Retail Paradigm Shift: Evaluate your Product Offerings

Last week we promised to cover store layout in greater detail. One of the most important elements of that, in our opinion, is what products you offer. This is going to determine how many displays you need and what kind of display methods you use. Once you have this nailed down, it’ll be much easier to lay out your store to make it more attractive to customers. Let’s use  a light fixture retailer for an example.

  • Signature items – These are the reason your store exists.  Everyone can go online and find the highest rated products in a category. Why would you carry anything but the best bang for the buck? If a few want something not on display, have a selection they can pay for in the store and have drop-shipped to their home.
  • Commodities – How many different kinds of sixty watt light bulbs are your customers interested in? The one that lasts the longest for the best price.  Become known for having true “bargains” and not a massive selection of things nobody really cares about anyway. You may have a selection of different switches, switch plates, pull chains, and so on. Just don’t get carried away and have repetitive commodities eat up valuable shelf space.
  • Cross-sells – Do you know a good electrician? Maybe you know someone who cleans and repairs hard-to-access fixtures. Strike up commonsense partnerships or hire installers if it makes sense. Just be sure your partners’ customer service standards are as high as yours. The best part of a partnership is that it doesn’t eat up your shelf space.

That being said, listen to your customers first! If the majority want a particular brand of something, carry it. You may think it’s an inferior product. Consider demonstrating the better one for the money, if it’s warranted. The most important consideration, though, is sales. Your opinion doesn’t matter if nobody wants a particular product.

Next week we’ll talk about store layouts.

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