Home » Bye-Bye Buying (A Grandfather’s Wisdom)

Bye-Bye Buying (A Grandfather’s Wisdom)

In 1951 my grandfather and founder of Toy House, Phil Conley, wrote his “Twenty-Two Important Retail Fundamentals”. I just uncovered them going through some old files.


It was amazing how many of them are still true today. Take, for example, number 18 which is appropriate as many of us start buying for the fourth quarter…

18. That weak departments dissipate their merchandising strength…

  1. By buying from too many manufacturers
  2. By buying from too many price lines
  3. By buying too many colors
  4. By buying too many sizes
  5. By buying too many materials
  6. By buying too many styles

All this adds up to bye-bye-volume and profit.

Powerful stuff. Stay true to who you are. Limit your customer’s choices. Give them the best options. Remove the clutter. Don’t over-buy.

In today’s retail climate we feel compelled to offer more and more because the Internet offers more. Yet, we will never be able to match the offerings of the Internet. Instead, the more we should be offering is more thoughtful choices, more carefully chosen products, more practical solutions, more intelligent offerings. We need to help our customers cut through the clutter by knowing everything that is out there and why we chose to sell these particular items.

There are already too many options causing analysis paralysis in our customers. Remove the options that don’t make sense and don’t fit your customer’s needs and your inventory will sparkle and shine just a little better than before. The only bye-bye’s will be when you help a customer carry her purchases to the car, usually followed by a Thank You!

-Phil Wrzesinski

PS Choices are good. Don’t get me wrong. Having options for different needs is also good. But the biggest way to eat up a chunk of your cash is to buy too many choices and too many options. Keep it down to a Good, Better, Best (or better yet a Best, Bester, Bestest) selection and your cash flow and profits will improve.

PPS Yeah, I’ll talk about a few others down the road. There are some really good nuggets in there, like this one…  7. That good basic stocks plus strong reorder numbers, plus realistic timing, plus selling – not order-taking – will increase volume and profit anytime.

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