Products That Every General Retail Store Should Keep in Stock

If you are the owner of a retail store, then you probably often take stock of what you have in store, what sells and what doesn’t. There are certain products that most people purchase regularly from a general retail store. That means that you need to ensure that you stock these items in order to close the sale.

Which products should every general retail store keep in stock?

Toothpaste. As simple as it sounds, a general retailer should have sufficient stock of toothpaste. There should be a variety of brands, from Colgate to Aquafresh. Everyone has to brush their teeth and many times people go on holiday or business trips then they forget to pack toothpaste. In such cases they will quickly run to the nearest general retailer to buy toothpaste. If you have their favourite brand in store, they will buy it then and there. Also keep stock of toothbrushes, just in case.

Variety of Snacks. As mentioned in the previous paragraph, customers will come in to the store for one thing but will leave with more. Everybody loves snack items whether it is a chocolate or a pack of chips, you need to keep a variety of quick snack products in your store. Preferably near the cash register where the customer has to wait in the queue. This is good time to sell to the customer’s snack desire as they will make the impulse decision while standing in line to pay.

Shampoo and Conditioner. Keeping these items in stock will keep your customers coming back. Many people don’t stock up on these products and only realise that they need more when they run out of shampoo and conditioner. Then they run to a reasonably priced retailer to make their purchase.

Deodorant and Roll On. Deodorising products are always required by customers. Keep an assortment of sprays and roll-on’s for male and female customers. Each customer will have their own preferred scents. If you have it in stock, they will easily make the decision to buy it.

Body Lotion. If a female customer comes in to your store to buy deodorant and roll on, they will most likely want to purchase body lotion to complete their cleaning regiment.

If you keep these items in stock, you will not only sell the product that the customer came in for, but you may even sell additional products such as snacks, sweets and chocolates or any other enticing product.

How Does the Product Life Cycle Affect Your Role As a Marketer?

Among the challenges that marketers face in real life experiences versus school theories is the application of what we learn in our professional life. Schools updating frequently the books they use to reflect market development are limited. Even when some attempt to do it, they are not able to collect enough examples to prepare you for real life experiences. By all means, they cannot teach you a life time experience in a 3 credits course.

When I studied Business, I focused on marketing courses. I liked the field but I never thought I will be traveling to so many countries and exposed to different cultures. No university could have prepared me to such experience, yet I was taught the basics.

One of the concepts I learned in marketing is the Product Life Cycle (PLC) and its effects on the marketing mix.  PLC is a term used to define the various stages that a product goes through. From its conception to its production, its maturity to its decline, the product goes through multiple phases and they are usually referred to as: Introduction, Growth, Maturity, and Decline. Although I find PLC to be a sales concept rather than marketing, the interrelation between sales and marketing makes the involvement of the marketers essential as they will have to adopt various approaches when facing the different stages.

Most of the articles I read about the PLC assume that the product is new, the competition is low to none, and that customers need to be educated and prompted to act towards the product. How about the not so new products? What if you are launching a competitive product in the market? Does your PLC follow your competitor’s product PLC? My answer is no.

I have worked in multiple types of markets varying from ones where my company had monopoly over mobile telecommunication to extremely competitive markets where we were the 4th operator to enter the market.  I used the PLC as a reference although I believe that the decline phase in mobile communication is not something that I will see in my lifetime hence my preference in using the term Product Cycle versus Product Life Cycle. Surely, I watched the decline of some technologies used, only to be replaced by newer ones (AMPS versus GSM for example), I have also seen companies sold to bigger ones without affecting the presence of the product itself (mobile communication).

As I attempt to define the product cycle below, the reader should take into consideration that my approach is based on a professional experience to introduce a long term product in a competitive market by linking it to the marketing mix versus defining its characteristics from a sales point of view.

