Friday, September 18, 2009

Change of strategy.

I was planning to try for a small profit over the fall season, Sept., Oct., Nov. It would have been 30% smaller than what I did in August alone, but a profit nevertheless.

I've decided to go a different route.


First, because the store is doing so well, and Linda's store is doing even better.
After a couple of years of not hearing compliments from the customers, I've been hearing tons of compliments. "Cool store." And the compliments are coming from my target potential customers -- middle aged couples, and 20/30 somethings. I want to keep reaching for that audience by supplying what they're looking for.

We're on a roll, right now, at a time when others are struggling and I think it's a good time to put the hammer down. My instinct is that customers are looking for places that not only are surviving, but thriving. Maybe not consciously, but I'm pretty sure they're tired of "Liquidation Sales" and "Going out of Business" sales. I'm betting they want a store that doesn't have the whiff of desperation.


Secondly, the off season is when my suppliers offer their best deals. If my intention is to build my book stock, then it's important that I take advantage of every opportunity. If the books keep selling, it makes no sense not to keep getting them.


Third, I've begun to notice certain gaps. Toys sales are way down, and it had become obvious that my minimalist approach hasn't worked. I was ordering single toys, instead of full lines of toys, and while it's kept the appearance of the store up, it hasn't resulted in many sales.

Thing about toys is, I can pick up large batches of toys that are slightly 'out of date' and still sell them over a longer period of time. I almost have to overshoot toys orders to garner sales, and the best way to overshoot is to buy them at a major discount. If I get them at twice the normal discount, I can take twice as long to sell them or alternately, sell half as many, or in a pinch, sell them for half price.


Fourth, I have the cash to spend. I have enough for taxes and for my safety margin, so it's time to test the proposition that I can spend a few thousand, then replenish my cash position, and then spend and then replenish. I've never done this before, mostly because I didn't have the cash to spend. I've always wanted to see if such a tactic would work.

If it doesn't work, I still have Christmas ahead to recover. But I have a feeling that spending what would have been pretty paltry profits on consequential product is more useful right now.


Fifth, I'm bored with just babysitting the store. Yes, it resulted in the best profits of my career, but it was agonizing to pass by opportunities for growth. With this month doing so much better than I expected, I'm going to loosen the reins just a bit. Makes going to work more fun, makes working more busy.


Sixth, the major changes in my industry have once again reinforced the importance of diversifying the store's inventory. Books -- of all kinds. Stories -- of all kinds. Art -- of all kinds. This is the future of my store.

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