Friday, October 15, 2010

How does your product offering grow?

As a retailer your options for products you sell can be immense - whether you are an established business owner or an entrepreneur putting your business plan together. What is the best way to add new goods and value-added processed products to the mix and how do you determine what to discontinue? Today’s retailer may be a little less traditional than in the past. Florists offer wine tastings and wines for sale, winery tasting rooms offer bath and body products, and garden centers offer value-added processed food products. There are no bounds as to what a retailer could offer as long as it makes sense for the overall business mission.

What does this mean exactly? Well instead of considering what makes sense to sell in a traditional florist or garden center – consider what makes sense for your target customer or that complements your core product? Several options, whether goods or services, could be considered – the key is to make sure that the “niche” idea “fits” with what you want to convey to your customer. For example, gardeners who shop at a garden center or nursery may enjoy other outdoor hobbies and activities. Might products suited for birding appeal to clientele? Consumers who visit florists might look for goods to decorate their homes. Would dinnerware, decorative clocks, or linens be appropriate for the store?

Take care in selecting products that may not be available at other local stores. It would be in your best interest to carry something that will differentiate your business from your competitors. So, do a little shopping yourself. If you are considering adding ornaments to your mix – what brand could you sell that you think “fits” and that customers cannot get elsewhere in the local community? Or, when you travel, check out a few progressive retailers and evaluate the non-traditional goods they carry. As you look around, watch customers – do they notice the products, do they pick them up, do they purchase them? Develop some criteria that you will use to determine what niche products to sell.

Stay tuned until next time when we talk about the next steps for growing your product offering.

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