Mix and Fix: Product Assortment (Part 1)

Variety is the spice of life! A good variety and apt selection is the key to attracting customer to a retail store. This variety that a retailer offers is known as the product breadth. It is also known as product assortment width, merchandise breadth, and product line width. Another essential part of the inventory strategy is the product depth which is essentially the number of each item or a particular style that is available for a particular product. A product assortment or simply product mix is the combination of product width and product depth. A good inventory strategy focuses on

“ensuring that there is the right number and variety of products available from one order cycle to the next in order to keep a hold on the repeat customers.”

The primary goal of a product mix is to increase sales and inventory productivity. Costly mistakes affecting the business are avoided by analysing and projecting product assortment in advance. Various potential cost reduction and new opportunities can be identified by analysing the assortment mix.

Organizing the assortment

While it is of a paramount of importance for retailers to size their assortment accurately, it is even more necessary for them to critically evaluate as to how this mix is to be organized. There are handful of strategies that a retailer can follow to display a mix. Each strategy has its own merits, such as drawbacks and impact on the sales of the store. Key strategies include:


Displaying Side-by-side:

This facilitates easy comparison of brands as they are displayed side by side. The elite or niche range of products are displayed separately in order to give them more focus.

Organizing by brand:

This method encourages loyalty to a particular brand. Most of the customers prefer to use a certain product from a certain brand as they feel comfortable with the brand from previous usage. On the downside, this method might be slightly harmful in clearing off the stocks of brands which does not sell as good as the popular ones.


This method might sound harmful, but it paves way for evolution as the brand manufacturer is prompted to improvise to sell better.

Organized displays are best suited for when a variety of options that are available for a particular product range. Following the same strategy for lines which lack the variety would make the lack of choice evident to the customers. Thus, having an asymmetrical display would help the customer choose better in such cases. Moreover, it is imperative to align the assortment with the knowledge and expectation of a customer so as to facilitate customer influx and sales.

Read Part 2 here