A dilemma facing all retailers is deciding what range of inventory to carry.
Carry too little and the consumers may be limited in choice and are just as likely to walk from the store without making a purchase. Conversely, if the range is too great the cost and burden on the retailer can become crippling.
Furthermore, online retailing has widened the consumer choice, with an ability to quickly search hundreds of brands and suppliers at will. NineMSN recently reported that Paypal’s takings over the Christmas spree was the largest ever, confirming that traditional retailers face increased competition (http://finance.ninemsn.com.au/newsbusiness/aap/8401486/xmas-biggest-ever-online-spree-paypal).
In short, retailers must remain constantly vigilant and innovative in respect to Merchandise Planning and Range/Category management.
Here are 8 ideas to help retailers manage range and categories:
1) Establish a clear retail strategy and focused business plan. Stick to the plan and ensure your inventory reflects your brand or niche.
2) Bricks and Mortar retailers need to gain an online presence.
3) Analyse sales and determine fast selling items; look for similar or related goods.
4) Monitor stock-turn-ratios and minimise the stock-on-hand levels for slow moving goods.
5) Survey consumers and assess their buying interests.
6) Conduct online research, join forums or social sites and learn about what your consumers want.
7) Run promotions.
8 ) Provide an easy-to-use, advance-order-process that enables consumers to order items not currently in stock.