Hardware Retailing

FEB 2017

Hardware Retailing magazine is the pre-eminent how-to management magazine for small business owners and managers in the home improvement retailing industry.

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HARDWARE RETAILING | February 2017 56 The last phase in the life cycle of a new product requires retailers to take a look at how the new product or niche is doing and make some decisions on its fate. However, the most important thing to consider when looking at your inventory is if the product is adding to business or not. "If an item is sitting on the shelf and collecting dust for more than a year, its time to code it as a slow item and do what you can to clear out your inventory," Strano says. "To help move items along, we have a closeout section located at the front of our store, which features 50 to 100 items. I don't want to tie up my inventory on something that's not selling when there may be another new product or unique niche that could be bringing in sales." At Ambridge Do it Best, Strano says they keep a close watch on their inventory, and after trying creative merchandising options and marketing tactics to draw customers to a new product or product line, if it simply isn't selling, they will eliminate the product. "You need to be proactive and get rid of items that aren't moving. However, failing at a product or product line isn't a bad thing—it helps you learn and grow as a retailer." While Strano says he has failed at a few niches or products he's tested out in his store, he stresses that a retailer will never know how something will go if they don't try. "You have to put time into research, put marketing tactics into place and take advertising and displaying the product in your store very seriously," he says. "Sometimes I may want to try something out and it doesn't come to fruition, but my goal is to try." The life cycle of a new product is an ongoing process, which means you can be in several phases of several cycles at once. Through any phase, Strano makes it a point to always look for new products, try them out and keep or kick them to the curb, because as online retailers compete with brick-and-mortar retailers, stocking new and cool products is vital. "As an independent retailer, it's more important than ever to be different than the competition. By stocking new and unique products, customers will have more reasons to return to your store instead of buying an item online from Amazon." David Strano, co-owner of Ambridge Do it Best, says he would rather move an item to his clearance offerings than let it sit on the shelf and collect dust at full price for an extended period of time. Keep It or Move On

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