Join RICS and RMSA as they talk open to buy planning for retail. Watch this free webinar to learn how to create a better buying plan for your business. You can find our additional webinars by clicking here or check out our Youtube playlist. [vc_row bottom_padding=”40″][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text]See if your state is having a sales tax holiday so you are aware of what you can save on and prepare your retail store for the influx of shoppers.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][minti_image img=”4854″ lightbox=”2″ url=”/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/Infographic-Tax-Free-Weekend-2017.pdf”][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Reasons You Should Mark Down Products

  1. Overstocked If you’ve got too many items from the holiday season, you’ve overbooked on a new supplier that isn’t panning out, or you simply want to bring new product and spice the store up a bit, it may be time to markdown product.
  2. Poor Sales Head on over to RICS reporting and run the worst sellers report. This report will show you some of your top worst sellers in your store. It may be time to mark some of those down.
  3. Core Product Changes Do you have a new core product leader in your store? Is there a supplier that you’re ready to phase out? These could be good reasons to put a few items over to the markdown rack.

Ways to Mark Down Products in RICS

  1. Group or Supplier Discounts (Inventory:: Stock Maintenance:: Enter Price Discounts ) This method is the best way to markdown products across the entire store, an entire class, or supplier. RICS allows you to mark down theses products based on a group or category that they fall under. It could be a certain supplier, class, custom entry, etc.
  2. Large, Unassociated Groups of SKUs (System:: Import:: Universal Imports) Using the Universal Imports page, you can import products that you’d like to update the markdown price. Using the Price template, RICS allows for you to enter the markdown price for SKUs through the universal imports functionality. This method is the most efficient way for “excel wizards” or if you’ve got a large list of random SKUs.
  3. Single, Manual Discounts (Setup:: Manage SKUs) If you’ve only got a handful of SKUs (less than 20) that you want to markdown, the fast way to mark these items down will probably be the old fashion way. Navigate to the Manage SKU page and enter in the markdown price for the SKUs. You’ll still have the ability to set the markdown date range (if its only for a limited time), but it will be the most efficient way if you’re working with 20 or fewer SKUS.
For additional markdown best practices, check out this guide! As a software engineer, I often find myself thinking about the world around us, and, of course, the technology that has gone into making our world what it is. You see, being a software engineer doesn’t just mean that I write software, it means that I engineer software and solutions for our customers. So, naturally, my thoughts gravitate toward not only technology, but engineering in general. For example, I’m sitting here enjoying a bowl of granola (it’s a breakfast meeting), and a cup of coffee. I look at the granola and think, “Somewhere, some nutritionist, chef, and probably someone with a title like ‘food engineer’ designed and tested the granola recipe. They decided the ratio of oats to almonds, what flavoring to add, etc. And someone designed that plastic spoon I’m using to eat the granola. Someone decided that it should have those little ridges on the bottom edge of the handle, probably to provide some structural strength so it doesn’t break easily…” If you’ve read this far, you’re probably wondering “What in the world does this have to do with RICS, and retail POS software?” In short – everything. My background is as a software developer, not in retail operations. I’ve certainly bought shoes before, many times, from all sorts of retailers – from big box stores, to shoe chains, to specialty stores. But I never really thought about how all of that process works – until I came to RICS. Since starting at RICS approximately 6 months ago, though, I’ve come to learn about a whole new world “under the covers” that I never had any exposure to – payment processing, inventory management, product cataloguing, retail financial reconciliation… Throughout my career, I’ve had many such experiences learning about the “iceberg” that’s under the water, on so many things we take for granted and simply don’t think about – everything from used car dealer inventory financing, to custom manufacturing, to university and municipal parking management, to insurance annuities. Software developers call all that information “business requirements” – the “what should it do?” of the systems we create. A lot of software developers view those as just the least interesting part of the job – a necessity, to be sure, but really just an excuse to create cool technology. At RICS, though, we’ve been very fortunate to build a team that, like I do, shares an interest and curiosity in learning about the business, and retail operations, so that we aren’t just creating cool technology, but useful technology for you, the customer. In other words, here at RICS, we don’t want to just know “what it needs to do” – we want to know the why and the how – so that we can make the technology to do “it” even better. And