1. Introduction:

  • Product: Voice telephony is already known to the public. The investment in educating the public about the product is slim to none. Branding is usually what I focus on in order for the public to identify my product and be able to differentiate it from my competitors’,
  • Price: “Skim the cream” pricing was applicable when I worked for a company that monopolized the mobile telecommunication. The pricing policy to apply needs to be almost in line with my competitors, since it needs to attract customers without causing a price war between the operators (Fact: Companies need you as a customer for your money)
  • Place:  Distribution depends on the type of market. If you have enough flexibility you can opt for direct sales via your own shops, through already established distribution channels (when existing distributors are not bound by your competitors’ exclusivity contracts) or by using the franchising approach. Usually I am faced with budget limitation and I start with using the existing distribution channels.
  • Promotion: Probably the most essential development in this stage. You will need to position yourself by differentiating yourself from your competition. Your message should be clear; you are not just another mobile operator. You need to build public awareness about your product without forgetting to position yourself in this competitive market. Depending on your strategy, your message is targeting the general public or the niche you are aiming for. Usually I start by targeting the general public since mobile telephony is used on a massive scale.

I should mention that usually at this stage I am introducing the basic mobile services. Due to the large investment made by the company it is not logical to invest in a multiple level of services hence increasing the expenditures. However the basic level of services should be able to offer a certain level of flexibility that guarantees positioning as a competitor.

2. Growth:

It is usually the stage where the company is building the branding differentiation. If your positioning message was well thought of at the introduction stage, then you already differentiated yourself from the competition. By now, if you have not achieved your target, you are probably working in a different company. You should learn from your mistake, although strategies a very useful in marketing tactics are as important in competitive markets.

  • Product: Enhance quality while focusing on your message to the target market. In the companies I worked for, enhancing quality is usually increasing coverage areas and upgrading congested sites. You may also want to introduce new services that support your product. I usually have SMS based services launched at this stage.
  • Price: It will usually depend on the competition. You do not want to be the first to start a price war yet you should be ready for it especially if your marketing strategy reflected its success into a declining market share for your competitors. If you had launched new services you may be able to set your own pricing if your competitors do not have them. Beware of setting high prices for those services though, your competitors may be able to launch them faster than you could expect.
  • Place: You have introduced your product; it’s time to expand your distribution channels. Identify the weaknesses of the first stage and try to explore the possibilities. At this stage I am usually adding a direct presence in the critical areas and adding incentives to encourage exclusivity.
  • Promotion: Due to the type of product I am dealing with this is where I target the niche segment, although I keep the general public message.

3. Maturity:

Your competitors are pushing hard, and so should you. When the first two stages are complete successfully you have already guaranteed a market share that you want to keep. Sometimes due to their high investment your competitors are the ones who have problems defending their market share (They matured earlier than you did). If that’s the case, you are still in the growth stage of your product. Reasons for your competitor maturity or a later decline may be an aging network which increases failure in calls and initially high operating expenses such as over-employment (trust me it happens).

  • Product: Enhancing features and services (Value Added Services). Although voice is the product of choice in many markets, the introduction and variation of SMS services can help in extending the duration of your product in the market.
  • Price: Usually lower than the stage before as your competitor matches with your VAS (Value added services)
  • Place: Distribution is fierce, you might have to increase the incentives offered to the distribution chain to keep your market share.
  • Promotion: Although you generally promoted your positioning and differentiated your product, you should focus on promoting the differentiation in the features between your product and your competitors’.  (For example: Your rates per minute of usage are viewed as being higher but accepted because you are covering a wider area than your competitor. You differentiated yourself as being the operator covering all the country. If that was the case, maybe it’s time to focus that you are actually charging per second although you were announcing the minute price)

4. Decline:

Mobile communication became part of our life and I don’t see it fading any time soon. It is part of the communication process that evolved. However, some technologies used for communication faded and were replaced by other types (Semaphore flag signaling, Morse code, Telex, etc…)

In mobile communication when we talk about GSM (Global System for Mobile Communications) we know it went from phase 1 to phase 2 and the 3G (Although in developing countries Phase 2.5 is still not applicable).

