What is an Assortment? First, let's make sure we are all working off the same definition of Assortment. Your assortment is everything you make. EVERY item. Other words for assortment are Line, or Range. You may hear a retail buyer refer to your Assortment, or Line, or Range. Presented by Anne Cecil, Founder of ONO Made In The 191.
Assessing Your Assortment
1. Do you offer diverse products?
You can base your business off of a category or style with many different (diverse) options. For example, ceramic candlesticks is a single category. You offer a variety of heights, styles and glazes to offer diversity. Or, you can offer multiple items of decor. For example, you may offer ceramic candlesticks, vases, boxes and trays. In this example, the items are diverse. You may offer diversity within each category as well in shapes, glazes, etc.
2. Do your items make sense together?
When a customer looks at your assortment can they envision (and can you display them) grouped together? Do they look like they were made by the same artisan? In our single category example, candlesticks of varying heights and shapes can make sense together with the same glaze. The same is true for the multiple item ceramics. Other criteria that can hold your items together are color and texture. NOTE: Each item does NOT have to relate to or group with EVERY other item. Each item just needs to relate to and group with 2-4 other items.
3. Do your items tell a story & does that story fit with your brand story?
Perhaps you use a particular glazing technique, process or material. You can craft a story around each of these criteria and shape it as part of your brand story.
4. Do your items fit with brand style & aesthetic?
When a customer looks at your assortment can they see your style and aesthetic in every piece? Strive to create work that is uniquely attributable to you and your brand.
What to do with the odd items out
If you don't have items that meet these criteria consider them carefully. If they are time and or material costly to make, it may be best to phase them out. If they are relatively easy and cost effective, it may make sense to build out the related items to create a group.
The Take Away
Humans are programmed to look for groups, patterns and connections. If customers sees chaos they won't buy. A carefully curated assortment, displayed in an orderly, easily accessible manner is easy to shop, sells itself and most importantly is easy to buy.
A saleable assortment promotes multiple item sales. That means more share of wallet from a single customer. That means more margin & ultimately more profit for you.