Making room for signature items

26May11

Let’s say there’s a certain product that you’ve sold for years, maybe even decades. It’s timeless and classic, and people buy it regardless of the season or what might be trendy that year. Customers expect that they can walk into any of your stores or visit your website, and the signature item will be there. So, you make sure to always keep that product in your inventory.

Seems obvious, right? A recent experience of mine proved otherwise. I was shopping at one of the largest stores in a major chain, and they had eliminated virtually all of the inventory of a signature product. Apparently, their merchandising people thought it was more important to have 100 different variants of questionable summer styles, at the expense of carrying the products they’ve long been known for.

The result was predictable: I couldn’t buy the product I wanted. And I’m sure other customers ran into the same problem and ended up buying less than they intended to. So if you’re planning to shove your signature items aside in favor of some seasonal products, just remember that the opportunity cost of this decision may be greater than you bargained for.



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