Is there a good way to know how far to expand your product range?

I’m selling kitchenware appliances but have had customer requests to branch out into other homeware items. How can I tell if that’s a good idea?

 

We are constantly expanding our product range. We find it’s a great way to provide our customers with a one-stop shop experience and increase our revenue.

 

If your customers are asking for it, then it is probably a good idea.

 

Chances are your customers are going to your competition to buy the products you don’t currently stock, and then you run the risk of losing your customers to one of your competitors who is able to provide them with a one-stop shopping experience.

 

The best way to find out if it is a good idea is to ask your customers.

 

There are some great online survey tools available, there is no better way to find out what your customers want than by asking them.

 

It’s always a good idea to offer some sort of incentive for answering the questionnaire. Try Surveymonkey.

 

There is a fair amount of risk involved in increasing your product lines but there are a few ways to manage the risk.

 

When we are thinking about adding to our range we will analyse our sales figures and look at the products which are performing well.

 

We will use that as a focal point and think about all the associated products that people would use.

 

For example, if you are selling kitchenware and your best selling product is an electric mixer think about all the peripheral products people would use like aprons, spatulas, baking trays, etc.

 

Make sure you do your research! Have a look at what your competitors are selling, visit some department stores and have a look at their product range.

 

Ask your suppliers for advice, they will most probably be selling to your competition and would be able to guide you.

 

It could be worthwhile going to some industry trade shows and looking for ways which will benefit your customers and make your business unique.

 

If you are currently importing your appliances direct then you may want to consider finding a local supplier for your supplementary range.

 

This way you are not forced into minimum orders and if the products aren’t moving as well as you would have liked then you can scale back relatively easily.

 

While increasing your product range is a great way of adding revenue and expanding your business it needs to be monitored very closely.

 

It may not be as profitable as you think it is going to be. You may be turning over more stock but an increase in overheads may be eroding the profitability of the exercise.

 

Good luck!

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