Staples or Statements? Choose the Right Mix for Your Store
Have you ever wondered why the milk at a grocery store is always in the back and never conveniently located closer to the front of the store? For that matter, do you ever wonder why your favorite seasonal drinks at your preferred coffee shop are just seasonal versus available all year round?
In any retail category – whether in the grocery market or fashion accessories – there are two basic categories of inventory to identify. These are recognized as your staples and your statements. In the case of milk, this is a classic staple item which can you can expect to find at any store that sells grocery related items.
A statement, on the other hand, is an item that is meant to lure customers into your store for a temporary period of time. Statements are also ideal for enticing customers to make unexpected purchases while shopping for staple items such as milk.
An example of this may be when a customer is grabbing a jug of milk, they may also notice some eggnog on a nearby refrigerated shelf. As a result? They impulsively add the eggnog to their shopping cart and the retailer gains a sale that wasn’t originally planned by this customer.
For fashion accessory merchants, the idea of staples and statements rings just as true. In fact, it’s possible they may be even more important to these niche retailers since statements play such a big role in the fashion and accessory market in general. With this in mind, how can you create the perfect store mix of top fashion accessories to maximize your store sales?
Staple Essentials: Identify Your Top Selling Accessories
Identify the top five selling items in your store since it’s been open, or at least over the past two years. Based on what you have identified, proceed to analyze the availability of this item in your store. Are you well stocked in it during all twelve months? Or is it a seasonal item that is not intended to sell year round? Do you have multiple color options in this item? Or is it only available in one color option? Is sizing an issue for this item? And if so, what sizes have historically sold best?
Based on the data you analyzed – which hopefully you can easily do if you have a point of sale system or other inventory tracking software – identify any strengths, weaknesses and opportunities available for you to apply to your store. Your goal should ultimately be to stock these five items – or more if found through your research – to ensure you are never out of stock of these top fashion accessories. Additionally, be sure they are placed in a key spot within your store that customers are easily able to identify – however, similar to grocers and milk, be sure this spot is towards the back of the store. The reason for this is it forces customers to walk by countless other items on the way. The result? More opportunities for impulsive buys and increased sales.
Statements 101: Delight Your Customers (and Keep them Coming Back)
When you are stocked with best-selling staples, your customers become more familiar with what to expect from your store. That said, few stores are ever exciting if they are only black and white. Adding statement items to your store mix is what helps to keep customers intrigued and returning – even in between their staple buying visits.
Consider how statements currently make up your mix of fashion accessories, and identify what percentage they contribute to your annual sales. Is your store known for trendy must-haves or are basics fueling your bank account? Also consider how more statements may be able to help increase your sales if you merchandise them among your staple items. For example, if you layer a mannequin dressed in a classic white T-shirt with the latest must-have scarf, bangles and handbag, do you think you’d sell more of each? Retail research tell us yes…so if you haven’t already, consider this trick to help increase your sales of top fashion accessories.
Do this: Merchandising statements throughout your store and staples in the back of your store are ideal strategies to maximize both floor space and sales.
The Final Word
Keep the power of display always top-of-mind, and be sure to combine your staples and statements to help increase the sales of both.
One final tip? Smaller staple items – such as stud earrings – can be easily merchandised near your point-of-sale check out area, allowing customers to quickly add these to your purchases as they are checking out. Remember to combine statements in your point of sale check out merchandising, as well, though.
It’s the combination of both that truly maximizes your store success.
Want to find just the right mix of staples and statements for your store? Get your free ticket to Fashion Accessories at ASD here, a trade show and retail conference in one in Las Vegas!
By Nicole Leinbach Reyhle
Nicole Leinbach Reyhle is co-founder of the Independent Retailer Conference, columnist for Forbes, and publisher of online magazine Retail Minded.