The marketing mix in this stage will depend on your company’s strategy. The cases I witnessed are as follows:

  • Maintaining the product by adding features such as the Ring Back Tone, MMS, and GPRS (General packet radio service, which is in brief the service that allows us to offer data)
  • Investing further by upgrading to a newer technology hence re-launching the product. Although maintaining (the point above) may be considered as investing further, they are separated due to the high difference in expenditure figures between the two.
  • Sustaining the product by offering it to a niche of customers. When my company decided to replace the old AMPS system with the new GSM we operated both networks together for a long period. The Advanced Mobile Phone System (AMPS) was more reliable when it came to fax services and our business customers wanted to maintain this option. Another example happened in a different market where existing operators (and competitors) were not authorized to apply for GSM license until our exclusivity term comes to an end with the government. By using a first generation cellular technology such as AMPS they had to choose what to do. Our competitor kept a minimal number of employees (6 people in the whole company among which 2 were in the commercial department) and offered his service to his loyal yet VIP customers.
  • Discontinue the product. When it was time to take a decision as the product entered its decline stage, the majority shareholders of my previous company decided to sell to a firm willing to continue in this line of business. Another way is to simply dismantle and disregard the old product. When the AMPS system (from the previous point c.) became unsustainable, the main towers we used in the new GSM network while other technical equipment was sold.

In a competitive market you cannot deal with your product as an exclusive case. There are many market variations that will affect your decision and performance. The product cycle although theoretical, can help you set your strategy and tactics to ensure your success in your role as a marketer in your company.

What Are General Purpose Blades?

A general purpose blade is a saw blade that is designed to effectively rip and crosscut such that the user is able to continue working without having to change saw blades. Such blades feature a combination of a lower tooth count and larger gullets than crosscut blades, which enables them to rip effectively. In addition, the alternate top bevel (ATB) tooth configuration similarly makes them effective for clean crosscutting. Blades for general uses are great in that they enable you to save a lot of time as you don’t have to switch continually back and forth between rip and crosscut blades. If you are searching for a saw blade that does it all, your search is over.

Types of General Purpose Blades

  • Cut-off & Crosscut

Features an Alternate Top Bevel Grind or ATB which makes it a great choice for heavy production in cabinetmaking shops. This blade may also feature Triple Chip Grind or TC and take the form of a heavy duty production saw blade that is ideal for general trim and crosscutting.

  • Combination Ripping & Crosscut

Features an 4-ATB and 1 Raker and is ideal for tasks where one blade must do almost everything i.e. rip and crosscut.

  • General Purpose Cut-Off

This blade features Alternate Top Bevel Grind or ATB and is similar to other blades, only that it has a slightly lower hook angle which improves surface quality. This blade may also feature a Triple Chip Grind or TC and is excellent for cutting single or double sided plastic laminated material. This blade leaves smooth chip-free cuts on the top and bottom.

  • Multi-Use Ripping

Features an Alternate Top Bevel Grind and is a great choice for all around use.

  • Prestige

Features an ATB and is a saw blade that is truly designed to do it all. The blade provides crisp, clean cuts both with and across the grain.

  • Thin Kerf General Purpose

Features Alternate Top Bevel Grind and is designed to reduce stress on the saw, as well as reduce stock loss.

  • Portable General Purpose

Features ATB and makes for the perfect upgrade or replacement saw blade for portable saws. This blade is also available in a variation that offers clean, fast, burn-free in framing and pressure treated stock, as well as in plywood and other construction-grade sheet goods.

The majority of saw blades are designed to perform their best work in a specific type of cutting operation. There are blades which have been designed to rip lumber, crosscut lumber, cut veneered plywood and panels, cut plastics and laminates, cut melamine and non-ferrous metals. General purpose blades are designed to work well in two or more cut types. When selecting the right type of blade for your needs, be sure to take into account the right number of teeth, gullet type, tooth configuration and hook angle.

