Podcast

Ep. 39 Tackling Fear Before Q4: Getting Rid of Stale Inventory

In this 3-part series from the Savvy Shopkeeper Retail Podcast, I’ll share my best advice for shopkeepers who are working through some common fears as we head into Q4. Check out parts two and three after reading this.

The fear of getting rid of inventory sitting in your store for way too long is common in retailers. I’ve seen this fear for years, with clients, group members, and through my conversations with shopkeepers.

I want to stress that sitting on old inventory is one of the worst things you can do in your retail business. It. Can. Break. You! It really can.

Worrying About Old Inventory Doesn’t Serve You

If you find yourself worrying about old inventory, it’s important to remember that worry only pretends to be useful. But worrying is NOT helpful. It just clutters your brain. I recently heard this on an older episode of Brooke Castillo’s podcast, which resonated with me. I worry a bit, and when I do, it feels heavy or even annoying. If you’re a big worrier, I can only imagine how that feels.

Why Shopkeepers Are Afraid of Tackling Old Inventory

There are five main reasons why shopkeepers are afraid of getting rid of stale inventory. Can you identify which ones are true for you? 

Perception

I’ve heard many shopkeepers say, “I’m not a discount store and don’t want to damage my brand by discounting items in my store.” 

Here’s my tough love response: you may not have a store if you don’t get the cash flow going.

Losing Potential Profit

You might say to yourself, “I paid for this merchandise to make a profit on it, what’s the point of discounting if I can’t 2x my investment?” 

It’s better to make something than to make nothing on an older item. If you have boxes of inventory in your storage room that didn’t sell, collecting dust, or maybe in a basement where it risks getting damaged, go ahead and generate SOME revenue on it before it’s a total loss.

And by the way, you shouldn’t have a blanket pricing method where you 2x everything in your store. Store owners in their first year or two don’t realize that you can sometimes 3x or 4x pricing, depending on the item!

Scarcity Money Mindset

This one digs a bit deeper into the emotional aspect of your inventory fear. If you live in “scarcity,” you might feel that there isn’t enough money to help support your dream.  Often this comes from your childhood, especially if you lived in poverty or had parents who said things like, “we don’t have the money for that.” 

The thought of “losing money” on your merchandise can be real, emotionally triggering, or very scary. I get it. But I want you to think abundantly. Maybe you can even shift your perspective. Instead of making this about you, perhaps you can think about how happy your customers will be when they get a deal!

Not Knowing How to Sell It

I sometimes think this one is just an excuse. Yep, I’m calling you out on this. 

Usually, the shopkeepers with a strong fear on this topic know they can get creative or see what others are doing to clear out old inventory, but fear keeps them from taking action.  Fear tells them that they are confused and they don’t know what to do. 

Fear of Going Live on Social Media

Shopkeepers will say, “I just want people to come into my store and shop,” or, “this isn’t about me,” or, “going live makes me nervous and I start sweating.”  

We’re in the middle of a pandemic. People can’t always come to your store! The times have changed, which means we need to change our strategies right along with them. 

Going live isn’t about you. It’s about YOUR store and YOUR customers. It’s also an incredibly effective way to move your old merchandise during this pandemic! 

And look, if anyone KNOWS the sweaty situation, it’s me. I joke often in Master Shopkeepers about perspiring when I go live. And I say that to soften the full-blown dripping sweat going on! 

No matter what reason you can come up with, I’m okay being the one to tell you: it’s time to go LIVE.  

If you’re a subscriber to The Shopkeepers Lab, you’ll find a lesson I recorded called “How to Host a Successful Clearance Sale on Facebook Live Without Comment Sold.” Comment Sold is a great tool, but if you aren’t going Live regularly, it probably isn’t worth the investment. 

How to Conquer Your Fears and Move That Inventory

Throughout this series, I’m going to talk about the six ways to overcome your business fears as they apply to the specific fear. Here’s how they apply to the fear of selling your old inventory. 

Identify Your Fears

Okay, you know who you are: you’re sitting on stale inventory right now, it’s in your store, it’s in your storage areas, it’s in boxes in your basement. I see you! And I want you to get it out like YESTERDAY. Recognizing that you’re afraid of tackling it is the first step. 

Realize That it’s Not All About You

Remember, what you do is provide VALUE to your customers. Don’t sit on that value! If you do, you are essentially sitting on your own hands and hurting yourself. Show up and provide the value your customers deserve. 

Determine the Worst-Case Scenarios

What’s the worst you can do?  Generate thousands of dollars to contribute to your cash flow…. WHAT?? Yep, this is possible.

Focus on Your Why

Your why is your customers. Beyond that, maybe it’s contributing to your household, supporting your family, or being the breadwinner. Find your why and hold it close so that you can…

Take Action

Start planning, whether it is a gradual markdown or a full-blown FB live sale event. Taking action is what your business needs.

Find Your Support System 

This is why I lead two communities: The Shopkeepers Lab and Master Shopkeepers. The encouragement and support of a shopkeeper community can be what you need to push through the fear, plus it’s a great way to get your questions answered. I’ve seen it firsthand, particularly in Master Shopkeepers!

Be sure to check out part two of this series about the fear of selling, and then part three about the fear of buying. Even though the world is changing rapidly, you can get over your fears and have a wildly successful quarter four. I’m cheering you on! 

Resources

Timestamps

  • [06:07] Worrying about old inventory doesn’t serve you
  • [07:45] Why shopkeepers are afraid of tackling old inventory
  • [08:21] Perception
  • [08:52] Losing potential profit
  • [10:29] Scarcity money mindset
  • [12:31] Not knowing how to sell it

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