By Nicole Leinbach Reyhle
I am thinking about introducing another category into my store assortment to help boost sales. Any ideas on how to determine a new category to complement a traditional gift shop?
Expanding categories into your store assortment is a great way to welcome new customers, support existing customers, and increase store sales. There are a variety of considerations to review, however, in advance of this decision. To help do this, ask yourself the following questions:
- Is this new category in direct response to customer inquiries?
- Is this new category more of a personal choice or is it based on professional analysis?
- Is this new category complementary to your existing store assortment?
- Is this new category easily sourced at existing trade shows or vendors you already work with?
- Is this new category one you anticipate will grow in volume over time?
Gaining clarity on how a new category will impact your current store assortment, sourcing availability, customer interest, and more can help you navigate what category is right for you. Keeping in mind, recent data from Shopify revealed fashion remains a top category for online buyers at nearly $990 billion in 2022 so far, with toys, hobby, and DIY falling just behind fashion at nearly $600 billion. This helps reveal what consumers are interested in and can help you also determine what additional products may suit your own store assortment. Considering fashion, toys, hobby, and DYI are very broad, this is where your unique homework comes in. Some additional questions to ask yourself when narrowing down what categories may be best for your unique store include:
- Do you have merchandising space to adequately highlight the new inventory?
- What limitations, if any, exist in your store that should be considered when introducing new inventory? Examples may include shelf space versus hanger space or lack of fitting rooms.
- Is there a retail price point you are aiming to find to best support your average sales or customers? Or both?
- Are there hard noes to what inventory you will introduce to your store? Why?
- Do you have margin-building inventory that can be considered in this new assortment, helping you to increase revenue?
When you challenge yourself to explore the “why” of bringing a new category to your store, it can help bring clarity to “how” you will best introduce it to your existing inventory and overall store experience.
One more tip: Incorporate new trade shows into your annual routine that help introduce you to new vendors and inventory. Some shows are new to market in direct response to growing retail categories.
With so much to consider, there is also so much to look forward to. Wishing you success in your growing retail categories.
Nicole Leinbach Reyhle 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, Reyhle welcomes you to connect via Instagram at @RetailMindedWorld and Twitter via @RetailMinded.