What Is an AGO Oil Product or Automatic Gas Oil? Finding Authentic AGO Petroleum Supply/Supplier

A recent survey conducted by this writer on the Internet for a quick, snap shot sense of the subject matter, immediately revealed that there’s a state of relatively scanty knowledge of, or information about, this particular refined petroleum product called the AGO, among international oil dealers and suppliers. In deed, in one rather remarkable instance involving a popular ‘Ask for Answers’ online discussion portal, one reader expressly posited the question, soliciting information from the readers as to what is/was ‘the meaning’ of the petroleum term AGO, among three other refined petroleum products, which he went on to list – DPK, PMS, JET A1. There was just one response – a response that has stood the same for 5 years since. Oddly enough, however, of the 4 oil products that the answerer named, the answerer was exactly accurate in the definition he proffered on three of those. But, on ONLY one of them, the AGO product, the answer given by the answerer was somewhat slightly off, as he gave the definition of the product as meaning ‘Automotive Gas & Oils.’

So, first, we start with this basic question: What is AGO Oil Product, or the Automotive Gas Oil?

What the AGO Oil Product Is

The term AGO, which specifically stands for the Automotive Gas Oil, is the name given to the fuel type that’s used by road vehicles (cars, trucks, buses, vans, and the like) that are powered by DIESEL engines. That is, in a word, it is the diesel vehicle engine fuel. In terms of how the fuel gets to be produced or manufactured, the fuel is the type that, in the distillation and processing of crude oil work, is obtained in the mid-boiling range of that process. Related fuels which are used for non-road applications including off-road diesel engines, such as the Industrial Gas Oils (IGOs), are obtained from the same ‘fraction’ of the crude oil barrel.

Technically speaking, the term Automotive Gas Oil (AGO) is the technical name used by the oil industry in describing this particular fuel. However, in terms of the ordinary consumers in the market, the term ‘automotive diesel fuel,’ or just plain ‘diesel,’ is the more commonly used and more widespread name that the ordinary consumer uses in describing this fuel. Petroleum products are usually grouped into THREE categories: the ‘light distillates’ (LPG, gasoline, naphtha), the ‘middle’ distillates (kerosene, diesel), and the ‘heavy’ distillates and residuum (heavy fuel oil, lubricating oils, wax, asphalt). This classification is based primarily on the way crude oil is distilled and separated into fractions (called distillates and residuum). Within the oil industry, the generic oil industry name that’s used to describe gasoils – which include both AGO and IGO – fall under the ‘Middle Distillates’ category, meaning those kinds of refined oil products whose ‘boiling range’ fall in the MIDDLE, that is, between those whose range fall in the higher levels or in the lower levels. (See the Chart below). As you can readily see in the Chart below, at a Boiling Range of between 520 to 650, the AGO falls right in the middle range of most categories of the refined oil products.

The Market & Primary Uses of the AGO oil Product Among Its Customers

AGO is used in two main types of vehicles: 1) the heavy-duty vehicles, such as trucks and buses, and 2) the light-duty vehicles, such as vans and passenger cars. In most countries, including the USA as well as the developing countries, the heavy-duty vehicles make up the bulk of the market for AGO. In a country such as Japan, there is a significant light-duty vehicle sector, but it is in Europe that the demand for AGO from this sector is highest, with more than one-third coming from the passenger cars and other light vehicles. Customer requirements between the two types of fuel usage differ to some extent. Diesel engines are widely used in heavy-duty vehicles. Such vehicles are frequently operated in fleets and are re-fuelled centrally with the fuel delivered directly from the supplier. In the light-duty vehicle sector, recent advances in engine design now also allow light-duty diesel engines to compete with gasoline engines in terms of the performance standards. Light-duty vehicles are generally re-fuelled through retail outlets. In any case, whether it is in the light-duty sector or in the heavy-duty sector, in both sectors the customer will generally be looking for the fuel that provides economy, power, reliability and environmental acceptability.

Use As Car Fuel

Diesel-powered vehicles, such as AGO-powered vehicles, generally have a better fuel economy than equivalent gasoline engines and produce less greenhouse gas emission. Their greater economy is due to the higher energy per-liter content of diesel fuel and the intrinsic efficiency of the diesel engine. True, petrodiesel’s higher density results in higher greenhouse gas emissions per liter compared to gasoline. However, the modern diesel-engine automobiles have a 20-40% better fuel economy, and this well offsets the higher per-liter emissions of greenhouse gases, while a diesel-powered vehicle emits 10-20 percent less greenhouse gas than comparable gasoline vehicles. Biodiesel-powered diesel engines offer substantially improved emission reductions compared to petrodiesel or gasoline-powered engines, while retaining most of the fuel economy advantages over conventional gasoline-powered automobiles.

