White Paper

Merchandise Planning & Allocation Benchmark Survey: Planning For The Future

Welcome to the 1st Annual Merchandise Planning and Allocation Benchmark Survey from Boston Retail Partners (BRP) and Retail Systems and Services (RS&S)!

It's an exciting time for retail planning. The continued growth of the Internet and the proliferation of additional customer touch points create both new opportunities, as well as new challenges, for merchandise, channel and assortment planning. Today's Omni-channel consumer expects to seamlessly purchase the items, colors and sizes they want across every channel. This puts added pressure on the retailer to uphold their brand, and provide an optimal assortment while maximizing the return on inventory investment. While a centrally stocked distribution center can service the complete breadth and depth of assortment for the web and catalog channels, more traditional brick-and-mortar locations are constrained by limited selling floor space, back office storage and supply chain costs.

Today's retailer needs to provide a store specific, tailored assortment that will best satisfy the local market Omni-channel consumer regardless of what channel eventually services the sale. This is a tremendously difficult task to accomplish using tradiional Assortment Planning methods. Why? Without advanced tools, there is far too much data to effectively forecast, plan, assort and micro merchandise inventory at a store level.

Fortunately, we are starting to see growth in new tools and methodologies to facilitate this process. The ongoing evolution of Business Intelligence and Exception Management are two examples of existing tools that help deal with the vast amount of data required for effective Assortment Planning. Other techniques include the increased use of attributes - product, customer or store specific - to analyze and drive store-level assortments.

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