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 merchandising team manage assortment 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. Consider your customer base, current trends, past sales, competitors’ assortments, pricing strategies, potential expansion plans, and other factors.
You will be planning the overall merchandise assortment for your store, the typical items that define your brand. Evaluate store performance, consider local customer demographics and preferences, create store clusters with similar characteristics, and develop tailored plans 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.
With AI and big data, tools like Intelligence Node’s InCompetitor can optimize assortments for all your stores.
These tools can integrate into your existing enterprise solutions to gather relevant data from sales, inventory and customer records. Data helps analyze past assortments and sales, uncover buying patterns, and manage popular items while addressing slow movers.
Assortment planning tools do not just analyze your internal data. They analyze competitor assortments, performance, your historical data, customer base, and market trends, among other factors. 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 predict future trends, identify expansion opportunities, and optimize product mix by suggesting inventory adjustments for better results.
All Processes are Automated
These tools assist throughout the assortment planning process, from creating overarching plans to determining inventory size and variety within each category. They also simplify allocation decisions for each location, product selection for specific stores or clusters, and identifying assortment gaps. They provide insights on combining items to improve the sales of slower-moving products and offer numerous other benefits.
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 tough retail landscape, Big Data and AI solutions are crucial for crafting optimal store merchandise assortments.