On October 7th, I ran my first half marathon and it was a huge accomplishment.
Running requires persistence, patience, and hard work. You can’t train for a race in one day.
Runners are competitive. We want to run further and faster. But to do so we need the right equipment, training, and to put in the time.
Without these things, we can negatively impact both our short-term and long-term goals. Taking shortcuts won’t get you anywhere. This same rule of thumb applies to managing your inventory.
Here are the 3 lessons I learned from running my first half marathon that also apply to inventory management.
#1 Equipment Matters
As I began my long runs, my cross trainers were no longer cutting it. I’d end each run with blisters and knee pain – something had to change.
I started at RICS a few weeks into my training. With no running background, my new team taught me the value of gait analysis at a specialty running store and the importance of getting the right equipment.
I visited the Athletic Annex in Broad Ripple, IN and had a great experience purchasing my first pair of running shoes – New Balance 880s. I wore them that same afternoon for a 5-mile run and never looked back.
In retail, your equipment also makes a difference in performance. Having the right system to manage your inventory is crucial to your success. Without accurate data on unsold inventory and actionable reporting, you cannot improve. Just like specialty running retailers cringe at the thought of people running in bad shoes, we cringe at the thought of retailers lacking accurate inventory data and going unsupported.
#2 Training = Success
When I began training, I would run to wear myself out. I’d start each run with a goal of running at my fastest pace yet (*cringe*). I’d go the distance recommended in my Nike app and call it a day. Success = a new best time. I’ll admit that I didn’t know enough to train by myself, but I didn’t realize that until a month in.
Jason had me stop and walk to get my heart rate down and I explained my current training challenges. He recommended instead of doing my own thing to switch to the Hal Higdon training program. Jason’s advice and my new training program transformed my approach to each run.
For retailers, your software cannot be effective without training. Just installing an inventory solution doesn’t equal success.
Using reports and inventory metrics is challenging if you have little or no experience. That’s why it is important to have an onboarding and support team that help you achieve success.
Like proper race training, you must lean on your solution’s support team to guide you. Find a solution with a team that walks you through it and helps you reach your goals.
Here at RICS, I’m proud to say that our support team is able to help because of their experience. Just like me needing advice from an experienced runner, RICS’ support team provides guidance from experience. 3/4 of the RICS Support Team is made up of former RICS customers so they know what they’re doing.
#3 Hard work pays off!
Running 13.1 miles is not easy. If it were easy, then it wouldn’t be considered a challenge. When I crossed the finish line, I was exhausted. But a good exhausted. My hard work paid off and I accomplished something that I’d worked hard for.
As a retailer, you are also putting in hard work. You take the time to build a community base, manage a staff, and monitor your inventory performance. Keeping track of your business performance should feel like mini accomplishments over time.
Your inventory management solution should make putting in the work easier. You shouldn’t have to spend time working around problems in your POS. Find a solution with essential metrics on inventory performance, like product ROI, gross profit margin, and turn rate. Find a solution with real-time data that allows you to actively and accurately manage your store’s unsold inventory.