When Customers Are Scarce

Product BundlingThe first thing a new sales person should learn is often the last thing he thinks to do and that’s to maximize sales to each customer by bundling product and cross selling additional items. While some call this “up selling” and think it is a disservice to the customer, it is usually the opposite. Many customers have a “project” or something going on that requires more than one thing necessary to fill all momentary needs even if it’s getting ready for the prom. The genius of the “big box” store concept which features variety of merchandise, breadth of selection, and depth of inventory is that the customer can get many things for this mix in one stop, leading to the perception of exceptional values. How many times have you heard someone say, “Oh, just go to Wal-Mart, they have EVERYTHING”?
A variety of merchandise means “one stop shopping.” All wants can be met in one stop, a real service to a customer who is busy and today, who isn’t? One stop shopping is a good way to have a great price point and a great margin on bigger orders. Stores either have a broad selection (many things to choose from) such as a Wal-Mart or depth of selection (more items of a particular type) such as in specialty stores.
A wide breadth of selection means that the customer has different things to choose from, each with different features, all aimed at filling a slightly different need. Correct inventory selection is important. A line that is too broad may have a low turnover rate and the store merchandise may become dirty, worn, and unattractive leading to increased costs. In retail, it’s all about how fast you sell it!
Inventory depth results from smart inventory selection and is a direct result of savvy merchandising and knowing your customers’ needs. This is often a feature of specialized stores like bicycle shops, guns shops, and sewing shops. These stores attract customers who know what they want and are willing to pay for it.
Product bundling/cross selling is the thread binding these concepts together. Merchandise selections should complement each other, fill a variety of needs, and turn over predictably. Teach your sales people that bundling and cross-selling not only helps the customer, it helps the store’s bottom line.

Ron Simmons is the Area Director in the Gainesville SBDC office. If you would like to meet with a consultant from our office to discuss your business needs, call us or come by for a cup-o-java from our new Keurig (compliments of Dede). (O) 770-531-5681. We want to help you!

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