Consistently profitable retailers require a Merchandising strategy that balances creativity with analytic analysis. Too heavy a reliance on either may lead to an erosion of sales, margin, and ultimately a brand. Analytic analysis will ensure appropriately sized assortments and inventory levels, reducing reliance on markdowns and enabling Merchandisers to more closely focus on their business, but creativity is a brand’s foundation and must be nurtured to encourage ongoing customer engagement and ensure product does not become dull and predictable.
We understand how to help you find the proper balance for your business. We work with you to understand your past, present and future goals to help build targeted solutions that can deliver results.
Assortment Planning at leading retailers is grounded in a deep understanding of the customer, analytical analysis of historical product performance, and a forward looking strategic plan focused on execution.
A robust Assortment Planning process is often overlooked by retailers and can result in product delays, costly change orders, and indecision among internal teams.
In worse case scenarios lack of Assortment Planning impacts the customer in a non-unified product presentation. We have developed methodologies for incorporating a best in class assortment planning process that enables the organization to move from hindsight to insight to action.
Do you wonder if you are over or under assorted? Do you have a strategic approach to analyze and determine assortment levels across all categories and divisions? Assortment is often the root cause of many common retail challenges such as excessive markdowns and stock-outs. The optimal assortment is unique to each business, however, there are general guidelines based on business model and operating channel:
The Internet’s “Endless Aisle”
- Internet only retailers leverage the “long tail” concept by offering a very broad assortment and act as category killers in some cases. Amazon, for example, invests their inventory purchase in the “head” and leverages 3rd parties to offer the “tail” as part of the total assortment without owning the inventory and financial risk.
Bricks & Mortar Retail
- Store based retail can typically only afford to assort to the “head” of the total market curve – choosing lower total sales for higher total margin – because the inventory investment necessary to support the tail increases exponentially when you spread that inventory across a large store base.
Blueprint Retail has proven techniques to analyze an organization’s Assortment across all categories and to build strategies and processes to identify the optimal Assortment.