Create Your Own Guide to Buying

Here is the first point in the Twelve Components You Need in Your Merchandising Plan.

1. Create Your Own Guide to Buying- 

Create a file to record comments on your own impressions regarding new products and supplier programs. Start a separate entry for each supplier. Don’t just think about what appeals to you regarding design and style, but also identify who your targeted customers will be and why they will find the product so compelling to purchase from you. Think about what items you are currently carrying that may be cannibalized through the introduction of new products. That does not mean you should not carry these new items, but it allows you an opportunity to further perfect your own ability to project the performance of products based on your customers buying behaviors. Write down some assumptions regarding each line and then go back after carrying the items for a couple months and see how well you understood your targeted customers and their response to these jewelry items.

Think about the program each supplier offers. Create a document that details the actual terms of agreement and support provided by each supplier. You will be surprised how different each supplier’s total package can be after you take the time to review discounts, memo programs, stock balancing, cooperative advertising, display allowance, delayed billing, promotional materials offered, pre-pricing, ship to order ratios and quality of training offered, etc. Become more aware of what suppliers are willing to offer/accept and become a better negotiator by understanding what you really value and the programmed purchasing you really need from each supplier. Take the personalities out of the equation and recognize and reward the suppliers that are most valuable to your company. 

Create your own buying guide by documenting all of the details of each supplier. There are many contributing factors that stretch far beyond just the price of the merchandise. Having an active database (even if it’s just your own hand written notes) is really a knowledge base that is valuable intellectual property for your company.

Do you currently use a buying guide? How has it helped you better manage your merchandising programs and inventory management and product sales and purchasing?