How to source new products and measure their success

The Better Retailing team finds out where retailers get their inspiration for new products, where they source them and how they measure success

Gerald Thomas

Arcade News, Ammanford, Carmarthenshire

“As far as magazines go, it’s about keeping up with the latest TV shows. If one takes off, then you’ll sell lots of the magazines. And when it comes to confectionery and things for children, you’ve got to keep up with whatever trend is happening at that moment. You’ve got to look at what other stores are doing and talk to the kids and see what they’re buying. You’ve got to be fast, though, because if you’re on it quickly, then you’ll sell loads of the product, but they soon move onto something else.

“I say that you can sell anything once. You can put anything on the countertop and people will buy it at least once. After a week, I introduce something else. But if there’s still demand, you can keep selling it for months. You’ve got to watch what’s selling.”

“Price is also important. One of our bestselling new products was a sour lolly that we sold for 5p. We were selling six tubs of 150 every day. But sales have dropped now they’re 10p.”

Dipak & Jayshree Shah

H&R News, Camberley, Surrey

“We always introduce new products, as long as they’re within our range. If there is a new product that’s launched by a supplier whose range we’re already stocking, we will stock it. If there is another supplier or product with a different brand that we don’t currently stock, we will have to take a look at the product and decide what to do from there.

“We would typically go through a cash and carry or go through different sources to get suppliers. After that initial week, we’ll look at how well it’s selling and if it’s doing well, then we’ll try to restock it. If not, we’ll cancel our next order.

“The newest product we have stocked is the Embassy Signature Gold cigarettes. These have sold really well since we’ve introduced them not that long ago. We have also introduced a new e-cigarette, Esco, which has 700 puffs and retails at £4.99, which has sold really well in the store.”

Gaurave Sood

Neelam Post Office, Uxbridge, west London

“Ninety-nine per cent of the time, whenever something new comes in, we are always inclined to want to try it. We always want to try new products across all areas. We might see a product in a cash and carry or maybe a particular rep will bring it in – we always try to keep our eyes open for new products.

“It is a gut feeling. A lot of the time what happens is a customer will try out a new product and then we wait a week to see if the product is actually successful or not. After that first week or two, you’ll know.

“For example, last year, they brought out sugar-free Lucozade Sport, and in the first two weeks they absolutely flew out as customers were excited to try it. But then repeat customers never came back. We knew really after the first week that we weren’t going to stock the product anymore after that. Sometimes you have to take the hit and just go for it.”

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