I am thinking about introducing some new products into my store assortment. What advice do you have for stores evaluating new products or trends and how they can go about doing this more confidently?

What a great question — and more so, an opportunity — for stores to consider. There are a variety of ways to evaluate whether new products, trends, brands, or even new categories of inventory are right for your store. They include:

  • A review of existing store data generated from past customer spending.
    Data will reveal average price points for items sold, top-selling items, weaker-selling items, and more.
  • An analysis of national retail data offering top-selling retail categories, including new ones that may be nice additions to your store.
    Destinations for this data include nrf.com and shopify.com.
  • An evaluation of general product categories and a consideration of how any of these may blend into your current product assortment and customer spending habits.
    Be sure to break existing categories down by percentage of actual store sales for a more complete understanding of your store and how other categories may complement it.
  • A review of existing customers, retention of customers, and the target market of consumers.
    Introducing products in response to customer requests and customer spending habits can help make the introduction of new inventory more profitable.

As we look into 2023, there are some key product categories that are growing, according to 2022 data. Statista.com reports automobile and auto parts made up the No. 1 e-commerce cate­gory, with the highest expected year-over-year growth between 2021 and 2022. Additionally, as of February 2022, car and auto part retail sales were forecast to increase more than 30% com­pared to the previous year.

Mailchimp.com, an Intuit company, reported the following as being the top-selling categories of 2022, offering additional idea s as to what may be right for your store:

  • Cosmetics and body care.
  • Furniture and décor.
  • Health and wellness.
  • Household items.
  • Media-based products.
  • Pet care.

To help explore items that may be welcome additions to your existing inventory, think about how attending trade shows can provide you with opportunities to review trends, consider new brands, and evaluate new product categories — thanks to first­hand engagement and vendor connectivity.

For a lineup of upcoming shows to consider, see the Trade Show Calendar on page 62.

Finally, a constant evaluation of your inventory is truly a great way to increase profit. Eliminating inventory and brands that are not performing well for your store is also necessary.

Collectively apply these strategies to help boost store sales and ultimately increase customer attention along the way. Another bonus to this process? You may just discover the perfect blend of inventory for your store!

Nicole Leinbach is the founder of RetailMinded.com, a well-respected retail industry resource that has been recognized worldwide for its leading business insight since 2007. Her work has been featured in Forbes, Entrepreneur, Business Insider, the UK’s Telegraph, CNN, the Today show, and countless other industry resources. Additionally, she has supported American Express’s Small Business Saturday as a spokesperson and is the author of the book Retail 101: The Guide to Managing and Marketing Your Retail Business, published by McGraw-Hill. With a core concentration on small businesses and independent retailers, Leinbach welcomes you to connect via Instagram at @RetailMindedWorld and Twitter via @RetailMinded.