Today's Omni-Channel Customer is Transforming Retail Merchandise Planning

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Retailers are looking to new and enhanced tools to optimize their store assortments and meet the demands of the Omni-Channel customer - according to Boston Retail Partners' recent Merchandise Planning & Allocation Survey.

1st Annual Merchandise Planning and Allocation Benchmark Survey

According to Boston Retail Partners’ recent white paper on Retail Merchandise Planning, Allocation and Replenishment, today’s retail customer expects to conduct business seamlessly across stores, catalogs, websites and mobile devices to purchase the items they want. Savvy retailers know that by supporting this capability, they can better satisfy the customer, uphold their brand, provide an optimal assortment, and maximize the return on inventory investment. While a centrally stocked distribution center can usually stock a complete (breadth and depth) assortment of products for web and catalog orders, traditional brick-and mortar locations are constrained by limited selling floor and storage space, as well as overall inventory and supply chain costs.

Squeezing more productivity out of a limited inventory is where Merchandise Planning tools are focused. Using these tools, the inventory assortment and product depth can be adjusted to anticipate what customers will be searching for in each location.

‘The process of creating localized assortments by store, cluster or even customer, is driving Merchandise Planning to higher levels of sophistication and complexity,’ says Walter Deacon, Principal of Boston Retail Partners. ‘Retailers who don’t understand or anticipate these trends will be at a competitive disadvantage in the not too distant future’.

To cope with these challenges, retailers are turning to enablers such as Forecasting, Optimization, Automation, Exception Management and Business Intelligence. These new tools and methodologies are emerging to help make a well-planned and well-executed local assortment achievable. By enabling retailers to effectively match massive amounts of data with ‘intelligence’, they can help automate the creation of assortment and item plans. This provides retailers with the ability to balance an optimized overall product assortment, localized store assortments, a distinct web assortment, the correct size offering by store, optimal packs and comprehensive by-item lifecycle planning.

To learn more about this transformation and these tools, Boston Retail Partners recently released the 1st Annual Merchandise Planning & Allocation (MP&A) Benchmark Survey. The survey discusses these tools, identifies overall trends in the industry as identified by top retailers, and discusses additional current initiatives to support new, Omni-Channel Merchandise Planning requirements.

To download your free copy of this exciting new survey visit:

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Kathleen Fischer
Boston Retail Partners
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