Mix and Fix: Product Assortment (part 2)

Check out Part 1 of this article

Assortment and Product choice

Choice of assortment can break or make a particular brand. Consider a scenario where the product assortment is extensive. For example, if there are about 100 different varieties in a soft drink line, the customer would probably have a hard time picking a particular variety. This is a negative effect which increases the possibility of a customer ultimately not buying the product at all. These consequences affect most the customers who doesn’t have a well-defined preference or is open to experimentation. Thus, such consumers are more likely to purchase from a smaller display offering considerable difference between options available. However, if the consumer knows exactly what to buy and is not open to experimenting,

a small display and assortment would lead to deferral of purchase until the retailer stocks what the customer wants

or worst case would lead to the customer moving away to a different retailer in search of what he wants. This scenario requires a large assortment with attributes that cannot be aligned linearly. Getting the perfect balance between both the strategies is difficult but is the need of the hour to stay afloat.

Marketing Mix Variables and Assortment

Assortment strategies need a context. Marketing mix variables such as price, ambience in the store, location of the store, distance of the store from prime spots and region provide a much needed context in choosing the right mix. These variables are the key to increasing the profitability of the store as well as the product. One clear metric which can be used to decide a mix in the pricing. Having a competitor in close geographical proximity impacts the pricing decisions. Apart from the pricing, ambience also needs to be taken into consideration. A poor ambience is likely to drive the customer away even if the pricing is competitive. The most important metric of all is the targeting.

Retailers need to position themselves to target the right customer and differentiate them from the competition.

Another factor of paramount importance is the seasonal factor. This is especially the case for retailer selling clothes.

A dynamic strategy is required for having a balanced assortment in place.
Having a pulse on the market and constant analysis can lead to a sustained dynamic strategy. In addition, having an experienced staff trained on merchandising can be vital in affirming that the right assortment is in place, thereby increasing the sales effectively.


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