Smart Merchandising

Retail assortment planning; Creating a winning product mix & depth in stores
  • Anuradha Kapur

  • 4 minutes

  • 8 June, 2022

Retail assortment planning; Creating a winning product mix & depth in stores

Creating a winning product mix and depth in stores is one of the biggest challenges for the modern retailer. The rise of online shopping, and the growth of e-commerce, have made it even more challenging for traditional retailers to keep up with demand in today’s dynamic omnichannel marketplace.

The rise of e-commerce has been good for consumers in many ways, but many still prefer to shop in stores, which means that retailers need to create a winning product mix and depth. At the heart of any successful retail business lies effective assortment planning. This refers to creating and managing a carefully curated product mix and depth in stores, ensuring that each location offers products that are well-suited to its target customers and market environment.

What is product mix and depth? 

A retailer’s product mix and depth can significantly impact consumer behaviour and sales. The mix refers to the type of products you carry, while depth refers to the number of SKUs or items within each category. Getting the mix and depth right is essential to ensuring that stores can meet customer needs while also maintaining efficient inventory levels.

What is assortment planning in retail?

Assortment planning in retail creates a winning product mix and depth for stores. Some of the critical elements of retail assortment planning include maintaining inventory health, reducing out-of-stocks and stock-outs, and identifying bestsellers. 

Retail assortment planning aims to have a product mix and assortment that meets customer expectations and demand.

To achieve this goal, retailers need to use new-age merchandising tools and assortment planning software to provide integrated inventory planning capabilities and instantly downloadable reports at multiple stakeholder levels. This creates a comprehensive, single repository of inventory data from all sales channels. A complete view of their product offerings’ depth and mix at the individual store level enables retailers to make more informed and data-driven decisions to optimize inventory management.

New-age assortment planning software also helps retailers use individual style analysis tools to identify the bestsellers among their products, focusing efforts on maximizing sales for those items. With such software solutions, retailers can quickly analyze historical data to determine the true potential of each style at the store level and identify store-specific assortments that take into account the unique characteristics of each location.

Conventional excel charts with limited capabilities due to manual input processes will not suffice in today’s thriving and fast-changing consumer trends.

There are many advantages to effective assortment planning in retail.

It helps:

  • Maximize sales and profitability by ensuring that stores are stocked with the right products in the right quantities. 
  • Reduce inventory levels and associated carrying costs while also lowering out-of-stocks and stock-outs.
  • Create a more seamless customer experience by ensuring that stores always have the products that customers are looking for. 
  • Using data and analytics to understand customer needs and preferences better, assortment planning can help retailers stay ahead of shifting trends and respond quickly to new opportunities in the market.

The retail product assortment solution optimizes your product assortment planning enabling retailers to maintain good inventory health by tracking inventory levels on an ongoing basis and identifying any products that may be at risk of stock-outs. This allows for better decision-making about which products to keep in-store and online and how to adjust the mix and depth of products to meet customer demand.

Finally, it is essential to have a system to review and update your assortment plans regularly. This may involve regularly reviewing sales and inventory data and conducting customer surveys and focus groups on staying on top of evolving trends and preferences. With the right assortment planning strategy and approach, you can create a winning product mix and depth in your retail stores that will help you drive sales, profitability, and customer satisfaction. By using new-age merchandising tools, retailers can comprehensively view their inventory, identify bestsellers, and prevent stock-outs. They can create a winning product mix and depth to keep customers coming back for more.

Author: Anuradha Kapur

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