How Crude Oil Fractions Are Processed Into Refined Oil Products, Including AGO and Other Products

How do we get to have refined petroleum products, of which a product like AGO is one? Put simply, it is out of the refinery processing (i.e., out of the ‘refining’) of crude oil that many other usable products – products that we generally refer to as refined or finished petroleum products – are produced. Meaning products such as gasoil, gasoline, kerosene, AGO, etc. The process of oil ‘refining’ or processing is a very complex one, and involves both chemical reactions and physical separations. The substance that’s called Crude Oil is composed of thousands of different ‘molecules,’ and according to chemical engineers and molecular experts, it would be nearly impossible to isolate every molecule that exists in crude oil and thereby make finished products from each molecule.

Consequently, the way chemists and engineers deal with this problem, is simply by them isolating the mixtures (also called ‘fractions’) of molecules according to what is known as the mixture’s “boiling point range.” For example, molecules for the gasoline product might boil within the ‘range’ of from 90 to 400 oF. While the range at which the home heating oil product’s molecular mixes could boil might be from 500 to 650 oF, and so on. For purposes of convenience and simplification, each mixture or fraction is assigned a specific name to identify it.

The following chart illustrates the ‘boiling range’ and name of the petroleum fractions.

Fraction

Boiling Range,oF.

Butanes and lighter

<90

Light straight run gasoline (LSR)

or light naphtha (LN)

90-190

Naphtha or heavy naphtha (HN)

190-380

Kerosene

380-520

Distillate or atmospheric gas oil (AGO)

520-650

Residua

650 +

Vacuum gas oil (VGO)

650-1000

Vacuum Residua

1000 +

In sum, refined products are products that are produced by isolating the mixtures or fractions of molecules that come from the raw crude oil, and combining them, along with those from various refinery processing units. These fractions are ‘blended’ or mixed to satisfy specific properties that are important in allowing the refined product to perform in accordance with the specifications or requirements that are designed by or in an engine, in terms of ease in handling, reducing the undesirable emissions produced when the product is burned, etc

FINDING OR OBTAINING A SUPPLY OF THE AGO

Simply stated, the KEY term and task here is finding an authentic AGO oil product supply or supplier. Or an AGO buyer, as the case may be. Why? This is simply because, today, in the international refined oil products trading market, specially in the so-called “secondary” market, probably the single most fundamental and most difficult common problem which legitimate dealers who seek to find reliable suppliers have, is often NOT so much finding a party who will claim heaven and earth that he/she has the AGO oil product to sell and can supply you the product. Or that he can buy one from you, as the case may be. BUT finding such a party who is actually AUTHENTIC & LEGITIMATE, and can actually DELIVER on the product.

MOST PEOPLE WHO SAY THEY’RE SUPPLIERS OF PRODUCT PROVIDE NO VERIFIED OR VERIFIABLE PROOFS OR SOURCES

A well-established reality and a given today, is that in world oil deals involving trading in the crude oil and refined petroleum products, specially in the so-called international “secondary” market, probably the single most fundamental and most difficult common problem which legitimate buyers frequently confront today, is the problem of the genuineness and authenticity of the supplier of product and his ability to deliver on the sales offer he presents. Refined petroleum products, such as AGO, D2, Mazut, Jet fuel, etc., are certainly not immune or exempt from such endemic problem that seems to plague the entire secondary market oil trade industry, but rather are, in deed, right in the middle of it.

It’s a problem whose central source can simply be summed up in one word – namely, that not unlike most persons or entities who claim via the Internet to be oil or petroleum products suppliers or “sellers,” most who claim to be suppliers of AGO, as well (or of similar refined oil products, such as the diesel gasoil or Russian D2, Mazut, Jet fuels, and the like), either provide NO proofs or evidence at all of that, or provide proofs or evidence that are often absolutely meaningless because they’re unverified and unverifiable. That is, for the serious or credible Internet petroleum buyer involved in the world oil deals and seriously intent on finding duly verifiable authentic AGO oil product supply or supplier, there are generally just NO such supply or suppliers of the product in the so-called “secondary” market.

