3 Measures to Take in Merchandise Planning for Success
Businesses that deal in consumer products are subject to the whims of consumer demand. Because of this, sales plans are made to know whether their products are selling, whether their pricing is competitive, and whether their marketing strategies are effective. However, there are times when sales plans alone are insufficient, especially if their goods are subject to seasonal changes in demand. In these cases, merchandise planning must be done.
As the name suggests, merchandise planning anticipates consumer demand and adjusts the inventory and assortment of products accordingly. This is done by forecasting future sales, analyzing shopper preferences, and managing the inventory and variety of goods. This enables business owners to make informed decisions about their products and adjust their strategies to meet changing consumer needs. However, the tricky part is making it work because merchandise planning can only be as successful as the quality of the data and analysis that go into it.
You can take different measures to ensure your merchandise planning is successful. However, they tend to be very time-consuming and fragmented. The good news is that AI can automate all these tasks. How? The data is already embedded in the system. AI uncovers insights at the store level and serves up a better assortment and space menu for each store or cluster of stores (i.e., optimizing clusters). In fact, at HIVERY, we believe that the best indicator of purchase behavior is past purchase behavior. AI can uncover patterns and relationships for every product in every store and every possible product/store combination, leveraging store-level data. This allows it to identify shopper segments or shoppers with similar purchasing behaviors.
This means we do not segment based on the conventional demographic segmentation approach but rather let the AI model discover those on its own, unsupervised.
You can learn more about HIVERY’s AI offering, HIVERY Curate, which can transform how you think about merchandising optimization.
Here are some specific measures you can take to ensure your merchandise planning is successful:
#1 - Evaluate Post-season Merchandise
It is important to evaluate post-season merchandise to determine what worked and what did not. This can be done by analyzing the sales data, shopper feedback, and other factors related to the products. This data can be used to identify popular and unpopular products. This will help you determine which products to continue carrying and which to discontinue.
In addition to evaluating post-season merchandise, you should consider consumer trends and preferences. This can be done by analyzing shopper reviews and surveys and conducting market research. This will give you an idea of which products are in demand and which are not.
For example, if a particular product is not selling well, you may want to discontinue it and replace it with a more popular product. Additionally, you should consider the cost of the product and the profit margin associated with it. This will help you determine if the product is worth the investment or if it is better to discontinue it.
#2 - Plan Your Pre-season Merchandise
When planning pre-season merchandise, it is crucial to consider the needs of your target market. Analyze the shopper feedback from the previous season and consider the trends in the market. This will help you determine which products to stock and which to avoid. The cost of the merchandise also matters so you must consider the cost of the product, shipment, and other related expenses. This will help you determine which products will be profitable and which may not.
After determining which products to stock, you should plan how to market them, consider where you will advertise, how you will promote the products, how you will reach your target audience, and which specific stores to distribute. This will help ensure you reach the right people with the right product with the right stock amount.
You must also create a timeline for the pre-season merchandise. This will help ensure the products are stocked and ready for the upcoming season. Consider any promotions or discounts you may want to offer to encourage shoppers to purchase the products.
#3 - Adjust In-Season Merchandise Accordingly
In-season merchandise is constantly changing and evolving. Adjusting your merchandise accordingly to keep up with the changing trends and shopper preferences is essential. This will help ensure your merchandise is always up to date and that shoppers are satisfied with your products.
Start by assessing the current trends in the market. Research what products are popular and what shoppers are looking for. This will help you determine which products to stock and which to avoid. You should also assess the shopper feedback from the previous season and consider the trends in the market. This will help you determine which products will be profitable and which may not.
Once you have determined the merchandise to stock, you should plan how to market them. Consider where you will advertise and how you will be distributed, stock, and promote the products.
Merchandise planning is crucial for running a successful business, so it is essential to pay attention. The good news is that AI can automate all of these tasks. Using AI saves time and ensures that your merchandise planning is based on accurate, data-driven store-level insights.
With HIVERY Curate, you can transform how you think about merchandising optimization and take your business to the next level.