There’s little room for complacency in the ecommerce world. Only companies capable of adapting and innovating as they go will survive for the long haul. If all goes well, your original product lineup will change over time—you’ll add new products and phase out old ones. Merchants must be able to keep a finger on the pulse of consumer wants and needs so they can serve them well over time.
Expanding your ecommerce product offerings is an exciting endeavor. However, retailers must be careful to handle this process carefully. Trying to scale up too hastily can lead to quality issues, inventory miscalculations, website glitches and loss of revenue.
Focus on these key areas when you’re ready to add products to your ecommerce catalogue.
Revisit Your Target Customer
What you sell always boils down to what your target audience will buy. When was the last time you checked in with your target audience? Before adding new products to your website, it’s important to make sure you have an up-to-date understanding of your buyers. Only then can you make an informed decision on what will make your customer base respond favorably.
Before you make any business decisions, get accurate answers to the following questions:
- Who are your target customers?
- What is their lifestyle?
- What do they want?
- What pain points do they face?
- Which of their needs aren’t currently being met?
This customer-first framework will help inform future ordering and merchandising decisions.
Stay on Top of Relevant Trends
Staying on top of trends requires a two-pronged approach: tracking both ecommerce trends at large and segment-specific trends based on the types of items you sell. For example, it’s important to keep up with accelerating consumer demand regarding order fulfillment. Customers want faster, cheaper delivery options—no matter the product. So, any items you add to your store will need to adhere to these standards while still upholding your margins.
Furthermore, each retail segment has its own set of trends. The most competitive retailers are able to forecast future trends and update their product catalogues accordingly. That way, eager customers looking to be early adopters of trends will find what they’re seeking from your store.
Make Sure Your Website Can Handle It
The best cloud-based ecommerce solutions allow you to add, update and manage products easily without any complicated coding. It’s also important to make sure your website infrastructure can handle new product drops, especially if they coincide with a sale. The last thing you want to do is introduce a highly anticipated new product lineup only to have your website crash, glitch or present shoppers with an error message.
Furthermore, adding new products makes it even more important to have real-time inventory updates reflected on your website so customers get an accurate idea of levels.
Manage Your Inventory
Let’s say you’re considering adding Product Z to your lineup. You’re relatively sure your target audience will respond well, but it’s also a totally new product for you. If you go ahead and order 10,000 units of Product Z right off the bat, you risk having them pile up in your inventory unsold. The last thing you want is tons of unsold merchandise sitting around gathering dust, as this will create unnecessary hassle and eat into your profit margins. A better solution is to order a smaller amount and conduct testing. Just make sure you have the means to order more quickly if Product Z starts selling like hotcakes.
Expanding your ecommerce product offerings is a huge opportunity for growth, if you can make the process seamless.