Selecting New Items for Retail

By Steve Di Orio
Posted in Store Management
On May 08, 2012

Deciding what new products to bring into a store is one of the most vital decisions facing any retailer. The products you bring in say a lot about the type of store you are, the type of store you want to be and the type of customer you want to draw. Most importantly, it is essential that you find the right mix of products to help maximize your profits.

First, you want to ensure that your products are in keeping with the industry your store is in and the image it hopes to portray. If you’re business is established, customers have an idea of what kind of products to expect at your place of business. If you try to bring in products that are too far outside of your store’s current selections, customers will not think to find them there.

Second, follow the accepted industry sales concepts of step-up, tie-in and impulse sales. Step-up and tie-in products are related to products that you already sell. Step-up products are similar to products you already sell, but with added features or are of a better quality. Retailers sell these products at a higher price and they usually offer a higher profit margin. Tie-in sales products can be sold in conjunction with an existing product. These can include special accessories or refills for a product. Impulse items do not need to be themed with existing products, but are often more effective when they are.

Adding entirely new product lines or merchandise categories to your store requires careful planning. You want be sure that the new merchandise is a natural extension of what you already sell. Make sure you bring in a complete product line with individual SKUs that relate to one another. Make sure you fill the step-up, tie-in and impulse slots across the new product line. If you do not fully back a new merchandise category, you will miss out on opportunities to profit and increase the likelihood of failure.

Industry trade shows can be an invaluable resource for adding new products to your retail store. Not only will you be able to meet vendors and see and test possible products in person, you will also have a chance to discuss successes and failures with other retailers. When you head to a trade show, have a plan in mind so that you can stay on course. There can be too many distractions, if you do not come prepared.

Steve Di Orio

Steve Di Orio


Steve has been with Handy Store Fixtures for over 15 years. After becoming the Marketing Manager in 2006, he was named Director of Marketing. Steven earned his MBA from Montclair State University with a specialization in Digital Marketing in 2019. When not at work, he loves to travel, play golf, exercise, and talk all things search engine marketing and retail display tips.