A Love Affair With Merchandising
I'm a merchant at heart. I love everything about the product creation business. I love hanging out with customers, observing customers, and listening to them talk about and around their product needs and wish lists. I love analyzing the competition to see what is and what isn't being done in a particular category. I love looking for gaps in what the customer wants and dreams about, and what isn’t out there yet to meet those desires.
I love synthesizing all that knowledge into innovative new concepts. I love strengthening existing products to make them better, simpler and/or easier for customers to integrate into their lives. I love seeing the “WOW!” factor light up a customer’s eyes when a product ends up exactly fitting the bill. I love creating more of those kinds of products and editing out the ones customers don’t respond to. Plain and simple, I love all aspects of merchandising.
I’ve been a merchant for more than 20 years and have created products for almost every customer segment — from babies to teens to seniors and all in between — category — gift, food, apparel, inspirational, publishing and social expression, to name a few — and price point, from low-end to luxury. The disciplines remain the same.
I follow Harvard professor Clayton Christensen’s axiom as my merchandising golden rule: “A product has a job to do for your customer.” I also add to that: “A product has a job to do for your brand.” These guiding factors play out in all the best merchandising strategies. Customer-centric products have only two paths — they can either enhance or detract from the brand.
I also love words. In this blog, I'll be sharing examples of how the right products become action verbs in support of their brands. Using an ensemble of verbs from A to Z, I'll be looking at numerous product examples from across many industries to showcase the vitality of the signals that products broadcast for their brands.
Merchandising isn't a neutral business function! Stay tuned and see what lessons your brand can learn from wordsmithing your product line.