The concept of Line Filling can be defined as the business strategy where the firm plans to increase the number of products in the existing product line. The main idea and intention behind the same are to reduce the level of competition in the market and take advantage of the gap in the market.
Anatomy of Line Filling
- Line Filling is done by the company when it offers a group of products that are quite closely related to each other.
- It means their nature; features, attributes, and functionality are similar to one another.
- Even their target audience is similar. For instance, gender is the same, but the age bracket is different.
- Even the price range and marketing and promotional strategies are similar in nature and overall approach.
- The concept of Line Filling is highly applicable with the FMCG companies that are looking for a competitive advantage and a larger shelf space in the retail and wholesale outlets in the market.
Examples of Line Filling
1) Cosmetic brands:
To discuss in detail the concept of Line Filling, cosmetic brands are one of the best examples. Supposedly a brand offers the range of mascara, kohl eye pencil, nail paints, and lipsticks that are quite famous amongst the target audience.
And to expand the brand value, brand reach and demand a larger shelf space, the brand will come up with the range of lip balms, lip tints, night creams, and lotions satiating every demand of the target audience related to their beauty needs and requirements.
In the same example, the other scenario can be that the brand is offering the cosmetic products for young and teenage girls and it comes up with the strategy of Line Filling by offering the products for the middle-aged women. It fills the line gap with product offerings such as anti-aging lotions and hair coloring products.
2) Automobile brands:
The next best example for the Line Filling is the automobile brands work on the constant endeavor to offer the vehicles for every target market and segment. For instance, if an automobile brand is quite successful with its range of sedan and hatch bag car models and figures out that there are a need and gap for the SUV vehicles in the market.
Plus its competitors are offering the same and taking away its market share. Hence, the brand will work on the strategy of Line Filling by manufacturing and offering SUV’s as well by filling in the market gaps.
Taking it further, the brand can also target the other market segments by offering heavy-duty vehicles such as tempo’s, buses, and jeeps amongst others.
6 Factors of Line Filling
1) Length of the product line
It is very important for the management of the firm to consider the factors of the product length in the market before finalizing the decision of Line Filling. If the profits of the firm can be elevated by manifolds with the strategy of Line Filling, then there is certainly a need for the same.
And if the product line is too long and the losses can be curbed and controlled by removing the items from the product line that are not selling at a higher rate, then it is certainly not a good decision to indulge in the strategy of Line Filling.
The firm has to research well about the performance of each of its products in the market before finalizing the strategy of Line Filling.
2) Innovation is the key
The strategy of Line Filling is quite a significant and a crucial one and can make, break, or shake the image of the brand. If the new line of the product is quite similar to the existing ones already in the market and it doesn’t have the potential to solve the pain areas of the consumer, then the entire strategy will be futile and of no use.
The new product that is to be launched in the Line Filling needs to have the elements of innovation and novelty so that it can attract the interest of the target market and can make the brand successfully thrive in the market.
3) Financial capacity of the firm
The firm needs to do a thorough internal check of the accomplishment of the financial objectives, availability of the working capital, funding from the investors, and other such capital requirements.
As to take the step and strategy of Line Filling, it is very important to have strong financial backing. There are certain fixed and variable overheads and expenses that the firm needs to carry out during the entire process and activity of Line Filling.
4) Check on the competition
Along with the internal introspection and study, the firm also needs to study the moves of the competitive brands in the market. Details that need to be checked are:
- What are their product offerings in the market that are similar to the firm’s product?
- Are they following the Line Filling strategy?
- If yes, what types of products are they launching in the same line?
- If not, what is the reason for not indulging in the same?
It is very crucial to keep a tab on the actions of the competitors in the market and then plan such important business strategies as they require a lot of hard work, finance, and availability of the resources.
5) Economic stability
Many of the firms go ahead with the strategy of Line Filling to successfully survive and thrive amidst the changing market dynamics and economical environment. The markets are never stable, and the market conditions can change at any given point of time, affecting the sales and profits of the firm.
And in such situations, if the company has a huge line of products in the market, it will be able to fetch sales and profits from one product or the other and stay relevant in the market amidst the tough business environment.
6) Availability of the resources
Apart from having the ready financial resources in hand, the firm also requires other resources to be successful with the strategy of Line Filling.
Resources such as manpower, expertise, knowledge, market intelligence, and experience are required for the successful implementation of the Line Filling strategy.
Line Filling case study
The mobile and technology giants Apple and Samsung have always been at war of the competition with their offerings of the smartphones. Apple, on the one hand, follows the strategy of catering to the niche and selected audience with its limited line of phones.
Whereas Samsung has been following the business strategy of Line Filling since a very long time and the brand has built a loyal fan base, followers, and customers all over the globe. The brand offers smartphones in an array of price brackets catering to a large number of target markets.