Friday, August 31, 2012

Point of Sale Reports: Preparing for the Holiday Season

By: Jamie L. Novick of Next Step Retail Solutions  

Traditionally retail is seasonal, Spring begins in January, Summer in April, Fall in July and the Holiday season in October. Accordingly, receipts are planned and floors are set.  Yet, when we look at the numbers from each season, retailers are finding a larger and larger percentage of yearly sales are done in Q4 / Holiday.
In some cases more than half of a total year’s revenue will come from the last three months of the year.  In today’s marketplace Q4 can start as early as August. How you prepare for this make or break Q4 / holiday season as a retailer in today’s economy is more important than ever. Not only do you have to be priced right and merchandised beautifully, but the buying decisions you made 6-9 months ago need to count! You have a very limited amount time to sell product and you need to move it fast!

So, how do you prepare? Preparation starts in the reports. For the apparel and accessory retail clients we consult we impress upon them how imperative it is that they are aware of what reports are available from your POS systems. Clients need to know how their product, merchandising, pricing and overall store demographics are impacting sales. By running key POS reports that capture daily, weekly, monthly sales and the inventory by department, style, size and color levels you will be able to better manage your inventory and positively impact your current and future sales.

From a visual merchandising perspective, retailers often focus on making the new receipts the biggest focus. This is important but keep in mind you should also run reports that show what styles are doing the majority of your business and what styles are taking up most of your OTB (Open to Buy) dollars.

The traffic driven into your store during the holiday is a key time to move through older goods. Customers do not know the difference, for example, between a basic black top that is 1 day or 100 day’s old. Especially if you make the old look new by re-pricing and with smart merchandising.
You need to have an awareness down to the SKU level of what you have on hand in units and dollars as you enter this holiday season. The time to start pulling reports and strategizing about how you are going to merchandise all of your product new and old is now! My clients are amazed when we look at the bottom 25 styles not the top 25 styles. Best seller analysis is important but so is inventory analysis.
For help with your POS report interpretation or to discuss your merchandising strategies as you enter your most lucrative season please feel free to contact me.