we’ll continue to do so. It’s getting close to the most wonderful time of the year! With Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday, etc. there will be tons of deals going on! However, as you finish up the end of the year, don’t let your end of the year physical inventory slip your mind. Starting the new year out on the right foot with clean, on-hand inventory numbers can be almost as important as getting those final holiday sales off of the shelf. Having accurate on-hand inventory numbers will help with accurate ordering and precise accounting. Your financial advisor, accountant, and wallet will thank you! If you consider your inventory as piles of money sitting on your shelves, you’d want to make sure you can account for every dime! In order to perform a physical inventory, you’ll need to determine your method of counting. Options include, by hand on pen and paper, scanning items with a laptop and the scanner from your register, or using a portable data reader (you can find that here: shop-rics.com). Once you’ve determined your method of counting, you can begin entering that information into RICS under the Physical Inventory section. The physical inventory process in RICS helps you account for potential missed items. RICS has a View Physical Counts report, Items Not Counted report, Enter Zero Counts section, and a Variance report. These reports will help ensure you’ve captured and counted all of the products in your organization. For more details on the entire process, you can visit our RICS Knowledge Base. If you need assistance during this process, RICS support is available 9 am – 9 pm EST, 7 days a week. View the message center on your RICS back office for the Holiday schedule. Join RICS experts, Jimmy Richburg and Brett Mcgrath, as they talk customer loyalty for retail. Watch this free webinar to learn how to increase sales through customer loyalty. You can find our additional webinars by clicking here or check out our Youtube playlist. We have all been there. You sit down to accomplish a task and just as you get into it, you discover you don’t have the information you need to effectively complete it. Often times in retail not having the whole picture can be frustrating and costly, especially as it relates to buying. This area of your business can make or break you. Trying to place buys on the fly can tie up one to buy dollars and result in less profits. Having a robust inventory management system for your retail business is key to effective buying. The right inventory management system can lower inventory costs and increase revenue. Inventory management is more than on-hands and sales. Every system collects data, but not every system can crystalize the data in a meaningful way that allows you to easily and quickly make important business decisions. The buying process is a key beneficiary of having great data. Running reports with your data offers a full picture of where your dollars are allocated. Seeing sales, on-hands, on-order, and futures all in one view is powerful. When you sit down to put together your next buy ask yourself, am I really using my open to buy dollars wisely? If the answer is no, then consider investing in a inventory management system and stop making buys on a hunch. [vc_row bottom_padding=”40″][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text]As a retailer, getting customers into your store is incredibly important for moving inventory. But getting them there is only half the battle. Once shoppers enter your store there are several factors that could keep them from making a purchase, including your store layout. Follow along with our infographic to create the perfect store layout for your in-store customers.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][minti_headline type=”h2″]The store layout of your dreams 🤩👇[/minti_headline][minti_image img=”15771″ lightbox=”2″ url=”/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/Infographic-Perfecting-Your-Store-Layout.pdf”][/vc_column][/vc_row] [vc_row bottom_padding=”40″][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text]Understanding all aspects of your inventory is essential to run a successful retail business. We have compiled a list, from A to Z, of everything you need to know about your inventory![/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][minti_image img=”3230″ lightbox=”2″ url=”/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/Infographic-Tax-Free-Weekend-2017.pdf”][/vc_column][/vc_row] When evaluating RICS as your potential inventory management solution, one area not to overlook is the four service level tiers that are currently offered. RICS offers a Limited, Standard, Professional, and Elite level of service that are all options available to every RICS client. Without getting into the details of each service level offering, I want to highlight the role of the Account Manager that comes into play when a client signs up to take advantage of the Professional or Elite service packages that RICS offers. When a RICS client signs up for the Professional or Elite package, the client will gain access to a single point of contact to help guide them through the transition process of moving over to RICS. A single point of contact can be essential as we have often found that our biggest competitor in the inventory management market is not Company X or Company Z, but rather the fear of change. A