Assortment planning is a complex process. Your team has to consider so many different things before they can arrive at the right assortment plans. A good assortment planning solution can make this process easier, quicker, and more accurate.
Assortment Planning Solutions
When you plan your merchandise assortment, you need to consider everything that influences what you stock in your stores. The customer base you serve, current trends, your past sales, the kind of assortments your competitors have, the price points at which you offer products, your new expansions plans if any, and so much more.
You will be planning the overall merchandise assortment for your store, the typical items that define your brand. You need to consider performances of individual stores, you need to factor in the customer demographics and customer preferences in each location, create store clusters based on similarities, plan for each cluster.
Today, it is not just your next door competitor you must consider, you have to factor in online retail competitors, plan well for your own cross-channel sales, what you will be offering in your in-store inventory and your online catalog.
How Assortment Planning Tools Can Help
In today’s complex retail scenario, planning your assortment using spreadsheets is not an efficient method. There are assortment planning tools available that can make the task much easier, more efficient and help you arrive at the best merchandise optimizations.
Combining big data and artificial intelligence, the best assortment planning tools like Intelligence Node’sInCompetitor can help your assortment planning team create the optimal assortments for all your stores.
These tools can integrate into your existing enterprise solutions to gather relevant data from sales, inventory and customer records. These data are used to perform an analysis of your store’s past product assortment and their sales, identify customer buying patterns, identify the kind of items that sell, sort out the slow movers etc.
Assortment planning tools do not just analyze your internal data. They also analyze your competitor’s assortments, their performance, your own historical data of assortments and sales, the customer base you serve, market trends etc. They will perform an analysis of your pricing and marketing through the entire product life cycle.
With this holistic picture, these tools use your inputs to evaluate what will sell. They can also make good predictions of possible future trends, new opportunities for expansion, how to prune your inventory to optimize the product mix for the best results.
All Processes are Automated
These tools help you through the whole process of assortment planning, from designing broad plans down to helping you decide the length and breadth of your inventory in each category. They also make it easy to decide the amount to allocate to each location, which products to stock in particular stores or store clusters, You will be able to easily identify gaps in your assortment, get insights on how to combine certain items to boost the sales of slow sellers and so much more.
Solutions like InCompetitor help you compare your catalog with those of your competitors, identify what sets you apart, track competitor catalog changes, quickly spot opportunities that you can take advantage of. Using all the information gathered through big data and analysis, and inputs from your merchandise planning team, these systems can help you design the best assortment plans.
In today’s challenging retail environment, Big Data and AI-led solutions are vital to design the best merchandise assortments for your stores.