On Product Line Discipline

RedWhite's 2022/2023 product roadmap is available here. I recommend reading it first.

RedWhite is in the process of cutting back on products being offered. Some products have already been culled (as per the blog article above) and some are still available on the website, pending inventory availability. If you're keen to pick up any of these "going extinct" products, here's a list :

  1. The BIB (red strap)
  2. The BIB Women
  3. The BIB Women Navy

RedWhite also carries 2 seasonal products for Winter. I will only be stocking these products twice a year to meet demand during Winter in the northern hemisphere :

  1. Winter Bib Tights (Men)
  2. Winter Bib Tights (Women)

 Since 2019, I have been exercising greater product line discipline.

Being disciplined with the products I choose to offer allows RedWhite to remain financially sustainable. Each product requires inventory which is capital intensive. Since it is expensive to purchase and maintain inventory, every item needs to have the following :

  1. High sales velocity - sells fast and allows quicker re-stocking cycles.
  2. Relevant - it needs to have a purpose to exist. A purposeful product is of great use to customers and drives sales velocity. Obviously a relevant product has a higher probability of having a high sales velocity.

Every year, I introduce new products and give each item a 2-3 year time horizon to prove themselves. In 2016, I introduced Jerseys, socks, baselayers etc. By 2019, I had established that these items didn't sell well enough justify investing in. A product line cull happened them. You can read about it here.

The cull happened because I wanted to develop 3 new products that added more utility to RedWhite's product line. In early 2021, I launched the following :

  1. Cargo Bib Short (Men , Women) - for ultra endurance riders who needed more storage options
  2. Entry Bib Short - a bib short for new riders on a sub US$100 budget. Getting popular among RedWhite's customers who need something cheaper for use on their ZWIFT rides.
  3. Winter Bib Tights - self explanatory.

 It's been 1 year so far and all 3 products are getting popular as more customers try them and spread the word.

The Cull Continues with a product once sacred

Unfortunately, I am not done culling products. Next on the chopping block is The BIB. It's the first product RedWhite launched with in 2014. For years it was a "sacred product". One not to be touched because of what it symbolises - RWs 1st product.

However, numbers don't lie. Customers predominantly buy The BIB Stealth (the all-black twin brother).

Both bib shorts are identical and mostly black. The only difference is The BIB has red straps and a funky logo. Given how similar both items are + the sales numbers, the logical step is to cull it and redeploy the capital to The BIB Stealth.

This move is supported by a period in 2021 when The BIB Stealth was sold out and The BIB was in stock. Customers largely ignored The BIB and preferred waiting for inventory of the former to arrive. This was a missed opportunity for RedWhite and a lesson about prioritising inventory in popular products.

Less is more and for this reason, The BIB will not be restocked after it sell out this year.

New products will replace culled ones

2 new items will be launched this year. Each new item is being developed based on years of feedback from customers. They bring new utility to RedWhite's customers. These items are :

  1. Shorter Inseam Bib Shorts - for customers below 170cm (5 foot 7 inch)
  2. 3/4 Summer Bibs - for increased sun & weather protection and for some muslim customers who wish to bring an element of modesty to their cycling kit.

Full details of the 2022 / 2023 Product Roadmap.

On Product Line Discipline

A disciplined approach to managing product lines is critical for long term sustainability. It is indeed painful at times to cull products that have customers in favour of introducing new ones. Customers rarely take it well.

However, the long term success of RedWhite is dependent on me being disciplined with product line decisions. These decisions help improve the long term financial health of this business, ensuring that RedWhite thrives for decades to come.

Product line discipline also ensures RedWhite is always able to deploy capital into developing new products for you. If you've been following this blog for some time you know that there is an unlisted Product Development Blog. I write about new stuff i'm working on there. It's not publicly listed on the website, so save the link and visit it from time to time.

If you loved a product that was culled, I am deeply sorry. I hope whatever new I develop in the wake of a cull is of more use to you and makes your riding more enjoyable.

 As always, if you have any thoughts, please leave them in the comment section below 👇.

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