Manipulating Your Inventory by Trading Up and Trading Down

by Craig Anthony

2 min read

As you change and further develop the products you offer within your small business, you will come across decisions about what to change. In some cases, it may make sense for you add features. In other cases, it may be best to downgrade your products. In either of these two cases, you must work through what customers want and change your inventory to match this demand.

Trading Up

The concept of trading up means you add features to your products. You can make this change happen by upgrading or expanding what you sell. Making your products more elaborate lets you meet more of your customers’ needs, charge higher prices, and offer more specialized inventory. If your products are electronic, consider upgrading the way they can charge, the amount of memory they can store, or their processing speed capabilities. If you design clothing, upgrade to finer materials or implement more elaborate designs. By trading up, your inventory will be higher quality and you’ll be able to get more money when you sell it.

Trading Down

You may also come across situations where it makes the most sense to downgrade your product. By stripping your product of certain features, you can better match what your customers want. Removing features during your product development lets you save money and be able to reduce the price of your inventory. If you do woodworking and add special trim to your products, consider removing or simplifying the designs to save time. Simplifying your products can also make them easier for customers to use. If you develop and sell software, having too many features can mask what your customers are really trying to find. Eliminating features can make your product look nice, be easier to use, be more functional for your customer’s purposes, and require less maintenance on your part.

Customer Feedback

As you decide whether to trade up or trade down, your decision should be based on how your customers feel. Continually get feedback from your clients to understand what they want. Even if you have ideas about how to change your products, you want to make sure you don’t ruin perfectly good items that your customers are currently enjoying. Get the opinions of your customers before making any changes, during your adjustment period, and after your new products are released. You should also try and get feedback about what changes to make. Your customers have the most knowledge about what is needed and what is not, so follow their guidance when making changes to your products.

Features vs. Benefits

The features of your products should be related to the benefits your customers want. In addition to getting feedback from your clients, try to figure out what benefits you want to give to your customers. Every feature you include in your product should have a meaning. You shouldn’t see the features of your product as the goal in product development. Instead, decide what benefits you want your customers to receive and how to deliver those benefits. This may happen by trading up or trading down.Determine how you can change your products to better suit your customers’ needs, whether it is by adding or removing features.

References & Resources

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