economics. It is also the kiss of death with my customers. The Outlet Store would be my liquidation center, and enable me to keep the rest of the store stocked with fresh product.
I would hone in on the most established vendors of jewelry, children’s toys and books, gifts, and clothing recognizing that 20% of the suppliers cover 80% of what I need. I would make personalized products a significant distinguishing factor. I would not go head to head on product with any mass merchandiser. Not every product would have to scream salvation.
I would price based on what I feel the market could bear. In some cases I know I could purchase jewelry that would allow me to mark it up 500% while at the same time knowing other items I could only mark up 30% while staying competitive.
I would be as hard-nosed, yet cordial, with my vendors as Christ was with the moneychangers in the temple even if the two are unrelated. I would be high-maintenance, asking for every discount conceivable, the best terms available, and free freight, and my vendors would respect me for it.
NETWORKING WITHIN THE INDUSTRY
I would network closely with other successful retailers in my industry provided they are not located within 100 miles of my store.
I would shop the Atlanta Gift Mart every January. I’d walk it with a number of my associates (the ones that don’t have a store near me). We’d break up the first day to cover as much of the show as possible, compare notes, and then work together for the next couple of days cutting purchase orders.
I’d attend the ICRS show held every July, primarily for networking and continuing education.
Whenever I travelled, I would keep an eye on the retail industry, observing trends in products and merchandising, making sure I was in the forefront of where the industry was going.
I would attempt to stay in top physical condition to best cope with the stress of owning and managing my own business. I would be careful as to what I would ingest, and establish a structured exercise routine.
I would read, primarily through my RSS feeds, to keep myself informed of my industry and of the world around me.
Just as Wayne Gretzky was the greatest because he skated to where the puck was going, I would market to where my customer is going to be, not where he currently is.
I would set aside time each day for reading the Bible, prayer, and meditation, so I would not have to say, as did Solomon that “they have made me the keeper of vineyards, but my own vineyard I have not kept.”
Thanks for staying with me on this series. I welcome your comments and observations!