RICS Account Manager can help ease that fear of change through the strategic process created by RICS Executive team. This strategic process begins with an introductory call as soon as the clients sign up to the Professional or Elite Level. From there, the clients enters the onboarding process in which the Account Manager will be a part of each training session, again allowing for a single point of contact to document, understand, and address any concerns that come up as the organization transitions to using RICS. Furthermore, during your transition, the RICS Account Manager will have eight strategic checkpoints to help further educate and discuss best practices for the client to understand and potentially implement as their go-live date approaches. Once live with RICS, the RICS Account Manager will continue monthly checkpoints, offering additional strategic tips and tricks on how to get the most out of your RICS system. This Professional or Elite level of service comes to the client in addition to our RICS Standard level of support, currently offered 9:00 am – 9:00 pm EST. This additional line of support is valuable because the RICS Account Manger can help escalate enhancements or issues and provide a more in-depth understanding of current symptoms your organization could be experiencing. After using RICS for a few months is great time to review some of the current processes in place with your account manager. Whether you are a brand new store using the RICS system or you’ve been around for 30 years and have just recently made the transition, it is always beneficial to review current processes with the RICS Account Manager (e.g. Frequent Buyer Program, Mailing Lists, Customer Information Gathering, etc.). Reviewing these processes can allow for greater efficiency inside your organization that can enable you to become more profitable. RICS is a tool that enables retailers to manage their inventory in an efficient way that allows them to save time and money and become more profitable. With the assistance of a RICS Account Manager, the value of RICS can be realized faster than our Limited or Standard service offerings. Want to learn more? Visit www.ricssoftware.com or give us a call at 800.654.3123. When you own or manage a small business you have to be on your toes at all times. It’s go-time from the time you get in, to the time you leave (and sometimes at home after you thought you were done for the day). Orders coming in, sales coming up, employees with questions, and bills to be paid. Being “on” can be exhausting, and though it may be counter-intuitive, slowing down can really grow your business. Take a breath, take a step back, and look at your store(s) from a new perspective… Run a report you haven’t run in a while. RICS has some great reports to run when you’re in the analytical mood. What’s the old saying? “Retail is detail?” Well, you know where the detail is: Product, Price, Place, and Promotion. Let’s run a report on Product:
The Best Sellers Report includes the best or worst selling SKUs ranked by quantity sold, dollars sold, dollars profit, ROI%, Turns, On Hand Inventory Value, or sell-thru percentage. Run this report zeroing in on Worst Sellers and you may see a product that’s marked up too high, not featured enough in it’s section, or has aged out of style.
What about Price?
Pick a class to filter by in your Price List Report and take a closer look. Are there items that you can create signage to demonstrate value to potential customers? Your price versus the competition perhaps? Or, your price combined with a Frequent Buyer Program = Value!
If you have more than one store you can really get into the nitty gritty and make some strategic moves. You see on the Bestseller Report that Shoe A is flying off the shelves at Store 100, but at Store 200, they’re not moving the product. Is it worth Transfer some stock from one Place to another? Maybe you have a salesperson who is really good at promoting and selling that particular shoe. Find out with the Salesperson Summary and filter by that SKU. Find out how that employee is promoting the shoe and get others to do the same. RICS is a data powerhouse, and the reports available can really help you make good business decisions. So, slow down! Grab a glass of lemonade, sit back and explore RICS Reports. Want to learn more about how you can use RICS to grow your business? Click here to schedule a demo. So you just evaluated the last month of sales and it was a great month, but why? Do you have systems and processes in place to repeat your successes? Are you trying to get off the up-and-down roller coaster of sales? Using technology to implement and execute systems and processes within your business will help smooth out the ride. Systems and processes, what do they look like? These can be simple things that help make your daily business life more consistent and repeatable. For example, providing weekly sales and inventory numbers to your managers at the same time every week to avoid delaying this information, which affects their job performance and makes them less effective. Until you provide them with this information, they are unable to make the necessary adjustments to labor, ordering, etc. that can make a difference in your business. Having a point of sale and inventory control system to track and analyze this information can drastically increase your success rate and help you