If you want a good strategy for growing your business, you should always be searching for new products.
New products help differentiate your business from your competitors, they often offer high margins, they get your customers excited about shopping and they could turn into a niche that will attract an entirely new customer base. But there’s no single formula for finding exactly which new products will be a hit with customers. It takes a bit of trial and error, a bit of intuition. Over time and with practice, you will develop a strategy for searching for and introducing new products to your store. Here are five ways to get you started.
1. Get everyone involved. You don’t need to assume the entire responsibility for finding new products. Get your employees to help. They may have a different perspective on what would sell well, so don’t be afraid to trust their intuition, too. Encourage your staff to be on the lookout for new products as they’re visiting other retailers.
2. Look locally. New products can help you by differentiating your product mix from your competitors. National, big-box stores are unlikely to carry locally made products, so look around your community. Are there local artisans you can partner with who have something to offer your customers? You’ll get the double benefit of showing you support local business and carrying a unique product no one else has.
3. Search outside the country. Another place to find something no one else has is to look outside of the country. International trade shows such as the International Hardware Fair and spoga+gafa, the international garden show, can give you exposure to new products and trends that haven’t yet hit the domestic market.
4. Look online. Browse social media to see what’s new and trending. You might pick up some ideas for new products. You might also discover that the hot new product you started selling is now being sold everywhere. Check Amazon. Are they selling it and are they selling it cheaper? If a new product has quickly gained a wide retail platform, it’s lost its luster as a new product. You may need to find something else to promote.
5. Hit a specialty trade show. Your wholesaler trade show will give you a good look at some of the new products going around in the industry. But also try one of the specialty trade shows that focus on a particular category. You’ll find new vendors and may get the chance to speak with retailers who specialize in a particular category. Read more about it in this article from Hardware Retailing: Niche Trade Shows Offer New Ideas.
To find out more about selling new products, check out the feature article in the May issue of Hardware Retailing, How 3 Retailers Find and Sell Unique Categories. Also, read these articles from the Hardware Retailing Archives: Finding New Products: A Buyer’s Perspective and The Life Cycle of a New Product.