Sunday, August 16, 2009

Sitting Here at the Kitchen Table, Reordering Cards

When we opened the store, I had dreams of tracking two kinds of SKU's that we didn't scan at Schwartz.

The first was magazines, which we have done successfully. For some reason, we're not tracking newspapers, but we really don't sell that many.

The only problem with magazines is that I have at least one bookseller who occasionally rings through purchases in the old way. It is throwing off our inventory and it has to be fixed. Unfortunately, none of my staff seems to think they are doing it. I'll have to play detective, and I'll let you know if I ever figure out the answer.

The second was cards, and on that idea, I was overruled. You'd think the owner would get free reign on this kind of thing, but alas not.

We decided to not go with a racker, which Schwartz did generally. It's more work this way, but you can control the cards better in terms of quality (less clunkers) and quantity (the inventory is substantially lower). On the other hand, with the rack program, you generally get returnability. But you have to commit to a lot of space, and honestly, we have a nice-sized-but-not-huge card section that we don't want to tie up with one vendor. We took the advice of Schwartz gift buyer Catherine and went rackerless and it's working ok so far. Thanks, Catherine!

So we reorder using backers (that thing that says, "You've just sold out of card #123. Please reorder!" I don't know if this is actually what you call them, by the way.) This works well, but since some card companies provide backers, and other don't, we often have to make our own. And if someone puts a card back in the wrong place, we might reorder a card we still have. The photo attached is of a bunch of Madison Park backers, which I am reordering at home on a spread sheet.

The biggest problem is finding cards for certain occasions, especially the way we laid our the four areas. We're short on "new home" for example. We've chosen to avoid relative-specific cards (son, grandma), some of which we're still sitting on from Schwartz (remember, we bought the inventory). And we don't know what occasions our customers are looking for that they can't find. Someday I'll have that suggestion box!

Sometimes we run out of envelopes but still have cards leftover. This is sometimes from a customer taking a different envelope than the one that goes with the card (I'm just letting you know folks, that when you do this, we wind up with cards and envelopes that don't match). But the really icky thing that I'm told happens (I'm new to this) is that people sometimes steal envelopes for their homemade cards.

Ewwww. Stealing my envelopes is still stealing. You should be ashamed.

And just a reminder, Paperwork across the street sells envelopes in lots of different colors. Hold your head high and buy your envelopes across the street. You'll feel better about yourself.

1 comment:

miki said...

Hi,

I work for a greeting card company, and I just came across your post. I so totally agree with you about stealing envelopes. Every time I work my store, and more often around holidays, I discover pockets of cards with the envelopes taken. This is wrong in so many ways. 1. It's stealing, and stealing is wrong. (No matter how you kid yourself.) 2. This hurts the card company's profit margin. They have to pay for the envelope, and also the time it takes for me to replace it. 3. This hurts the store's profit margin. People won't buy a card if they can't find an envelope. 4. This inconveniences so many people. Would you believe, they steal from the Sympathy section? People who already have enough on their minds, have to find a matching envelope? 5. I am given a limited time, and very little money, to work a store. They are taking my valuable time.

Thanks for the rant time.

Michele