Some people try and make merchandising into a scientific equation. You add this, subtract that, change this and Preso!, you have a successful merchandising strategy. Unfortunately, merchandising does not work that way and if your merchandise sourcing app mirrors a strategy that does, it will leave you and your customers wanting.
Here are the reasons why merchandising is more of an art than a math problem.
Products and Presentation Must Meet Customer Needs
Humans are unpredictable. That is why some merchandise sells when it makes no sense and other merchandise takes off when there is no reason to think it would. That unpredictability is impossible to quantify, but by using numbers, trends and customer input, you can use your merchandise sourcing app to help formulate a general supplier, purchase and presentation strategy.
Timing is Critical
Timing is often the difference between success and failure. You can have the best winter parka in existence, but if you are trying to sell it in July, it likely will not be a best seller unless you discount it significantly. Timing entails more than seasonal strategies and tactics, however.
You must match a customer’s needs now to your suppliers and use your merchandise supplier app to find what vendors can deliver what you want, when you need it. For example, if a piece of outdoor equipment is popular year-round, it makes no sense to only sell it in the warmer months, even if that is the only time it is used. It does make sense, however, to keep it in stock year-round and discount it when sales slow.
Pricing Should be Experimentation
If you have ever been surprised at the price point a piece of merchandise will go, you understand the need to constantly tinker with price. Markets change and often there is good reason for it, but not always. Sometimes, just because a product is out of mind means customers will not pay what you previously charged for an item.
Making sure that you test pricing is key to figuring out its price range. It also lets you figure out the ceiling of any discount as well as when the average customer views a discounted piece of merchandise as a bargain as opposed to just a savings opportunity.
Mix and Match to Attain a Balance
The key to merchandising beyond customer needs and wants is balancing your inventory to reflect items that meet everyone’s budget. You should have high end products, middle of the road options and lower cost merchandise or you are writing off potential customers just by price point.
If you incorporate each of these merchandise components in your merchandise sourcing app strategy, you will ensure you have the right merchandise for the right customer all year long.