Without a solid brand positioning statement followed by a brand-enhancing product fit chart, products actually can start to work against your brand. Perhaps more importantly, they can create a great deal of customer confusion.
Go through your offer in your catalog, store and Web site, and mark which products enhance your brand and which ones detract from your brand. Then do the same with your top three closest competitors. Do you blame customers for being apathetic when so many companies don't take the time to focus and differentiate? Don't lose customers because you're lazy. Do your homework.
4. Go ahead, be a control freak. Despite what some therapists might say, being a little controlling can be a good thing. Products need some looking after before they get to customers! Excellent merchants will indeed sweat the details from production to presentation elements and everything in between. Ask the following:
- Is this green just the right shade?
- Is this gift packaging "gifty" enough?
- What will our customers think of this new paper stock?
All five senses come into play and importance here — no detail is too trivial. Lands' End created a recent campaign based on all the details it thought customers cared about when buying clothes without touching them and trying them on in person. The catalog showed close-ups of buttons, seams, stitches, fabric texture. Lands' End's executives wanted their customers to know that someone cared about these "little things" as much as they did.
Your products will become more purposeful if someone is watching over them every step of the way through the picky lens of a customer.
5. Revive, and then some. Purpose-driven merchandising is a perpetual thing. Perhaps your original products were the brand (think L.L. Bean and those hunting boots). But somewhere in your company's growth and progress, you lost track of your humble beginnings.