Problem #9 = Discounts Drive Down Price Of Existing Winners
Problem #8 = Relying On 1-2 Customer Acquisition Channels
Problem #7 = Has To Be Right
Problem #6 = Seasonal Misalignment
Problem #5 = Email Clicks And Online Clicks Not Linked To Purchase Database
Problem #4 = Not Killing Existing Products
This is a thorny subject. I frequently talk about the importance of running "winning" items on a frequent basis.
But I learned this lesson at Nordstrom. Way, way back in 2002. In catalogs, stirrup pants were wildly successful. Online, stirrup pants were moderately successful (average). In stores, stirrup pants were never sold - they were hideous in relation to the fashion-centric product assortment in stores.
By running stirrup pants over and over and over again, we built a channel (catalogs) that became disconnected with the reality of the brand.
Think carefully about your core customer and your core prospect ... sometimes they aren't the same. Does the long-time winning items help the core customer remain loyal? Does the long-time winning item help the core prospect convert to a first purchase? Is the long-time winning item increasing in sales over time or decreasing? Is the item decreasing at a faster-than-average rate? Can you find enough new items to perform acceptably so that you can kill the existing product?
Most companies do not have a process to evaluate when to kill an existing item.
We need to put processes in place to determine when existing items should be shut down.