To make KIVALUE work and improve your user experience, we log user data and employ essential cookies. By using KIVALUE website, you agree to our Privacy Policy, including cookie policy.


How Assortment Planning Revolutionises Fashion

E-commerce Brands

Assortment Planning is the heartbeat of fashion E-commerce brands. And a strong and automated assortment plan is the secret ingredient that elevates their customer satisfaction, sales, and profitability.
Running an E-commerce fashion business is no mean feat. Decision-makers and stakeholders must manage inventory, keep up with trends, meet ever-changing customer demands, and stay on top of market competition and the supply chain.

This creates enormous pressure to make the right decisions. Demand must be correctly forecasted. Stock availability must be ensured. Stockouts, markdowns, dead stocks, and unpredictable events must be avoided.

And decisions have to be justified to stockholders and owners. Questions about higher costs, lower profits and losing out to competitors must be answered.

It’s a virtually impossible task because without the right resources, errors are inevitably made. And what’s at stake? The financial health of the company, time, the customer base, and the brand’s reputation.

With such a burden on their shoulders, no wonder decision-makers are stressed, overwhelmed, and time-poor.

Fortunately, there’s a simple answer to all these problems and an even simpler way of implementing it. It can revolutionise the way fashion labels do business and get rid of those headaches.
What is Assortment Planning?

The definition of assortment planning is the process of analyzing customer demand and market trends to create a product mix that meets customer needs. Bottom line, it enables optimisation of inventory levels and profitability.

When a customer's preferences are understood and the right product mix is chosen, businesses can avoid stockouts, overstocking, and dead stock.

Assortment planning is the key to unlocking the perfect blend of products that customers will absolutely love. And it will keep them coming back for more.

The best part? It works whether a fashion commerce brand is fast fashion, seasonal, or a combination of both.
Struggling with assortment planning?
Discover how by scrutinising sales data and trend insights you can handpick the perfect blend of products for your customers.
What is an Assortment Plan?

An assortment plan is a blueprint of the product mix that a retailer should carry in a given period. It strategizes and outlines the types, quantities, styles, and prices of products that should be bought and sold.

The best kinds are extremely detailed, taking into account customer target markets and demographics, sales data, trends, and inventory management goals. But it goes a step further, constantly monitoring product categories, colour and size offerings, pricing, and even the timing of merchandise delivery.

It’s a logistical godsend because retailers can continually and automatically manage inventory levels and plan for sales and promotions, while automating markdown strategy.

It’s like a secret recipe that helps fashion retailers concoct the perfect retail cocktail, with just the right balance of ingredients to create a unique, fashionable and delightful shopping experience.
How Will Assortment Planning Save Your Business?

Assortment planning can transform life for fashion retailers in many ways. And the right types do it automatically, with little effort on the part of decision-makers. Gone are the days of sleepless nights and damage control.

By implementing an effective assortment plan, money is saved, stress is reduced, customers are happier, brand reputation is strong, and time is saved. This means less waste and more room for growth.
5 Ways Assortment Planning Saves Time and Money
  1. Trends & Staples: Assortment planning helps fashion E-commerce businesses balance trends and staples. Analysing market trends means products can be identified as popular or not. This means product mixes contain trendy and staple items, which appeals to a wider range of customers. And very significantly, it also harmonises an assortment, ensuring it falls under the brand identity.
  2. Stock Replenishment: Assortment planning helps an E-commerce business ensure inventory levels are always at the right level because it combines analyses of historical sales data with future demand forecasts, automatically replenishing stock accordingly. It also notices what type of products do best, which means a brand can continually reorient itself back to what its customers know the brand for. All of this helps avoid stockouts and strengthens brand identity.
  3. Markdown Strategy: Markdowns are inevitable for even the most in-demand fashion brands, but assortment planning can regulate sales and markdowns in the most effective way, improving profits. Sales data spots slow-moving items and marks them down to clear inventory fast. But the benefit goes beyond that too - retailers can use assortment planning to group products together that are likely to sell well together, such as products with similar themes or seasonal offerings.
  4. Real-Time Management: An assortment plan empowers a brand to move on the turn of a dime because inventory levels are monitored in real-time. That means it can adjust a product mix accordingly. This helps the brand stay on top of inventory levels and ensures customers get the products that they want.
  5. Reduced Human Error: Automating the assortment planning process drastically saves time and reduces the risk of human error. With the help of machine-learning algorithms, sales data and market trends fuel data-driven decisions about the product mix.
How it’s Proven to Work in the Real World

Looking at how assortment planning has transformed a fashion business in the real world can show how much fashion E-commerce retailers have to gain (with little or no effort on their behalf).

