April 17, 2024

Well, You Got Me Fired

I'd run what I now call a "Merchandise Dynamics" project for a brand. This brand was struggling, badly. When I looked at the data, it was obvious that the Merchandise Executive made two classic merchandising mistakes.

  1. The Executive discontinued items that customers enjoyed.
  2. The Executive failed to find new items that were compelling ... both under-utilizing new item and sourcing new items that performed worse than new items performed historically.

It's common for a brand to survive new item missteps.

It's uncommon for a brand to thrive when discontinuing items that customers enjoyed.

I presented my findings ... I got blowback from the merchandising team as I expected to, and then I went home.

A few months later, my phone rings. It's the Merchandising Executive from the brand I just studied. Here's how the call started.
  • "Well, you got me fired. Now you're going to help me get a new job."

I didn't get the guy fired. Discontinuing items that customers enjoyed while not replacing them with items that customers equally enjoy gets EVERY merchandising leader fired.

I'm seeing problems in 2024. I could have cared less about new merchandise problems in 2021/2022 when merchandise was sitting on a ship in Long Beach for a month. I care a lot about what I'm seeing now that most of the challenges have been resolved. There are decisions to kill items that shouldn't be made. There are new items that have no chance of success.

There's a reason I am revising Merchandise Dynamics in 2024 ... and there is a reason you are hiring me to perform the work. Something is broken when it comes to the merchandise you sell.

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