As I wrote about in last week’s blog, Boston Retail Partners (BRP) recently published a special report covering retailers’ top merchandising planning priorities for 2016. Based on a JustEnough sponsored survey of retail industry executives, BRP identified the top 10 initiatives and functions retailers wish to upgrade and improve upon in their planning systems. The survey revealed that overall retailers want to better understand and satisfy today’s customer in this complex environment. The most crucial priority is for retailers to offer the right assortments and accurate levels of inventory to drive revenue and meet business objectives.
Last week’s blog featured the number one priority– Improving Analytics. Today I’ll highlight two additional priorities that are centered on assortments and space.
Better Integrate Assortment and Space Planning
Due to the increase in omni-channel retailing, space planning has changed dramatically. Retailers have shifted more inventory to meet online demands, decreased store space and have even closed stores. This has made the coordination between integrating assortments with the space planning function more of a challenge than ever before. Increased localized assortment planning efforts also creates a burden on the retailer to figure out how to optimize space appropriately in various stores and online channels.
It’s easy to understand that 36 percent of retailers surveyed are looking to improve integration between assortment and space planning for a more accurate view to assortment demand. This would enable them to overcome the constraint of space and the amount of capital to invest in their merchandise assortments.
22 percent of retailers surveyed indicate it’s a top priority to enhance their assortments and that getting the right mix of assortments is still a challenge. Success in retail comes down to the right assortment plan and the execution of that plan. Planners need to not only optimize assortments at a high level but also down to localization at the store-level by applying alternate hierarchies.
From a store planning perspective, the key is clustering and uncovering anomalies by location characteristics such as region, climate and customer demographics. Retailers need to focus on making sure their planning tools have alternate hierarchies for store-type attributes enabling them to hone in on each store’s appearance. The overall goal being to customize assortments without having to manage each store individually.
JustEnough Can Help You to Create Product Assortments and Space Plans that Drive Sales and Margins
JustEnough automates the assortment planning process from store clustering through to the lowest level of product and store planning while also taking the guess work out of allocating space. JustEnough Assortment Planning helps retailers to easily navigate the process of creating localized assortments based on financial objectives. Creating a single view of the assortment plan allows for product to be assigned to planograms, aligning with space plans and constraints. JustEnough Space Planning allows for space utilization analysis and defines utilization in the future through accurate planogram creation and assignment.
Contact us to learn more about how we can help you optimize your assortments and overall retail planning for an improved competitive advantage.
The Top 10 Merchandise Planning Priorities
The report identified ten merchandise planning priorities listed below. I will continue to outline the rest in upcoming blog posts:
- Improve Analytics – 58%
- Reduce Markdowns – 36%
- Better Integrate Assortments and Space Planning – 36%
- Enhance Merchandise Planning – 33%
- Enhance Assortments – 22%
- Decrease Merchandising Decision Lead Times – 22%
- Improve Execution Response Time – 22%
- Improve Product Availability – 19%
- Improve Demand Forecast Accuracy – 19%
- Improve Demand Planning Capabilities – 19%
Download the complete report here.