If you own a successful retail shop, you may be wondering when and how to expand your business. Offering new products is an effective way to establish customer loyalty and grow your audience, but if you’ve focused on apparel to this point, it could be challenging to decide which items to add to your product line. Keep your customers’ needs in mind, stay true to your brand, and consider partnering with a print on demand company to offer quality products with less financial risk.

The Benefits of Product Expansion

Increase Customer Loyalty

Having loyal customers is a key factor to future success, but as a business owner, you know that their needs are constantly changing. With a limited product line, there’s only so much a customer can purchase from your shop. New products provide new opportunities for them to engage with your brand.

Grow Your Audience

Before a customer can become loyal to your shop, they need to interact with it. Not everyone is looking for apparel, but may be interested in other products that reflect your brand’s style and quality. The more diverse your product line, the bigger the audience you can reach.

Plan for the Future

If a shop has strong sales in a particular niche item, like sweatshirts, that’s great, until summer rolls around. Don’t wait until a product’s sales have declined to consider what’s next. With multiple product offerings, you can be prepared for a particular product’s dip in sales and remain ahead of sales trends, as well.

How to Expand Your Merchandise Offerings

Consider Your Current Customers

It usually costs less to retain an existing customer than to acquire a new one, so start by seeing what your current customers could need. For a shop selling activewear, for example, offering water bottles or gym bags could be the best next step. Is your current line boho chic? Consider offering some home décor options in the same unique style.

Stay True to Your Brand

You’ve worked hard to establish your brand, so it’s important to maintain its reputation. When selecting which products to add to your line, select those that align with your audience, style, and values. Quality is also an important consideration. Be sure to focus on high quality items to add to your shop.

Consider New Distribution Channels

As you decide how to grow your business, you may need to partner with new vendors. Consider finding a partner that can source both your apparel and other merchandise to streamline business processes. Because you’ll be experimenting with new items, it’s also wise to look critically at a distributor’s purchase minimums and how to manage overstock as well.  

Leveraging Print on Demand for Product Expansion

As you consider expanding your brand beyond apparel, you probably have some valid concerns. Which products would be the most successful in your shop? What happens to inventory that doesn’t sell? How can growth be scaled? Partnering with a print on demand company could be the answer you are looking for.

Print on demand is a business model that allows shop owners to expand their brands with less risk. When you team up with a print on demand provider, you can tap into their extensive inventory of products without actually needing to invest in or manage inventory yourself. You simply decide which of the POD provider’s items you’d like to sell with your designs, then link them with your online shop. Once a sale has been made, the print on demand company will get to work printing your designs on their high quality products. They’ll also pack and ship it directly to your customer!

Not only is there no need to invest in your inventory, you won’t need to meet minimums either. Whether you sell only a handful of a particular item or it skyrockets to a best seller, each one will be printed as it’s ordered. This gives you a little more freedom to experiment with new products. While it can be frustrating for an item to not perform well, it won’t cost you. Simply remove the product from your online shop and try something new.

Move Beyond Apparel with Print on Demand

Expanding your product line has many benefits, from increasing customer loyalty to planning for the future. Doing so, however, can come with financial risks, especially when inventory needs to be purchased and managed. Fortunately, working with a print on demand provider can greatly reduce these risks. They’ll maintain and manage inventory for you, and you won’t need to meet minimums for orders to be printed, either. This gives you more freedom to experiment with new products and see what works for your brand. As you expand your product line, your business will grow!