repeat results. A POS and inventory control system can help with consistent analysis, information dissemination, and can allow for needed adjustments that can lower costs and increase revenue. With systems and processes in place, your business becomes scaleable and the transferring of knowledge is possible and effective. Request a demo and see how RICS can help you consistently repeat success. RICS offers multiple ways to save time on the reports that you need to run in your store. There’s a variety of predefined reports that you can run that will give you the majority of the information that you would need for your store. That being said, we don’t always have the exact report that you are looking for and, in these cases, there are a multitude of additional options that can be toggled in reports to view the information you’re looking for. It can be difficult to keep track of which options need to be selected when both an inventory valuation and viewing SKUs with markdowns start from the same Stock Status report. To help with this, RICS allows you to save the reports that you plan on running again. Give your report a descriptive name, such as “Inventory Valuation,” and use the Save Report button at the bottom of the reporting page. Then, when you wish to run this report again, you can use the LookUp tool at the top of the reporting page to find this report and run it again with the exact same criteria selected. This will help save time with common reports and save frustration with less frequently used reports. To make groups of reports that you often run together more manageable, RICS allows you to save groups of reports into a batch so you can quickly run them all at the click of a button. Once you’ve saved your reports, you can then add them to a batch in the Manage Batch screen in reporting. Here you’ll create a new batch name, such as “Month’s End,” and add any reports to this batch that you would run at the end of each month. When the time comes to run your monthly reports, you’ll go to the Run Batch Reports page and run the “Month’s End” batch. This will queue and run all of the reports that you’ve added to this batch with no additional configuration necessary. Have additional questions on reporting? Check out our Reporting Best Practices Guide. You may ask yourself, “what is the difference between working in your business and working on your business?” When you work in your business you are typically filling a role or position in the daily activities of the business operation, i.e. cashier, sales person, accountant, buyer, etc. You fill your day with activities that are position-focused. Working on your business is when you are able to look at the big picture and remove yourself from the day-to-day operations and focus on the business as a whole. When you work on your business, you are analyzing past performance and identifying trends and evaluating new strategies to help the business run more efficiently. You are able to investigate ways to lower costs and increase revenue. You are able to do the things that allow you to build a sustainable business. There are things you can do to help you work on the business more: Technology like a POS and inventory control system can substantially increase your ability to analyze your business performance and make better decisions. Check out our resource How to Choose a POS for more information about using technology to your advantage. Start today and work on your business more than you work in your business. You will be amazed with the results and how much you can effect positive change. It’s no secret: RICS provides a LOT of reports for you to analyze what’s working in your store, and what isn’t. Want to identify which SKUs haven’t sold any units in the past six months? There’s a report for that. Want to analyze the effectiveness of a promotion? There’s a report for that. Want to figure out who took your lunch from the break room refrigerator? Sorry we don’t have a report for that. (I mean, come on.) But we can earn you money by identifying missed sales opportunities due to lack of stock, and I’d argue that’s just as satisfying as nabbing the lunch thief. The point is, RICS offers a wide variety of opportunities for you to utilize your business’s data to make better, more profitable decisions. Sometimes, though, it’s hard to know exactly where to start, so we’re here to help. Here are three of our recommended weekly goals that you should be analyzing, and the reports that will get you the data you need:

1.  Compare this week’s store sales to this week’s sales from last year

This allows you to measure your performance using the same time period from last year as a benchmark. How to do it:

2. Assess salesperson performance

This enables you to recognize your top employees and coach stragglers.

3. Analyze markdowns, returns, refunds, and voids

So I know this post promises three weekly reports, but this is one you should really be running every day if you want the most accurate snapshot of your business. It enables you to evaluate unauthorized markdowns, returns, refunds, and voids. Do it weekly at a minimum, but we encourage you to look over these numbers on a daily basis. Here’s how: Next steps: These reports provide you with the data you need to execute your business goals. Want to learn more about reporting? Download the Reporting Best Practices guide from the RICS Help Center.