Merchandise planning matters. And not just to get the right product in front of consumers. The right assortment dictates what size a store should be. It determines what the work force to staff that store should be like, what those employees need to know and how they need to be trained. It helps influence how many of those associates need to be in stores in the first place. It helps establish where inventory needs to be – and in what quantities. And, in an ideal world, assortment should determine what a store looks and feels like in even the most nuanced ways: what should the floor layout look like? Do “stores within a store” make sense? Even decisions about which hardware and digital assets need to be folded into the store to drive customer engagement – all of these enterprise-level decisions should be made in careful consideration to what the product assortment warrants. And that’s more than a one-time decision. A smart retailer continues to reevaluate assortment, and the look and feel of a store. And merchandise planning should be at the center of that evaluation.
Unfortunately, today, merchandise planning is a pastiche of old and new technologies. Old and new planning processes. And in many retailers’ cases, old and new ideas on who should be involved in that planning, itself. However, regardless of a retailer’s size, geography, or the product it sells, one thing is for certain: the decision about what consumers will buy is no longer dictated. The merchant prince is dead. In his wake, however, is a tremendous gap.
This merchandise planning report from RSR Research, sponsored by Logility, explores what top-performing retailers have done to help fill this gap.