With Valentine’s fever rife in the air - we’ve got to thinking about how retailers can take inspiration from the dating game and apply it to their product strategy. With the growth and astounding success of retail behemoths like Amazon and Alibaba it can be tempting to fear that the key to weathering the current retail storm is to offer more and more products. But this is a Sisyphean task. Our advice is to focus on what you’re good at, and only bring in third party products that complement your approach! Here are three Valentine’s inspirations to apply to your product strategy this year:

#1 Be playful

Darty, one of the leading retailers in France were able to take an experimental approach to their merchandising strategy. By adopting the marketplace model they were able to test new categories like suitcases and bedding, to discover what resonated most with their customers. What they learnt online informed their store merchandising strategy. Omni-channel retailing in action. Across the pond, for Best Buy Canada, it’s all about becoming for relevant for their customers. What products would their customers expect them to have? By partnering with sellers directly they are able to ensure the right products, at the right price and crucially the right level of service.

#2 Keep your options open

Leading UK retailer Game is able to add new SKUs without the traditional commitment to price and minimum volumes - a good example being the Fierce Gaming PCs that sell well through their marketplace. Select Marketplace vendors bringing product in adjacent categories can be enhancing Game’s assortment within a day. This low risk approach to playing the field can ease cash flow and provide much-needed agility to any retailer’s ranging strategy. If a new line sells, lock down your new love and commit to the inventory. If not, well there’s plenty more (adjacent) fish in the sea.

#3 Stay true to your first love

Galeries Lafayette have been leaders in the platform revolution since the beginning. As an omnichannel retailer, they set their mission to ensure their website had even more products available than their beautiful flagship store in Haussmann - the ultimate ‘luxury bazaar.’ Their marketplace empowered them to add products faster than they believed possible, in order to realise their dream. Incredibly, every year the business on their marketplace doubles!

So with that, have a Happy Valentines Day one and all. [To the theme of your power ballad of choice (for reference, Spice Girls immortal classic ‘2 become 1’ is the Mirakl London choice)]

If you would like to discover how a marketplace model can power your growth strategy, get in touch.

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