Product assortment strategies

The Product Assortment. ‘The Crowning of the King’

‘The Product is King’ or so the old-adage goes.

It seems strange to doubt this statement. After all, retail is the process of bringing the product and the customer together. Product is still at the heart of retail, of course, but its role as ‘absolute king’ is changing. Whilst in some businesses it is still everything, in others it is just a part of a variety of services, collaborations and subscriptions that make up the commercial proposition. What the product ‘really’ is, now has a wide range of interpretations from the physical, the digital, to the virtual.

It is also worth considering, that there are plenty of physical products out there that are struggling to find any type of kingdom to rule at all. The ‘tarnish on the crown’ of the product is not just a result of lower demand. It also reflects and exposes how lackluster many products have become.

Generic product. More of the same. Enough is enough.

Selling generic products has become a fight to the bottom, where lowest price is often the only differentiator between retailers. In such brutal fights there is generally only one winner. For all other retailers, a range of more sophisticated product weapons needs to be employed to survive and to flourish.

As retail brands we need to build assortments that are distinctive and desirable. The products must reflect our vision and our values, our taste, and our aesthetics. The need to constantly evolve our assortments is a priority. In dynamic, disruptive markets it is essential.

Getting the basics correct is the constant task of the buying teams. Sadly, our shops are full of products that are unbuyable.

We need to enrich our product. We must embellish, enhance, and adorn our products to add value to them. Ultimately, our products must have an emotional connection with the customer, as much as a physical one. The glory must be restored to our product assortments.

Evolving best practice buying & merchandising

Attention needs to be paid across all the features, attributes, and design elements of a product to ensure that it meets the fundamental needs of the customer. A blouse with the wrong length sleeves, a container that is the wrong size for what it is designed to hold, are common examples of a culture of complacency where buyers go through the motions, and suppliers are paid to produce the least acceptable quality and features.

Planning a balanced commercial assortment, means considering different categories, and type of products. Products should play many roles for retailers from basic commodities, collections of essential and desirable products in the style of the season, to eye-catching image makers that set a brand apart from its competitors. For all types of product, basic mistakes and fundamental errors that create a barrier to sales must be eliminated.

Your ‘product assortment’ project…

If you want to start the ‘product assortment strategy’ ball rolling, please get in touch. I would be happy to share with you some typical project templates, schedules, costs, and case studies.

Please download our bespoke project overview…

Please get in touch to discuss further your particular needs.

In the meantime…

If you’d like to read my book first to understand where I’m coming from, then that’s an excellent idea.

How to be an Essential Retailer

It is hot off the press for 2022.

Available for sustainable POD (print on demand) through Amazon or any of the usual book retailers.

In the book you will find 75 action plans and 100 retail best practice insights. They may guide you in assessing your current weaknesses and opportunities.

I hope also that the sections on how to flourish in the ‘The life and times of the Essential Retailer’ how to evolve ‘Agile Organisations’ and excel in ‘Astute Strategies’ may also be a source of inspiration and guidance.

Please enjoy some extracts…

Meaning in the Retail Madness: How to be an Essential Retailer: Radley, Tim: 9781783242191: Books

Thank you for taking the time to get this far. It’s been my pleasure.

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