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Strategies to reduce product proliferation


  • Berman, Barry


Major problems associated with product proliferation include higher production, inventory, and record-keeping costs; increased expenses associated with trade promotions and slotting fees; added consumer confusion and stress; and increased susceptibility to stockouts. This article describes how a firm can limit product proliferation without incurring reduced sales or lowering consumer loyalty. An effective product proliferation reduction program needs to be based on several principles: resisting the temptation of asking consumers if a greater assortment is required; classifying goods into consumer behavior-based tiers; using interfunctional product pruning teams; practicing mass customization, where appropriate; placing absolute limits on product choice; and implementing effective strategies for product pruning.

Suggested Citation

  • Berman, Barry, 2011. "Strategies to reduce product proliferation," Business Horizons, Elsevier, vol. 54(6), pages 551-561.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:bushor:v:54:y:2011:i:6:p:551-561
    DOI: 10.1016/j.bushor.2011.07.003

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Kelvin Lancaster, 1990. "The Economics of Product Variety: A Survey," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 9(3), pages 189-206.
    2. Richard Schmalensee, 1978. "Entry Deterrence in the Ready-to-Eat Breakfast Cereal Industry," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 9(2), pages 305-327, Autumn.
    3. K. Sridhar Moorthy, 1984. "Market Segmentation, Self-Selection, and Product Line Design," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 3(4), pages 288-307.
    4. Berman, Barry, 2002. "Should your firm adopt a mass customization strategy?," Business Horizons, Elsevier, vol. 45(4), pages 51-60.
    5. Michaela Draganska & Dipak C. Jain, 2005. "Product‐Line Length as a Competitive Tool," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 14(1), pages 1-28, March.
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    Cited by:

    1. Yanhui Zhao & Yufei Zhang & Joyce (Feng) Wang & Wyatt A. Schrock & Roger J. Calantone, 2020. "Brand relevance and the effects of product proliferation across product categories," Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, Springer, vol. 48(6), pages 1192-1210, November.
    2. Leff Bonney & Christopher R. Plouffe & Michael Brady, 2016. "Investigations of sales representatives’ valuation of options," Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, Springer, vol. 44(2), pages 135-150, March.
    3. Dertwinkel-Kalt, Markus & Wey, Christian, 2020. "Multi-product bargaining, bundling, and buyer power," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 188(C).
    4. Kelting, Katie & Berry, Christopher & van Horen, Femke, 2019. "The presence of copycat private labels in a product set increases consumers' choice ease when shopping with an abstract mindset," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 99(C), pages 264-274.
    5. Tomohiko Sakao & Tatsunori Hara & Ryo Fukushima, 2020. "Using Product/Service-System Family Design for Efficient Customization with Lean Principles: Model, Method, and Tool," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 12(14), pages 1-25, July.
    6. Yanhui Zhao & Yufei Zhang & Joyce (Feng) Wang & Wyatt A. Schrock & Roger J. Calantone, 0. "Brand relevance and the effects of product proliferation across product categories," Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, Springer, vol. 0, pages 1-19.

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