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The range challenge: Offering more for less in the 2020 shift online

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With so much choice available online, customers expect to be able to order what they want all the time.

 

Retailers are caught in a dual trap where Amazon is selling 200 million products, while their own product lines are available from other retailers. They may fight to get exclusives and unique ranges but it’s a huge challenge in return for little sustainable benefit.

 

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The technical approach to assortments has changed fundamentally from the early days of retail, where physical shelf space set the upper limit. With ecommerce and the advent of unlimited “shelf space”, there is no upper limit to the number of products that a retailer can display. In fact, the upper limit now comes from logistical requirements: primarily, the retailer’s own warehouse space.

 

As our reader survey reveals, many retailers are interested in using dropshipping – where orders are placed on the retailer’s own website but fulfilled by a brand, manufacturer or even another retailer to get around this. The best of both worlds is to offer a broad enough assortment to entice and retain customers without having to take huge risks on new products.

 

This overcomes the limitations of a retailer’s own warehouse space but can leave the retailer with a lack of visibility over the logistics experience and an inability to guarantee the quality of the delivery experience will match up to their own offer.

 

This white paper will look at intelligent range extension, meaning offering additional relevant products online that are typically available in store. It will look at how and why retailers are extending the range of products they offer, with particular focus on overcoming the logistical issues of dropshipping orders.

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