INSIGHTS

The Power of Incorporating Multiple Categories of Inventory into Your Store Assortment

by

The
success of your retail store depends on the quality of your inventory selection.
Choosing products that appeal to your target consumer demographic is a key
component of any successful merchant. All too often, however, retailers
hesitate to branch out into new inventory categories out of fear of failure. Yet
consistently re-evaluating your inventory assortment is among the most
important way to stay relevant in today’s highly competitive retail environment.
This process is even more effective when you invite customers to be part of the
conversation.

Determining
what inventory to carry in your store can be complex yet exciting. New products
are an essential strategy to give your customers a shopping experience they’ll
remember… as well as want to return to. Keeping this in mind, let’s explore how
you can choose and market new inventory categories for your target customers.

Choosing New Products

While data can help determine
what inventory items to re-order and which product categories sell best for
your store, it’s also nice to take a holistic approach to evaluating new
inventory categories for your business. In fact, the
Harvard Business Review reports, “plenty of software tools claim to support
assortment planning by helping retailers decide which combination of products
will maximize sales. But with very few exceptions, they lack the ability to
forecast demand for new products or to estimate how much demand would transfer
to other products if a slow seller were dropped.” Because of this, exploring
products at tradeshows is among the best way to keep your store relevant in
today’s busy consumer marketplace. Very simply, firsthand experiences that
allow you to experience new inventory can help you identify what is best for
your target consumer audience.

Starting a Conversation

While
technology will undoubtedly be an asset to retailers as time moves forward,
there are advantages to going back-to-the-basics when it comes to selecting
inventory for your store. To help do this, make ongoing conversations with your
customers a priority to help identify what products are best for your unique
retail biz. One-on-one interactions between your sales staff and customers will
always add value to your analysis of what inventory you should sell in your
store,  as well as utilizing technology to
gather customer feedback can benefit your store, as well. Among the ways to do
this include:
 

·     
Sending
customer surveys via email blasts

·     
Texting
customers a link to follow-up on each purchase

·     
Using
the most common search terms from your website to evaluate potential inventory

·     
Engaging
in Instagram polls, Twitter chats and Facebook discussions

·     
Doing
competitor research… and more!

Remember, inviting
your customers to take part in conversations about your store and the inventory
you sell generates loyalty by making your customers feel
personally invested in the success of your business.

Displaying Your Products

One of the
most important things to keep in mind when testing out a new inventory category
is that your product displays are a big factor in whether or not your
investment in new inventory is successful. In theory your inventory should be
dynamic and eye-catching enough to stand alone – but let’s face it, that is not
always reality. Even the most exciting products can easily get buried within a
store environment if not given the proper display attention. Consider
cross-merchandising new inventory in an effort to showcase these items in more
than one store location, as well as incorporate routine merchandising updates
to make sure your inventory never becomes stale within your store environment.
These efforts can also bring clarity to how quickly – or slowly – inventory
moves based on store location. 

Committing to the Category

Once
you’ve done the necessary research and talked to your customers about what they
want to see in your store, fully commit to displaying and marketing your newest
inventory category. This means creating eye-catching displays, sharing photos
of your products on social media, emailing your customers an announcement and
sharing any information you have about how the products were sourced. To gain
more inspiration, attend NY NOW where you can discover delightfully unexpected quality
products with fantastic backstories to help facilitate your retail revamp.