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The Goldilocks Effect

That porridge was too hot.  That porridge was too cold.  But this porridge is just right.

And so goes the fairy tale we all know as Goldilocks.

And so goes the dilemma all retailers face.  How do we have a “just right” product for all the Goldilocks who walk through our doors?  Do we go deep? Or do we go wide?  Do we stick to the tried and true or do we jump on the cutting edge?

The answer depends on the type of Goldilocks who enter your door.

Are you a tourist town with plenty of one-time visitors?  Stock it wide and shallow.  Cover a whole bunch of ground with a wide variety of product, but not deep on anything.  That way you can appeal to the wide variety of tastes.  Plus, you’ll generate word-of-mouth as people marvel at your amazing selection.

Are you selling a commodity that brings people back in the store time and time again?  Then go deep on the top two or three selling items in each category.  Make sure you always have the best sellers in stock.  Never run out.  You’ll win the reliability game and make it up in volume.

Are you selling uniqueness to the same base of people?  Rotate your stock.  Keep bringing in the new and exciting.  Move things around regularly.  Go for the seasonal, the fads (that you like), and the out-on-the-edge products.  People will come back time and again to see what is new.

Are you selling quality?  Stock a good, better, best option so you have something for those who want Mercedes on a Mercedes budget and those who want Mercedes on a VW budget.  The dress sellers know that if you want to sell a $500 dress you better show an $800 dress.  But always show the filet mignon first.

There are a lot of Goldilocks out there.  The key is knowing which Goldilocks are coming through your door.  Figure that out and your products will always be “just right”.

-Phil Wrzesinski

PS  Yes, it does make sense to try to cater to only one set of Goldilocks.  You cannot be everything to everyone.  Even Wal-Mart knows who to leave out.

PPS  No matter how you stock it, you still need your inventory to make you money.  For some great tips and two critical formulas you need to be calculating, download my FREE eBook – Inventory Management.

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