“Keep it simple” is not stupid

The recent NRF convention gave RetailWire panelists plenty to talk about. The following comment pertains to the issue of “simplicity” as a way to manage assortments and promotions more effectively:

“Keep it simple” is usually (but not always) a good philosophy, whether it applies to assortment planning, branding and sales promotion, or other elements of the retail mix. One exception to the rule: JCPenney, where the effort to simplify the pricing message was communicated and executed poorly with well-known results.

It’s no accident that some of the best-performing retailers (from Aldi to Costco) are working on a much narrower SKU base than many of their competitors, making the store experience and supply chain process both more efficient. And it’s also no accident that many of the retailers with the best results in 2012 preached “simplicity” in their pricing message, from high-end retailers like Nordstrom to the off-pricers continuing to gain market share from promotional department stores.

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