Adding a new product category to your operation can be a formidable undertaking. Follow these best practices to successfully bring a new category to your store.
Choose a category that compliments your hardline offerings and appeals to your customer base. Ask people in your area or your customers what they would like to see in your store. Consider inspecting your competitors’ stores in the area, and see what successful categories they have that you are missing. Before deciding on a category, make sure it will fit in well with your other categories as well.
Invest in staples and limit your SKUs. By choosing a niche category with a low SKU investment and a small matrix of sizes and colors, you avoid giving your customers too many options, which can lead to some versions of a product left on the shelves. Stick with the basics to bring simplicity to your customers and your operation.
Upscale your merchandising. Talk to your wholesaler about your merchandising options or build your own creative merchandising display. Strive for an eye-catching presentation with clear signage. Make sure the display is clean, faced and organized and avoid standard shelving. These practices will draw customers to the new category and encourage browsing.
Educate your employees about the new category. Host training events in your store to make sure your employees are knowledgeable in the new category, or consider letting your employees take new products home to try them out. It is important when adding a new category that all of your employees are educated enough to answer all of the questions your customers might have.
Visit the NHPA Tools and Guide section for more operations best practices and resources.