Range and space decisions regularly made by retailers are critical to meeting shopper demands, ensuring maximum return and driving repeat business by providing the right product in the right place at the right time.
Whether the store has a large or small footprint shoppers expect access to the latest on-trend products. The new product pipeline never stops flowing with the next “hot, must have” product surfacing prompting the question “so do I want or need to have this line as part of the range?
The rise of Hard Seltzers is a perfect example of how new trends can place pressure on existing fridge and shelf space.
Where do Hard Seltzers sit in the fridge? Next to the beer? In the ready to drink section or below the sparkling wine?
Whether the product is chilled or ambient there is finite space available and it is essential that every square foot of retail space delivers an acceptable return on investment.
So how do you manage this quandary?
Regular assessment of sales whether it’s units per store per week or dollar sales is a true and tested method of establishing the importance of each item in each category to identify your best sellers and importantly the tail of products who are not meeting your expectations.
Products that consistently perform, to or above expectations, become part of your core range.
Items that sit below an established benchmark can then be considered for deletion.
The caveat here is that there will be brands that have unique features or benefits that drive customer traffic, and these should continue to be ranged.
This type of approach takes personal preference out of the process.
Trade media, customer feedback, requests for a particular brand and understanding category trends all help make the decision “do I bring the new line into my range or not?”
Once a decision has been made to introduce a new product or products the next step is to review the tail of category items and look at which of these lines will be deleted to make room for new products.
It is not as simple as replacing the existing facings of the soon to be deleted lines. This approach can often lead to out of stocks and lost sales as demand has yet to be established.
This is where engagement with space planning is a pre-requisite for maximising retail space and ensuring continued on-shelf availability.
Shelf capacity and total category make up should determine where the new products should reside, how many facings should be dedicated to these new lines and position in relation to other category brands.
This simple process ensures that your range is constantly reviewed, aligns with contemporary trends and meets your customer needs.