By Abe Sherman, CEO BIG

With the start of our tradeshow season, I wanted to point out something to consider while putting together your buying plans, and more to the point of this newsletter, think about what you are not selling; what part of your market is underserved.

While visiting one of our Plexus members, it became obvious to us that they had a hole in their assortment.  In fact, as we toured the marketplace, it was apparent that no one else in their market was going after this business as well.   The hole was a nationally recognized sterling silver fashion line.   At that time we recommended John Hardy as a potential fit and suggested that they contact the brand.  At first, the brand didn’t want to open the account for a couple of valid reasons – location and a lack of other brands.  I reached out to Hardy and explained why it was a good fit: The market was underserved in this area, the nearest Hardy dealer was at least three hours away and I know that these folks would represent the brand well, keep up with reorders and pay their bills on time.  Reluctantly, at first, Hardy opened the account.

In less than nine months, this store which had never carried a line like Hardy, sold about $250,000 at retail.  Fine, you might say, I have Hardy, or even, this branded line is already tied up in my market.   That may be true but this newsletter isn’t about Hardy, it’s about underserved markets.  Alternatives are available if you can’t get Hardy, such as Lagos, who is also strong in this category.

In this case we are talking about a single brand in a single store.  But you have to think bigger than that; you have to think about your marketplace, the categories and the price points.   While a nationally recognized brand such as John Hardy is a good example, so is the entire category of silver fashion.  Furthermore, within a category that you are already doing well with, do you have any underserved markets regarding missing price points?   Each of your categories should be considered by price, not just at the category level.  You can have a turn of 1.2 in diamond wedding bands, but how many did you sell in the $1,000-$1,500 price range and how many do you currently have in stock?

Merchandising isn’t just about reordering fast sellers and dealing with your aged inventory.  Merchandising is looking at the stories being told at the macro and micro levels of your company.   Macro would be sterling fashion, mid-level would be the brands you carry and micro would be a silver bracelet at $599.

Please spend time at the upcoming shows walking the aisles, thinking about the people in your marketplace that you’re not selling – the underserved marketplace.

Abe Sherman,

Ph: 707-257-1456