Trade Show Season: How to select the right products for your retail range.

It is trade show season. Retail owners and buyers are visiting various exhibitions and events to identify products to merchandise in their stores in the coming months. Recently someone asked me the following question: “I’ve seen so many great new products, I can’t stock them all. How should I decide which products to include in the range to make sure we have what our customers want?”

And here is a summary of what I answered!

Do the new products match with your product / range strategy?

When considering listing a new product / range I recommend that retailers reflect on their company mission and who their ideal customer is. The retailers should ask themselves if the product is in line with their positioning and their product / range strategy. How do these new items meet their business objectives? If they simply loved a product, but can’t see how it fits in with their offer, then that should rule the product out immediately!

Is there enough space to effectively merchandise additional SKU Count, or, should other products be delisted?

Next, the retailer needs to think about the total number of items that they can merchandise in their store. If the new items are ideal for the offer, but there is not sufficient space to effectively merchandise them, it will be necessary to delist a less ideal product from the current range to make way for the new item.

There are further implications from this – the delisted item will need to sell through in time for the new item to replace it. If the stock level is high compared to the rate of sale then the weeks of cover calculation will show that there will be residual stock when the new item arrives. If so it may be necessary to reduce the price of the old item in order to clear the stock. The retailer needs to consider the impact that this will have on their margin. If the retailer does buy stock of new items whilst clearing down old items it will also be necessary to consider such things as how much stock commitment that will be. There will be both financial impacts (cash flow tied up) as well as physical impacts (where will you store it all).

What is the RRP for the new product and how does that fit in with the existing price architecture / price ladder?

Then, the retailer needs to consider pricing – what is the RRP for the new item? Where does it fit, in terms of price point, alongside the rest of the range?

If it doesn’t belong within the price architecture, or makes the price ladder confusing then it may mean that the retailer needs to rethink their overall pricing policy. If the retailer is absolutely certain it is an ideal product, then it may be more of an issue with their current range and pricing in totality.

Before adding new items to the range it is critical to consider the impact it will have on the rest of the items in the assortment – this was discussed in another blog, focused on price and assortment elasticity.

Buying, merchandising, range, space and stock planning processes are fundamental to successful retailing!

To be honest if left to my own devices I could probably turn this seemingly quite simple question into an entire book… (that isn’t me by the way!)

It touches on the buying, merchandising, range, space and stock planning processes that are fundamental to successful retailing (and all of my favourite topics!)

What a retailer presents on their shelves, and how they present it, is the outward representation of what that retail business stands for in the eyes of the consumer! Consumers will judge the retailer based on their products, price points, service levels and standard of visual merchandising.

In summary, as long as the retailer has considered the impact of adding new products, and the reasons why they are making changes to the range, then they will come to the best decision for their retail business and ultimately for their customer.

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About Clare Bailey

Clare Bailey, The Retail Champion (formerly Clare Rayner), is one of the most well-known and respected retail experts in the UK. With unrivalled knowledge in retail, high streets and consumer matters, she offers unbiased, independent content – whether engaged as a professional speaker, for broadcast media, or for a written feature. Clare is a business woman, entrepreneur and founder of several small businesses. Having been born into a family of successful business owners, it was inevitable that she’d eventually jump off the corporate treadmill and step out on her own! Today her brand portfolio includes The Retail Champion, The Retail Conference, the Future High Street Summit and the Support for Independent Retail campaign. In addition, she is co-founder of Mobaro Retail UK and a non-exec director of Beed Virtual Assistant Services. Having started her career as a fast-track store management trainee for McDonalds, she went on to work with leading retailers such as M&S, Dixons and Argos. She moved swiftly into management roles before being headhunted into senior consulting roles with global software giant SAP, and international management consulting brand, Accenture. Her corporate background in senior retail, consulting and technology roles, coupled with her experience of creating and running her own business, has enabled her to be equally capable whether consulting to global brands or micro businesses. This unique blend has not only positioned her as a leading expert in all things retail, but has enabled her to add meaningful commentary and insight to the debate around the future of the high street, and, how technology is driving fundamental change in the way consumers, and businesses, interact. Clare has become an influential voice in her field, which has resulted in her becoming a regular media contributor and sought-after conference speaker. Often seen on Good Morning Britain, BBC Breakfast, Sky News, and Chanel 5 (to name a few), Clare speaks on a myriad of retail, high street and consumer issues – but is particular adept when it comes to explaining the context behind retail trading results, newly released data, and government stats, in a palatable and informative manner. In addition to broadcast and conference speaking, Clare is the proud author of two best-selling business books published by Kogan Page - The Retail Champion: 10 Steps to Retail Success, published July 2012 and How to Sell to Retail: The Secrets of Getting Your Product to Market, published February 2013. She has provided contributions to various academic texts, including Retail Marketing Management (published by Pearson). With an engaging, conversational yet informative style, Clare writes for press and content agencies, providing features, articles, blogs and opinion pieces as well as contributions to white papers and reports. However, when the situation demands a more serious style, Clare can deliver - In 2016 she wrote an extensive report for a major insurance and risk law firm, as a retail expert witness, to support a public liability suit. She found that project particularly enjoyable as it played well to her strengths – assimilating large amounts of data and information, identifying the key points and articulating that in an understandable manner. When not on TV or speaking at conferences, Clare’s “day job” sees her supporting consumer-facing businesses through her consultancy services. When asked to describe what she most loves about retail consulting it is typically the opportunity to “dig deep”, getting “under the bonnet”, in order to leverage the business data to uncover the insights that lead to “lightbulb moments”. She also loves working on business change programmes that centre on improving the processes and systems to increase profitability by supporting more rapid, better informed decision making, improving the customer experience, or simply by become more efficient and streamlined. In this respect she considers herself a “business engineer” with a brain that works like a relational database! Due to her years of experience, her logical, objective approach, her quick, rational thinking, she is known for being able to cut through complexity, seeing right through to the crux of issues, finding creative solutions that others may have overlooked. As if all that wasn’t enough, Clare is a working mum, juggling a home life in rural Lincolnshire with her partner, their 5 kids, 4 cats, and geriatric Labrador! For all enquiries, contact Clare directly on 01727 238890 or email champion@retailchampion.co.uk.
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One Response to Trade Show Season: How to select the right products for your retail range.

  1. Pingback: You don’t just want footfall, you want the RIGHT kind of footfall | Clare Rayner: The Retail Champion

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