Product management is one of the most important operational concerns in retail. If you don’t manage your inventory effectively, you risk having tons of shrinkage and losses, which consumes your profits, spending countless hours searching for your products, and wasting time and resources on other activities that negatively impact your bottom line. Effective product management is critical to retail profitability. You need to follow some product management best practices to achieve your goal.
Here are 10 product management best practices that agile retailers can follow and manage their products:
1. Analyze the Market
Profitable stores have well-planned retail marketing strategies and campaigns that promote products in a targeted manner. This requires extensive research not only on the item itself but also on the market and competitors.
A thorough study listing the strengths and weaknesses of your product plays an important role in knowing the sustainability of the product. Therefore, it is imperative to use the best product management services to get maximum returns. As retailers are the last phase of the supply chain, they interact directly with customers and are responsible for providing impactful promotions and desired products. While product-market fit is essential for rapid adoption and growth, a complete understanding of the business is equally important for long-term product success.
2. Identifying true customer behavior and needs
Never ask customers what they want; observe what they need. Capture new ideas through customer feedback or internal channels such as support or sales. But be careful not to iterate with all the feedback that reaches you. While customers can often describe the pain they are experiencing, they may not be able to articulate the solution.
Product telemetry, the amount of time a user spends on a certain product page, can be a vital source for understanding how customers interact with a product. Without observing actual customer behavior, product managers may pursue faulty assumptions and ultimately create products that don’t really solve customer problems.
3. Monitor price changes
How you price each product determines how many units you will sell, which will determine your level of profitability on those items. Large retailers have enough challenges with payroll, managing multiple vendors, and operations. One area of operations over which you have much more control than you think is price changes.
With the right tools, you can continuously monitor sales prices, special offers, discounts, and promotions and keep your ever-changing prices under control. With ChainDrive, price management is easier, more versatile, and more efficient across the chain.
4. Categorize your merchandise properly
An effective product management solution allows you to define your product categories and place each product in the right category for easy organization and access. You can establish your own attributes for your products. After all, every retail business is different.
5. Strategic Product Management
A significant portion of the retail industry is unorganized and needs strategic product management to meet consumer demands in the right way. That includes your product vision and goals.
Strategic product management includes identifying market and product opportunities and goals, understanding sales objectives, deploying resources, auditing the business environment to bring efficiency, integrating front and back-end operations, and thorough category planning and management.
6. Keep an eye on the analytics
Effective retail analytics is more than just knowing how much of each product you have in stock; it’s one of the most important aspects of managing a retail chain. You need to have an eye on the history of the products as well as their current status. A strong analytics system allows you to manipulate the data in a way that facilitates better management. You need to track each SKU, analyze your inventory levels, and forecast how much of each product you will need from season to season. And you need to be able to do this from any level in your organization.
7. Seamless inventory management
Real-time inventory status makes inventory visible regardless of the location. Seamless inventory management between stores or businesses is fully integrated with accounting to eliminate potential human error in data transfer.
Whether you are transferring goods from warehouse to warehouse, store to store, or warehouse/store to store, you need to be able to track and control all your transfers in real-time, so you know where your product is.
8. Centralize product management
Holding your inventory management practices at the department level increases your level of inefficiency. You’ll have a much better understanding of your product situation if you can see all of your purchases, assignments, transfers, distributions, and more at a glance. Consolidate all your data attributes into a powerful matrix so you can manage your products more efficiently. Centralize your product management system so you can manage all parts of it more effectively and efficiently.
9. Choose the right time
Retail is about selling the right product at the right time. To sell your products to the target audience, it is important that they come across your product. With the rise of e-commerce, timing has become even more important.
Reduce the time to value for customers to less than an hour. The best product managers have the technical knowledge and deep understanding of their product’s technology stack to design simple and easy onboarding processes for critical customer use cases. Creating these short integration processes allows customers to quickly see the value of the product, which drives adoption and usage.
A retail product manager who uses the right mix of product, customer data, and management skills needs to deliver a show to the consumer. You must plan, execute and deliver your product and its functionality to the user at the right time.
10. Build a dedicated team
Creating the right products at the right time requires coordination with multiple teams, including development, marketing, sales, support, and design. You need to be in frequent contact with everyone who impacts the product and customer experience to make sure you’re on the right track and not duplicating efforts.
Product management involves more than just ordering the right product from the right supplier. It involves managing your inventory from the time you place the order until it leaves for your customer.
Optimize Your Product Management with ChainDrive
As the pace of technological development accelerates and software solutions continue to play an increasing role in all facets of life, the development of a best-in-class product management function becomes increasingly important. Building product management functionality allows businesses to unleash the maximum potential of their software development capabilities, fully capitalize on the return on their software investments, and ultimately improve their business results.
ChainDrive product management software provides functional, easy-to-use, centralized tools to make your operation more profitable and efficient so that you can manage all stages of your product lifecycle in real time. With features that have been requested and developed by working with retailers to find solutions to the problems and pain points, they face every day.
If you’d like to learn more about retail product management best practices, tools, and techniques, check out our blog or request a free online demo to speak with one of our product management software experts.