Simple Two-Step Plan for Success

Simple Two-Step Plan for Success

By Matt Pruitt

Given that we are in a soft retail market right now, some merchants have asked me if they should push back their fall receipts. The answer is absolutely not!

The retail world is taking a lot of markdowns right now, but it’s not just to clear out aging products. Our merchants are also taking promotional markdowns aimed at driving traffic into their stores.

Remember, we are not getting customers to come in just to buy discounted goods— we need them to buy full-priced goods to keep our margins up. The only way you can do this is by landing your new fall product on time. If you don’t, you won’t just lose margin, you will also lose volume.

Look at it as a simple two-step plan. Step one: mark down. Some merchants don’t like the idea of markdowns, but remember that markdowns are your friends and very valuable tools. They give you a reason to make noise, to reach out to your customers, and grab attention. Then you turn your markdowns into marketing dollars by following up with step two: tantalizing, new products. Shoppers come in for the markdowns but then they see items they just can’t resist at full price.

I know the market is flat right now and retailers are marking down all around you, but this doesn’t mean we are in dire straits. Sure, we are taking more markdowns than usual, but we do not have to take steeper markdowns than usual.

The markdowns are all about making noise and grabbing customers’ attention since there is some hesitancy to buy right now. But, this hesitancy can be overcome and our time-tested two-step plan of markdowns followed by new, full priced goods will work. So, stay on your receipt plan, stay positive and do some business.

Matt Pruitt is a retail consultant and data analyst at Blacks Retail. His expertise in vendor performance, point-of-sale analytics, and growth strategies has helped clients achieve and exceed their goals. He studied Business Management and Philosophy at the University of Massachusetts, Boston.

Contact him at or call (781) 325-6751.