As savvy retailers aim to differentiate and deliver an engaging shopping experience, more are paying attention to assortment planning and ensuring they have the right types, quantities, prices and sizes of merchandise to not only meet sales goals, but appeal to consumer preferences. Technology-based assortment planning can give retailers an edge, ensuring they have the right mix of merchandise and visibility into the impacts of assortment, pricing, allocation, and replenishment decisions.
Retail management typically relies on spreadsheets to understand what needs to be purchased and sold each month to reach sales and profit goals. Unfortunately, paper-based processes limit the quality of decisions being made and may result in lost ROI.
A technology-infused assortment planning process that uses science and machine-learning gives retailers the flexibility to create customer-centric assortments, make informed decisions and solve the challenge of assortment management in retail. Assortment planning brings together the technology and experience creation right to the retailer’s fingertips, creating significant ROI opportunities. Read these tips on how retail planning and demand management tools can bring forecasting precision to assortment planning, replenishment optimization, and more.
Assortment planning solutions allow retailers with multiple storefronts to customize assortments based on location. People in different regions have different wants, needs, and tastes. For example, umbrellas and raincoats might be a staple item in Seattle, but compete for shelf space with flip-flops and tank tops in Florida. Being able to target regional preferences and figure out the product lines, brands and quantities needed to meet demand will allow for more specialized stock without excessive inventory.
As assortment planning tools become more affordable, smaller retailers should begin to consider industry-specific options. Advanced planning technology is not limited to large retailers. Local brick and mortar businesses can reap many benefits of retail science data. Knowledge of local trends and preferences will decrease overstock and limit stock that will not sell well in the area. When every penny counts, it makes sense to be sure each one is being used wisely.
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Determining what styles and colors to buy, how much, and when to mark down may seem like a wild guessing game when relying on spreadsheets and email. With learning-based retail technology, stock plans can be run through a demand engine which can accurately estimate profitability based on various scenarios. A proactive assortment strategy will allow for more accurate financial targets and goals.
Making sure you have the right style and color assortment options for your customers has always been at the core of retailing. Investing in an assortment planning tool will create and show immediate value and ROI, helping you have the right merchandise to stand out in a crowded marketplace and build future customer loyalty.
Andy Cariveau is vice president of Retail at Avaap, where he is responsible for enhancing the customer experience with Infor software including tools that can help you create a modern approach to assortment planning.