Less is More. Optimize your Assortment
All efforts made to improve Customer Experience will be useless if you don´t make sure first the assortment is optimised. A substantial increase in the number of options turns out to be, in most of the cases, a worrying hint of a lack of clarity and positioning in the retail business that will have a negative impact on results.
Analysing 5 years evolution of women clothing assortment of major retail chains shows how best performing operators manage to keep under control and reduce in some cases the number of options offered in their stores. Source: Market Mapping (Pricing and competitor benchmarking tool)
To make sure the variety is really perceived by the consumer in the store, agreed product display densities have to be respected. Only in this way we will be in the position to communicate good product stories avoiding an excess of individual potential duplicated items.
The fallacy of trying to mitigate risks increasing the number of options in the range will end up, with a boomerang effect, in fragmented assortment, excess of inventory and operational problems while merchandising the stores.
To rationalize the number of options will be difficult if we tried to do it only via commercial planning and buying functions. If we manage to get the structured involvement of design/operations and marketing roles incorporating external objective benchmarks, this will facilitate the task.