Buying well takes discipline. When I first started buying, the biggest mistake I made was overbuying. It’s the biggest mistake most new buyers make. In one hour I crippled my store for months.
What can I say. I got caught up in the moment. My endorphins went haywire and my unit buying plan by classification went out the window. I severely strained my cash flow and ended up with a boatload of sweaters heading into the spring and not enough in tee’s as the sun flirted with my customers urges. In essence I forced my customers to shop elsewhere for their tee’s and took promotional discounts on my new sweaters. I paid sales associates an incentive to sell sweaters reducing my margins even more and increased my advertising to run a special sweater promotion. It was a lot more work with little reward. It was a total lose-lose except for the fact that it taught me a valuable lesson early in my buying career. “Don’t buy groceries when you’re hungry”.
From that point on I did not leave orders at the shows. I politely told reps “I don’t leave orders at market”. It took a lot of the emotion out of the moment, gave me time to check my plans, allowed me to shuffle merchandise according to deliveries and to spend my money in a thoughtful manner.
Next I set up my open to buy budget to look like a checkbook. Each order I wrote, I just deducted from my checkbook. By thinking of excess order writing as an overdraft I was able to become more profitable with less drama.
And finally, in case my foolproof measures failed I added a clause to my purchase order that allowed me to cancel an order within 10 days of placing it. It was my personal equivalent of “freezing the credit cards”...a cooling off period so to speak.
I’d like to say I never over bought again but I did. But as a wise buyer taught me “never over buy just because but instead over buy for a cause”.
What’s your worst overbuying nightmare. Got one? Share it.
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