In general we can differentiate between range policy and service policy:
Range policy is known to be a very comprehensive topic. We will only discuss part of this sector here, namely the problem that the goals of range policy at the point of sale are very different for the manufacturer and the retailer. The main characteristic of both is of course directed towards the final customer. What demand exists? What demand can I produce? There is then, however, a conflict of interests that can only be solved by making compromises.
What are the problems, which solutions can be attempted?
- The manufacturer would like to sell his entire brand range and/or his entire production programme while the retailer only wants to offer a tailor-made range according to the principles of demand grouping. In order to be successful as a manufacturer it is essential to be aware of the needs of the retailer and to expand the goods you offer to fulfil the requirements of the retailer. The more similarity that exists between the range of makes offered by the manufacturer and the range required by the retailer, the more likely it is that both will achieve their aim. It is of course also true that the retailer must give the manufacturer the possibility of also offering products for which the manufacturer wishes to create demand.
- The aim of the manufacturer is to advance into new markets through diversification and to replace existing products from the competition with his own products. On the other hand the retailer wants to extend his existing range in accordance with demand grouping and is looking for new supplier for the additional products whilst still approaching tried and trusted suppliers for current products. The manufacturer could try to offer the additional products in order to replace the existing range of his competition with his own products as a second step.
- The manufacturer would like to build up a successful long-term range or products while it is more important to the retailer to sell products that have good turnover and profit in the short term. A range that can provide success for both must contain both products that are successful in the long term and those that provide good turnover and profit in the short term.*
Service policy depends greatly on operation type. Thus a discounter will offer almost no service whilst the service-oriented retail outlet, the specialist shop or a brand-name retailer must have access to a wide range of services. According to current opinion it is seen as certain that, given an increasingly homogenous range of products, a company can only achieve recognition.*
Which services can be offered by a service-oriented company?
- Advice: this sounds very easy but is difficult to implement. In order to be able to give good advice the staff must receive the relevant training. The personnel must have not only the specialist knowledge but also the ability to communicate this knowledge.
- Product adaptation to specific customer requirements
- Provision of a hotline
- Internet presence (updated at all times!)
- Repair and/or return service
- Delivery within 24 hours
- Making displays available
- Training of sales personnel
Which service can you provide to your customer in order to differentiate yourself from the competition?
*According to: Ulrich D. Frey (2001): POS-Marketing. Integrierte Kommunikation für den Point of Sale. Betriebswirtschaftlicher Verlag Dr. Th. Gabler GmbH, Wiesbaden.