Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Adding to your product mix – before, during, and after you commit to selling niche products

Continuing our discussion from last time, once you have your list of potential niche products what is your next step? Pretest your ideas with a group of customers and ask them if the idea appeals. Next, trial a few of the goods. If you’d like to sell lamps, display a few in a prominent location where customers will notice them. Don’t forget that your promotional efforts will need to be bumped up a little – if you carry new products, let the community know that you now carry something a bit out of the ordinary.

Now, do customers take notice of the lamps, or whatever else you decided to carry, and do they purchase them? It may take some trial and error and certainly you don’t want to make the decision to delete a new product based on a few reactions. Instead, develop a promotional strategy where the lamps are positioned as a nice addition to what you already sell. Show the lamps in use. In the store, create a small vignette that mimics a sitting room where the lamps are turned on. In advertising, whether in print or online, use visuals, too. Often times consumers need to see how the product is used in situations before they can envision how they will use it themselves.

As you work through the seasons and focus on your niche product – keep track of the outcomes of all your efforts. Have you seen an increase in foot traffic (consumers who visit your store) because of the specific ad you created using the lamps? Once at the store, do customers purchase them? These and other metrics that you use to judge promotion and product success should be considered when you either decide to add more lamp options or choose to go another path with niche goods.

Only you will be able to truly determine what new products will work for your business So, what will “fit” your store, what could you provide that would differentiate your business from others in the area, and how are you going to proceed after the new product is a success?

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