Don't Make These Line Assortment Mistakes!

There’s a lot to consider when tailoring your product line to suit a specific retailer. 

Broadly speaking, a good line assortment meets consumers’ needs and is easily shoppable, but success can look pretty different as your category evolves. Avoid these all-too-common pitfalls to keep your inventory selling in and selling through on your retailer’s shelves. 

Don’t skip the preliminary research. 

A critical first step is ensuring that there is real demand for your products at the store level. Changing seasons, geography, and even the values and attitudes of consumers in different regions can have a huge impact on what they need from your brand. 

Early consumer research can help you avoid costly mistakes as you choose how to use your shelf space. If there are any models, sizes or colors in your product line that don’t make sense for that retail location, it may be best to save them for ecommerce. 

Don’t forget to study the competitive landscape.

Your line assortment doesn’t happen in a vacuum. Your product category is a whole ecosystem that needs close consideration. 

Know what your competitors are up to and understand where you fit in. This is about more than pricing your products appropriately — it’s also about adding value to your category. Look for ways to fill gaps rather than double up. 

Email Img 1


Don’t neglect your store walks.

POS data is a goldmine of crucial information about performance at the store level, but there is no substitute for routine in-person visits. 

Regular store walks are a chance to see the condition of your bay in real life. Are your signage and merchandising materials being used the way you planned? Are your products at eye level and easy to access? Does your packaging pop, or do you blend in on the shelf with your competitors? 

Square your performance data with the physical reality of your bay to understand what’s going well and where you may have room for growth. 

Don’t try to create demand by putting products on shelves.

Retail success won’t happen Field of Dreams style (i.e. “Stock it and they will buy”). The key to selling in and selling through is giving people what they already want. 

You may sell a line of shovels with 5’, 4’ and 3’ handles. If you notice your 5’ model outselling the others, it may be time to change your assortment to focus on your high-demand product. 

In theory, everyone appreciates having options, but offering this variety of sizes won’t make your target audience shorter. Instead of swimming against the tide, let demand dictate your assortment — keeping in mind that what consumers want from your category can change over time. 

Email Img 2-1

Don’t wait for your merchant to bring up problems. 

We can’t overstate the importance of being proactive. Keeping a close eye on your POS data and investigating any anomalies at the store level will help you stay in front of issues before they become widespread and costly. If you wait for your merchant to approach you about your brand’s performance, you’ve already waited too long. 

Change is the only constant, so it is essential to periodically reevaluate your line assortment strategy. Keep your finger on the pulse of store-level trends, and you can adapt your assortment to keep on winning.


Like what you're reading?

We need to talk.