Early on in my career when I started as a planner at Montgomery Ward, signs in all of our offices said:
“Right product, Right store, Right time.
In retail – Nothing else matters.”
— Arron Montgomery Ward
In the late 1800s, Arron Montgomery Ward defined assortment planning.
Are the three R’s – Right product, Right store, and Right time still relevant?
Customers today have so many options. Not only has the number of shops increased dramatically but so has the amount of information available to shoppers. Customers can stand in a store, use their smartphones to compare prices and conduct product reviews. Their family and friends can instantly weigh in on shopping decisions via social media. And when they’re ready to buy, if you don’t have the product, you lose. Your customers have an ever-expanding list of retailers, online or in-store, who will have the product. Customer satisfaction depends on the right product in the right place at the right time.
So yes, the three 3R’s are still relevant today, perhaps changed to reflect those choices today: Right product; Right store/channel; Right time.
How do retailers make sure they are in stock for this fast-paced shopping journey?
Today’s most successful brands are focusing their merchandise assortment planning decisions on the customer. Companies are now adopting a demand-driven, customer-centric assortment strategy to increase shopper traffic and delight customers with the right products. In recent years, retailers have undergone a digital transformation, giving them the right tools to improve assortment mix and planning accuracy. Tools that address the following issues:
Do you have the right merchandise?
- The appropriate breadth and depth matching your shop/channel format
- The correct mix of fashion to staple products
- Maps to design and trend board strategies
Do you have the proper on-hand inventory by all channels?
- Merchandise tailored to the target market
- Layer your buy using location-based demands. Review your assortment by channel and sales potential before committing your buy
- Determine optimal inventory quantities in all locations to avoid missed sales or unplanned markdowns
Do you align your merchandise floor set with the trend strategies?
- Optimize initial assortment allocation and minimal replenishment frequency
- Visibility of your seasonal product availability to plan launch timing
- On-time restocking of key merchandise
The supply chain is everyone’s biggest challenge right now.
But if you didn’t buy the right product in the right quantities and locations, will it matter?
Stockouts or lack of inventory are often quoted as retailers’ worst nightmare lists, and with good reason. Out-of-stocks result in lower consumer satisfaction and loyalty and lost sales. When you don’t have what your customers want when they want it, you risk losing them. Stockouts typically happen for the following reasons:
- Inaccurate buy quantity
- Erroneous or inconsistent data
- Outdated technology that impedes timely decision making
Today’s multi-channel retailers cannot rely on antiquated Excel-based tools to perform robust assortment planning functions. Instead, enterprise teams must be equipped with robust tools to address the multi-dimensional decisions your teams make daily.
daVinci Retail is built to solve the problems retailers face in merchandise planning and assortment planning. For the last two decades, we’ve been helping retailers increase inventory productivity and their profits by helping them place the Right Products in the Right Channels at Right Time.