What is a Fineline?

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Learn about:

  • What a fineline is
  • How Walmart uses finelines
  • How finelines affect sales

You’ve probably heard the word “fineline” tossed around by your buyer, so what does it mean? A fineline is, simply put, a way of categorizing your products. Humans are defined by their need to put things into buckets that they understand, and finelining products helps with that. A buyer’s classification of products can go any number of ways, from pricing to color to seasonality. Finelining is typically done according to similar sales patterns. 

The way most buyers categorize products is:

Department ► Category ► Subcategory ► Fineline ► Item

So, for example, a particular tent would be:

Sporting Goods ► Camping Accessories ► Tents ► Large Tents ► Brand 6-Person Tent

In this scenario, the fineline is “Large Tents”. Retailers will typically group their mods together depending on the fineline. One department can have mod drops at different dates, but generally speaking, they’re pretty similar.

Finelines are also unique, meaning that every product will have only one fineline. It’s a way of looking at shopper behavior and helps with forecasting sales. Walmart, for example, assigns a four-digit “fineline number” to each fineline.

Finelines are important because they help maximize sales. Assigning the correct fineline will help with visibility, store placement, and, in general, make your product easier to find by the consumer. The supplier is typically in charge of tracking fineline classifications and when they may need to change.

You’ll need to get with your buyer and replenishment manager to figure out how to categorize your products and find out which fineline to use. Each buyer has a different process, so your fineline may be different depending on the retailer. For Walmart items, you can view the different available finelines in DSS.

SupplyPike Retail Intelligence

SupplyPike has built a software solution for analyzing your sales and forecast data allowing you to do deep inspection into your products’ finelines.

Our software offers fineline filters for such metrics as Ladder Report, Monday Morning Report, Performance Report, Quartile Report, and more. Schedule a tour today!

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