Buying Schedule for Retailers
Talk about a hot topic in the Savvy Shopkeepers Facebook Group!
What better way to address a popular topic than to blog about it?
When we opened our home decor boutique in 2015 we had NO experience with buying. Heck, we (me and my sister) didn’t have retail experience at all.
That’s the truth.
So as bootstrapping, DIY, learn-as-you-go entrepreneurs, we did the best we could… we winged it!
Here are the phases we experienced with buying as we grew and learned:
Phase 1 – Wing it:
When we decided to open a brick and mortar home decor store, The Salvaged Boutique, we envisioned an eclectic yet curated collection of home decor accessories.
We’re furniture refurbishers so we had plenty of large furniture pieces to display and sell – dressers, cabinets, nightstands, end tables, etc. And because we had been selling vintage items on Etsy for two years prior, we had plenty of vintage wares to sell too. But we wanted to incorporate some new home decor accessories.
By doing some research online we found a few new home decor wholesalers. We placed a few orders based on what we thought our customers would like and did our best at guessing how much we would need. Somehow it worked out.
Phase 2 – Order-as-needed:
After our grand opening, we spent the next two years placing orders as we needed, continuously trying to find new distributors to order from, but the demand for more new home decor accessories and gift items was growing.
Spending hours on a laptop computer sourcing and ordering became time-consuming and frustrating. We determined that our ordering process was NOT an efficient use of time and our vendor options were limiting.
Phase 3 – Plan a Buying Trip:
Fast forward to the start of year 3 and we decided to it was time to level-up. We booked a trip to AmericasMart in Atlanta. It was time to create a full year buying budget. We took a look at some of our point-of-sale analytics and came up with a game plan for ordering a full year with merchandise!
I understand that not everyone who owns a shop may be in the position to pay for a trip to AmericasMart Atlanta. It took us 2 years.
But the question that’s been asked on several occasions in the Savvy Shopkeepers Facebook Group:
When is the right time to order for each season?
This is what we have learned…
HOME DECOR & GIFT ITEMS BUYING SCHEDULE:
- December/January: Order Valentine’s Day & Spring items
- February/March, Order gifts for Moms, Dads, and Grads
- April/May: Order Summer and 4th of July items
- June/July/August: Order Fall and Christmas*
- September/October/November: Replenish/Order more Christmas & order New Year items
*Note: Many wholesalers suggest ordering Christmas items as soon as the beginning of the year because many holiday items sell out if you order after Summer
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Of course, you can tweak this but use it as a general guideline if you’re ordering throughout the year – it’s a great start. I wish someone would have shared this with us when we first started!
UPDATE: We now order a full year of merchandise when we visit AmericasMart in January each year.
If you’re looking for more information on how to tackle AmericasMart for the first time, click here for a free 5-part email series filled with information about how to plan, navigate and stay organized when you go to AmericasMart.