Most such serious or genuine AGO buyers (or suppliers, as well, as the case may be) seeking to find equally genuine AGO suppliers (or sellers seeking buyers, when applicable) in the international secondary market, find that the problem is particularly acute and compounded by the fact that almost all “sellers” (or suppliers), or their brokers or intermediaries, that one meets on the Internet, are essentially unknown, unestablished dealers who lack any name, reputation or identity, or any known location on the planet, and lack any record or history of past performance in doing the business. In consequence, a serious AGO buyer, for example, is often being asked – and actually being realistically expected – to, in effect, merely take “the word” of some dubious, anonymous, unidentified and apparently unidentifiable, phantom “seller” or “supplier” for it, with no credible supporting evidence provided, and no verification or authentication whatsoever of the Internet seller’s offer or claims.

In sum, he’s being asked – and actually being expected – to risk, or, rather, to gamble away, his hard-earned mini-fortune of some hundreds of millions of dollars merely on such a “word.”! This, it should be added, is being expected of the buyer in a business environment and climate that is patently awash in fraud and a network of notorious scammers worldwide!

WHERE TO BUY AGO OIL PRODUCT, HOW DO YOU FIND THE SUPPLIERS?

Clearly, then, if you are a real buyer of product seriously intent on finding authentic diesel AGO oil product supply or suppliers (or those of any similar refined oil products, such as the diesel gasoil or Russian D2, Mazut, Jet fuels, and the like) – meaning one that is duly verified and verifiable – probably the most critical, vital, even life-or-death task for you, is that you had better be sure to develop, in some way or manner, a skilled and effective strategy for finding, vetting, selecting out and authenticated suppliers that can provide you reliable steady supply of the product, and which will be scam-free, assured, and long-lasting.

How?

Quite oddly enough, the answer to that question is actually not that complicated or complex. For our limited purposes here, suffice it simply to just say, that there is, in fact, such a methodology, tool and strategy for doing just that long in practical use in the industry. Long in practical use by knowledgeable, experienced and trained eyes and experts, and the successful traders, in the business. If you are, yourself, in fact a provable legitimate trader or authentic practitioner of the petroleum trade (assuming you are actually one) operating in the secondary market, and are truly serious about finding and securing authentic and reliable AGO oil product supply or supplier, or about finding and securing a buyer of equivalent caliber for the product, as the case may be, that’s actually readily within your reach. There’s just really one crucial proviso, only – namely, PROVIDING that you’re equipped with the requisite knowledge, skill, training, tool, methodology and practical experience, by which to undertake the whole process of doing so.

To be sure, true, in today’s world oil deals of the international secondary market, including sourcing for AGO product, which is largely an Internet-dominated world, and is for the most part prevalently awash in fake dealers and scammers, finding duly verified authentic petroleum or automotive gas oil product supply, suppliers and sellers of such caliber (or buyers, just as well), is not ordinary or commonplace. Nor is it at all an easy task to attain. It is, however, by no means impracticable, nor are such suppliers non-existent. Far, far from it! Quite to the contrary, such suppliers abound. It’s only that you just have to search around for such suppliers (or the legitimate buyers, as well, as the case may be) more diligently and skillfully and in the right places from the right sources, and know precisely how and where. That requires, unavoidably, supreme industry knowledge, skills set, training, know-how, connections, precious time expenditure, and experience.

FOR A FOLLOW UP

YOU WANT TO FOLLOW UP ON HOW TO FIND AUTHENTIC AGO OIL PRODUCT SUPPLY OR SUPPLIERS, OR EVEN BUYERS, THAT ARE ALREADY VERIFIED, CONFIRMED AND VERIFIABLE AND SCAM-FREE? Please see the link provided in the author’s Resource Box below.