Retail Inventory: The Necessary Evil
With many small retailers watching their cash flow more closely than ever, managing inventory has been more challenging than usual. Many retailers I speak with are finding themselves carrying less inventory than they're accustomed to, with varying degrees of comfort. Some are feeling a bit naked, and worry their customers won't find what they want, or worse, think they're going out of business. But others are actually quite happy with less inventory, relieved that they no longer have that nagging feeling that they're carrying a lot of under-performing stock, and even finding that running leaner is leading to a higher sense of urgency among their customers.
I've always believed that inventory is a necessary evil of being a small retailer. If you could figure out a way to service your customers and grow your business without any inventory, would you? Of course! Why would you spend your money on inventory if you could grow your business without it? You could spend your money on advertising and promotions, or perhaps on opening new stores, or any number of other things that would help you increase sales and decrease costs. So one way to think of your inventory investment right now is to ask yourself how you can thrill your customers and grow your business while carrying less inventory than you've been used to carrying in the past.