ABC in Louisville, Kentucky. Motivating Buying.
Once again, I am cursing at 35,000 feet on my way to Louisville, Kentucky with 2 of my collegues to yet another industry trade show. This ones focus is babies and toddlers, and should be pretty good. At this show last year, Gina and I secured distribution of the MamaRoo infant seat/swing for London Drugs. A really cool device if I say so myself. Because of just that one find, I am pretty stoked about this years show. I am anticipating some pretty cool finds for the London Drugs consumer for potentially Christmas and for sure into 2012.
At this time, I am also reflecting on a presentation that I did last week to the Greater Vancouver Food Executives. At that luncheon, I described my philosophy of buying and the approach that I use to try ensure that I am successful with my purchases for my employer. During my 40 minute pontification, I discussed my approach which is to look at the industry as a whole, try and understand what my competitors are doing and not doing, develop my strategies based on defining three key words; competition, being different and being non-conforming, and then trying to figure what our (London Drugs) consumer really wants, and then execute the vision based on an analysis of all of the above. The key focus being, I do what I think is best for LD and her consumers first, and foremost, and then we worry about what everyone else is doing, if in fact i worry at all. The key is to always know where you want to go, you drive the dream, not your competition.
During my reflections, I am also reading the newspapers. Talk about the next recession, talk about Greece and potential loan defaults, questions as to wherther Germany should get out of using the Euro, what is happening to RIM and the BlackBerry, where is the market going, consumer confidence is waining, and on and on and on…. Not much “nice” and or “positive” news as it were. The world and the economies thereof seem to be going to hell in a hand basket. People are trying to put on the “positive face” and wear the “positive outlook hat”, like that is going to help. Things are as they are and we are into some serious s#%t right now, and no magic bullit, and for sure no happy pill, is going to get us out. We are in for some really tough decisions, and we are going to have the fortitude and courage to make them.
So I sit back and start to think; I am going to a baby show, a rather interesting baby show in that it is full of excesses, in an economy and world that appears to be rather bleak and on the brink of economic and political collapse, and I am an employee in retail: should I just open the emergency exit now and just jump now!!! WTF (yes I do mean Why The Face)!!!
How do you find a light at the end of this tunnel as a retail buyer? What do you do to try and make sure you survive? Are there any tricks? Is wishful thinking going to work?
I have talked about some of this in other posts, but It will always come back to the same things; hard work, determination, confidence in yourself and your decison making abilities, a clear vision, and a little good luck can go a long ways. You gotta stick to your guns and go; but don’t be afraid to evaluate and re-evaluate as you go. No one makes all the right decisions all of the time. Thats not reality.
The only way to win in today’s world is understanding the playing field and finding a way to be different so that you can compete. Shows like this one, presentations like the other day, and yes, even crappy news, can actual motivate you to do better, and to really try and differentiate yourself from others. You will never win unless you find that spot to play in that others seem to miss. And most importantly, always remember, no matter how bad it seems, there is always a play, and there is always a way.
I am very excited about this upcoming show and what it will offer. I know that as long as Gina and I stay focussed and determined, we will find stuff to buy that will work, no matter how bleak things appear to be. We will find stuff for LD that will be a bit unique and will succeed.
Stay tuned, as over the next couple of months I know I will be writing reviews about some of the cool and successful items that we are going to find at this show or we will be talking about some cool new directions that will be a result of attending this show.
Ciao for now @kootenayborn.