Are you more focused on purchasing and inventory control than selling or merchandising? One of the biggest improvements in health food retailing is the lower costs of software programs to manage and ‘control’ inventory. Prior to having a proper inventory management system, one of the biggest challenges for retailers was having dead stock on the shelves and not being able to easily identify what stock was moving.
Since the 90s, I have preached the ’90-day rule’ of inventory management: make sure at least one bottle is sold in 90 days from all stock on shelves.
Most stores without a good inventory management system often have 25 per cent plus dead stock, which means not ONE bottle has sold in the past 90 days. So if you have $100K invested in inventory, $25K is wasted dollars on the shelf!
Now with the new technology, you can run a report daily or monthly, showing inventory movement. No product should be on the shelves for over 90 days. I know one store gets rid of the bottom 20 per cent slow sellers each month, and another store works to have 30 day turns, not 90!
As more retailers upgrade their systems to manage inventory, this will mean less product dollars tied up in slow moving items. It will also make it easier for retailers to clean up shelves of dead stock. As the algorithms track the movement of all inventory, I believe we will start seeing less product/brand selection offered in the stores with the focus on the products that sell consistently, exclusive to their business with strong vendor support (like mass market).
Suppliers may find retailers ordering less, more often or discontinuing brands that do not bring value and sell at shelf level. Inventory management is vital to the success and profitability of a retail store so I understand why retailers have embraced and are focused on inventory management.
However, what I am noticing is more attention being given to managing inventory turns than given to training floor staff on how to sell, serve customers and merchandise. Of everything you do to influence your sales, number one must be customer service and number two is merchandising.
Hopefully as you continually improve the ability to manage each sku on the shelf, you are also making a similar – if not greater – effort to train the floor staff on exceptional customer service and merchandising or you just may find managing inventory becomes easier as you will not be selling as much.
Feelings, nothing more than feelings
The feeling a customer has when they walk out the door, hang up the phone, leave your website, visit your Facebook page, see your flyer, follow your tweets or Instagram determines whether they will come back to the store or follow your social media platforms.
Customer service is all about feeling. We remember some of what we hear or see, yet recall 100 per cent of how we feel after any family, social or business interaction.
Do people feel like doing business with you and if so, do they feel like coming back?
Watch for GMO ingredients
Meatless does not mean good for every body, human or planet! GMO farmers must be doing a happy dance as veganism sweeps the shelves of natural and conventional grocery stores.
The food marketers for these large food producers are creating packaging that looks natural, organic and sustainable but a further look at the label often reveals ingredients full of GMOs, high fructose corn syrup, canola oil, soy or sugar beet - the four main genetically engineered crops.
Watch for GMO ingredients
It is becoming harder for conscious consumers to choose non-GMO food, even in health food stores, as food suppliers with profit as the main driver, find ways to hide and mislabel products to keep consumers confused and uncertain of where their food is coming from.
Follow and support activist Rachel Parent (kidsrighttoknow.com;@RachelsNews), as she continues her mission to convince Health Canada to properly label foods containing genetically altered ingredients or the new CRISP-R technology.