Consumer Products Look for Shelf Life
By George Anderson
A number of factors go into to determining what products make it onto store shelves and racks, including a manufacturer’s ability to pay for space, markdown fees, promotional support, past product performance, consumer trends, local demographics, product uniqueness and more.
But, with a limited amount of space, the question of which products make it into stores and which ones should actually be there remains an ongoing topic of discussion between retailers and suppliers. It also remains a critical customer service issue, determining those who leave stores happy with their shopping experience and those who do not.
To get its product selections right, Walgreens relies on local demographic data. It does so to the point that the company says it doesn’t have a typical store out of the more than 5,000 it operates across the country.
Tiffani Bruce, a spokesperson for Walgreens, told The Fort Wayne Journal Gazette, “We take great pride in trying to tailor the product mix in each store. It could be different in one store from another Walgreens just a few blocks away.”
Target emphasizes style when making purchasing decisions.
Company spokesperson Brie Heath said the chain’s buyers “are always looking for something that is on trend, unique and differentiates us from our competitors.”
Richard Feinberg, a retail management professor at Purdue University and a researcher with the Purdue Retail Institute, said that, while stores that sell food and other consumer packaged goods can respond quickly to delist a product when it is not moving, clothing retailers do not have the same luxury, having to markdown existing stock and waiting for the next season’s fashions to arrive.
Moderator’s Comment: What factors are most important in retailer product stocking decisions? What do you see the biggest opportunities for improvement
in this area? –
George Anderson – Moderator