Breadth of Buy

The number of unique options within an assortment, used to assess variety and inform buying decisions.

What is Breadth of Buy?

Breadth of Buy is a retail merchandising term that refers to the number of different product categories or assortments purchased by a retailer for sale in their stores or through their channels. It encompasses the variety of product lines and product types offered, illustrating the range of options available to customers. A wide breadth of buy indicates a diverse and extensive product selection, catering to a broader customer base and potentially increasing sales opportunities.

How Breadth of Buy works

  • Assortment Planning: Retailers engage in assortment planning to decide which product categories or types they want to include in their inventory. This planning considers factors such as customer preferences, market trends, and competitive analysis.

  • Sourcing and Procurement: Once the assortment is decided, retailers work on sourcing and procurement strategies to secure products within those chosen categories. This may involve dealing with multiple suppliers or manufacturers to obtain a diverse range of products.

  • Inventory Management: Retailers must efficiently manage and stock their inventory to ensure that a wide breadth of products is available to customers. This includes optimising stock levels, replenishment strategies, and inventory turnover.

  • Merchandising and Display: The products are displayed in-store or online, making sure that they are presented attractively to customers. Effective merchandising techniques help customers discover and explore the range of products available.

  • Monitoring and Adjustments: Retailers continuously monitor the performance of different product categories and assess customer buying behaviour. They may adjust their breadth of buy strategy by adding, removing, or adjusting product categories to align with changing customer demands and market trends.
A well-managed breadth of buy strategy aims to offer a variety of products that cater to a diverse customer base while meeting customer needs and maximizing sales opportunities. It's an essential component of retail merchandising and product assortment planning.

Pros if Breadth of Buy

  1. Increased Customer Appeal: A wide variety of product categories appeals to a broader customer base, accommodating varying tastes, preferences, and needs. This can attract more customers to the store or website, increasing foot traffic and online traffic.
  2. Revenue Diversification: A wide breadth of buy reduces reliance on a single product category or type, providing revenue diversification. This reduces the risk associated with market fluctuations in specific industries and ensures more stable income streams.
  3. Cross-Selling Opportunities: Offering a diverse range of products creates opportunities for cross-selling and upselling. Customers exploring different product categories may discover additional items they wish to purchase, leading to increased average transaction value and sales.

Cons of Breadth of Buy

  1. Inventory Management Complexity: A wide variety of product categories can make inventory management more complex. Retailers must juggle different supply chains, storage needs, and inventory turnover rates, which can lead to higher carrying costs and potential stockouts or overstocking issues.
  2. Risk of Diluted Brand Identity: Offering too many diverse product categories can dilute a retailer's brand identity and confuse customers. Shoppers may have a harder time understanding what the store stands for, leading to a less defined brand image and potential loss of customer loyalty.
  3. Higher Operational Costs: Managing a wide breadth of buy often requires additional operational costs, including procurement, storage, and logistics expenses. It can also lead to increased marketing and merchandising costs to effectively promote and display the diverse product range.


Below you will find answers to common questions
We're considering expanding our product categories to have a wider Breadth of Buy. How can we determine which new categories to add and ensure this expansion aligns with our brand?
To decide on new product categories for your breadth of buy expansion, conduct thorough market research and assess customer demand. Look at your existing customer base and identify complementary product categories that cater to their needs and preferences. Ensure that the new categories align with your brand's identity and values, maintaining consistency while offering variety.
We currently have a very wide Breadth of Buy, but we're struggling with inventory management and increased operational costs. How can we optimise our inventory and operations to address these challenges?
Inventory management and operational optimisation are crucial in a wide breadth of buy strategy. Implement inventory management software and techniques to better track and control stock levels. Consider fine-tuning your procurement processes and supplier relationships to reduce costs. Regularly review your product assortment to ensure it remains aligned with customer demand, avoiding overstocking or understocking issues.