Evaluate products and programs in your low-volume stores

It’s really tempting to test a new product or program in a flagship store. What we often don’t realize is that even a poor product or program can be successful in a high-volume or high-performing location. Putting products in stores that are already great performers can be very misleading, as the store environment and customer base can distort performance and mislead you as to the real potential of the program or product.

Instead, try out your programs and products in a variety of stores, making sure to include some low-performing stores in the mix. You want to know how the product does when it isn’t always displayed well, when it spends some time being out of stock, and when the foot traffic isn’t high. A product that does well in this environment will probably do very well in better-performing locations. In the end, you may discover that the product or program only does well in locations with a certain minimum level of sales or in specific markets with the right demographics.

The bottom line is to make sure the programs and products are tested in a sample of stores that truly represent the range of volume and sales for the entire company. Setting up pilot programs that are guaranteed to succeed can lead you to choose to put product in stores where there is very little chance of success. This can strand inventory in these stores and cost you the opportunity to use the inventory dollars spent there to build your business in other, potentially more successful locations.

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