Sales this last week were much better than the week before -- but, you know? Just about anything would've been better than the week before. We were way over projections in the first ten days, by more than 30%. I got a little carried away, and restocked.
I then dropped like a rock for the next ten days, by the same 30%. That's a HUGE swing, folks. So huge, that it becomes an inexplicable statistical aberration. Especially since I end up back at average!
Over the last week or so, I've been just a tad over projections.
As I said last week, it was going to take a dramatic change in trajectory for me to change my mind about the budget -- and "a tad over" ain't it.
Anything I order this week or next will show up around mid-August, giving me just a couple of weeks selling period, as well as coming due very close to the following slow period. Plus -- it probably won't make any difference in overall sales.
This is one of the counter-intuitive things that took me many years to learn. When I first bought the store, I did the common sense thing by ordering tons of stuff for summer and Christmas, and then cutting back in the off season. Makes sense, right?
I'm going to sell stuff in the summer and Christmas no matter what I do, and what I order actually matters less, not more. I may miss the occasional individual sale by not having something in stock, but I probably won't harm the 'overall' sales.
Whereas, being of sparse inventory in the off season is just deadly, because those individual sales may be all I'll get.
In the busy seasons, I am getting a lot more customers in the door, and to most of them everything I have is 'new'. At least 'new' to them.
I've learned to let August and December take care of themselves. I prepare all year, in a way, for those months. A bunch of last minute ordering is just money spent.
Better to save it up. Then, in the first week of September and the first week of January, look at what sold, decide what parts of the store need to be replenished, and which can be laid to rest.
At this point in the summer, I'd just be second-guessing myself. I may very well get to the 10th of August, and find out I should have ordered more of this or that, and I may whack myself to the side of the head for not knowing that -- but IT'S TOO LATE! Anything I order on the 10th, will probably show up around the 17th and come due on Sept. 1, around the time business drops. And it will be too late to affect the lost sales, anyway....
In the off season, I'll get more of the truly interested, who have probably already seen everything I've got, and who want individual and/or new and fresh material to keep them happy. It's much easier to firm up the different categories, especially if I have Summer or Christmas cash to do so.
It's a delayed gratification thing, really. I usually believe that if I'm going to spend money on inventory, it's better to do so early than late, to give myself a chance to sell the stuff. Put the money to work, so to speak.
August and December are the two exceptions to that rule, and it takes a great deal of willpower to break the pattern. I just have to remind myself how much fun it is to have a viable budget to spend in the off season and how much more it matters.
5 days ago