Dive Into a New Product Category
2. Choose items that are brand-consistent. “Even when testing a totally new category, you want it to look and feel like your brand,” says Revello. Also consider pricing, because it, too, has to be consistent with your catalog’s strategy.
Most importantly, check the margin factor. Tabletop products can have a low margin, Revello notes, while textiles as a category, may have a higher margin. “If you add a higher-margin product to your line, you can sell less in volume and still have it do well,” she says.
While it’s all right to stray a little from your core offerings, Revello says the new product category has to be related to what you already offer. “It’s a big leap to go from bedding to food — but not such a big leap to go from partyware to food,” she explains.
3. When testing new products on the page, give them ample space. Once you have your new product ideas, Revello feels you must allow a new category at least two to four pages in the catalog to give it a decent shot at success. “Make enough of a statement with the new line — show enough of it — to demonstrate you have an assortment you believe in.”
Minix agrees, adding that once you decide to test a product category, you really have to be in it. “If you’ve never sold footwear, for example, do a spread or state in some way that you’re making a commitment to the product line.”
And when it comes to creative, don’t hesitate to play up the new category, Minix adds. If appropriate, use a colored band on the pages featuring the new items, or put a burst on the cover announcing the new product category. At the very least, he says, place the new items together on an attractive spread or in a grouping.