Introducing New Products at Your Store? Here’s How to Get Them to SellCreate the right conditions for fresh inventory to fly off the shelves.
Successful retail stores have a core stock of products that customers know and love. But being complacent with the status quo might limit growth at your shop. How do you keep things fresh?
“Regularly introduce new items to meet changing shopper preferences and to keep your store interesting enough to draw ongoing store visits,” advised Bruce Sanders, consumer psychologist and author of “Retailer’s Edge: Boost Profits Using Shopper Psychology.”
Adding new products takes time, effort and money, so you want them to make a big splash with customers. Sanders shared a few strategies for how to maximize the potential return on your investment and get customers excited about the latest and greatest goods in your store.
Stay true to your brand
When you see a hot product flying off the shelves at other retailers, you might be tempted to sell it at your store, as well. However, haphazardly jumping onto trends can backfire, said Sanders, so make sure the new products you introduce complement your existing stock.
“People have a certain image of a store,” he said. “The product introductions with the most promise to do well have a brand-extension fit with your store or a product-extension fit with the items you currently carry.”
Adding an entirely new product category should be done carefully and gradually. Sanders recommended bringing in intermediary products to help bridge the gap between your current offerings and future stock.
He recalled a store owner who sold window treatments, but wanted to begin stocking paint.
“They needed an intermediate for change to maintain the store image, so they ended up selling wallpaper. People see you as an expert in a certain area, so you have to be careful about straying away too quickly,” he explained.
Separate new products from existing stock
The layout of your store can also make a big impact on what sells — and what doesn’t. Sanders advised owners to create physical boundaries around products unfamiliar to customers to help them get accustomed with the new stock.
“When people are in an uncertain situation, like evaluating potential purchases of new items, they are more likely to take action and buy something if they feel in control of boundaries.”
Try placing the latest merchandise in a special display, creating a sense of security with limited distractions, giving customers plenty of headspace to consider the new inventory.
Minimize risk for customer
One of the biggest reasons a customer might not bring your latest product home with them is risk. He or she might be concerned that the item is not worth the price or won’t perform its function well. Addressing these various concerns directly will increase the likelihood of sales, said Sanders.
“Have at least one sign in your store announcing that product performance is guaranteed,” he said. “Know what other suppliers are charging, and if you are charging more, be sure that the customer is told what you offer that the others don’t.”
Some new products can cause worries about physical risks as well. Give an abundance of information to help customers feel safe in using the item, said Sanders.
“Provide expiration dates, safety instructions and recall notices for all products where those are available and appropriate.”
Don’t sacrifice slow sellers
Retail stores have limited real estate. To make room for new inventory, you may need to push old products off the shelves. But how do you know which items should be discontinued?
“Think strategically when replacing a favorite item,” said Sanders. “One grocery store decided to eliminate certain slow sellers from the shelves. By the time the retailer realized how important those deleted items were to shoppers, those shoppers had taken their business elsewhere.”
Strive to balance your stock that moves quickly with infrequently purchased items that customers still need. Having a reliable inventory will make your store the go-to spot for shoppers when they need a rare, but necessary product.
“People will go to a store because they know it carries a full stock. There’s a hardware store in Folsom, CA, that has a full stock of fasteners that are extraordinarily slow sellers. But people restoring old cars know that any fastener they need will be there, so the store draws people from miles and miles away,” said Sanders.
Related: What to Say When You’re Out of Stock
Offer a limited promotion
It’s no secret that customers love getting a great deal on a product. If used correctly, promotions can be an especially effective tool when trying to boost excitement for new inventory, said Sanders.
“Giving a price discount on newly introduced items might launch a buying frenzy, but be aware that if you set the price very low, consumers will doubt the quality of the item,” he said.
Whatever special you decide to offer, be sure to promote it heavily throughout your store and ad materials.
“Attention-getting displays increase sales not only by drawing eyeballs, but also because what instantly gets our attention seems more familiar to us, and we’re more likely to buy [the new products],” Sanders explained.
There’s always a risk to a retailer when introducing new products. But by setting the right price, creating an ideal space and minimizing customer concerns, refreshing your merchandise can unlock new business opportunities at your store.