This real-life case is about a company that finally got stuck in a moment where the old way they had been going about their assortment was no longer doable. In fact it was making things difficult for them to go on any longer.

But things turned around quickly for them after their approach to assortment became as innovative as their vision for the future.
Still using Excel to create assortment plans?
Learn how to reduce the nightmare of inventory overstock or understock by using planning solutions for Fashion Retail
Success Story: ABOUT YOU
How to solve scalability challenges and eliminate wasted time and resources with automated assortment planning
ABOUT YOU digitises the classic shopping stroll by creating an inspiring and personalised shopping experience on the smartphone. At ABOUT YOU, the focus is on the customers, who are supported in expressing themselves individually through fashion.

On the website and the multi-award winning ABOUT YOU app, customers find versatile inspiration and more than 500,000 items from over 3,500 brands. With more than 45 million unique active users per month, ABOUT YOU is one of the largest fashion and lifestyle stores in Europe. It is currently active in 26 European markets.

With SCAYLE, the fashion tech company also offers its own E-commerce infrastructure as a licensed product.

Despite all this success, at a particular point ABOUT YOU hit a roadblock. Something then stood in the way of ABOUT YOU and their mission.
The Problem
ABOUT YOU’s mission to revolutionise the E-commerce fashion and lifestyle retail industry with a personalised shopping experience led to very rapid success and growth.

With high volumes, complex processes, and a need for speed and flexibility for a growing assortment, their outdated Excel spreadsheets were no match for the challenges they faced.

If ABOUT YOU had any hope of meeting its present and future goals, it needed a new system that was flexible, efficient, and integrated into all their data systems. It needed to be automated, low-maintenance, and carry through the end-to-end process.

ABOUT YOU turned to KIVALUE, to work together known for a planning solution that seamlessly integrated business intelligence and eliminated the need for additional data sources. It would solve ABOUT YOU’s growing pains and create an assortment plan with confidence, ready to continue changing the retail game.

This would then allow ABOUT YOU to focus on what they do best: providing a unique and engaging experience for each customer.
ABOUT YOU turned to KIVALUE, to work together known for a planning solution that seamlessly integrated business intelligence and eliminated the need for additional data sources. It would solve ABOUT YOU’s growing pains and create an assortment plan with confidence, ready to continue changing the retail game.

This would then allow ABOUT YOU to focus on what they do best: providing a unique and engaging experience for each customer.
The Solution
ABOUT YOU’s assortment planner needed a fairly wide project scope that included three main areas - Admin, Buy Plan and InSeason Forecast.

The plan would require constant comparison between the BuyPlan and the InSeason forecast to keep things running. All while meeting the planning and forecasting levels of: StyleGroup, ProductGroup, Brand, Season, Merchant, and Month.
VAT, logistic cost rates, and global planning parameters
Buy Plan
Automating net revenue, markdowns, retail price, returns, margins, order, assortment width and assortment depth
InSeason Forecast
The most agile part, handling net revenue, markdown, retail prices, returns, margins, receipts, and stock projection
The Impact
ABOUT YOU implemented KIVALUE’s solutions to enjoy concrete results. Process efficiency was increased which meant a reduction in preparation time, less data processing and more data analysis, and implication of collaborative work through a single point of truth. Because of this they saved time and headaches.

But that wasn’t all. There was also a substantial improvement of planning quality. More data was accessible in procurable form which meant easier access to the various planning dimensions.

The brand spent less time on data processing allowed time-investment in more advanced analysis. Improved qualitative exchange with buying teams. And more flexible customisation options enable insight gain through ad-hoc simulations.
Because of the new, automated, streamlined assortment plan, ABOUT YOU was back on target to expand its operations and offer a vast assortment of clothing, footwear, and accessories.
"We wanted a solution where right from the start we could focus not the technology itself, but on what the team does best - planning - end-to-end process bottom-up and top-down where everything is synchronised and linked together"

Head of Merchandise Planning at ABOUT YOU
The plan also harmonises with the E-commerce platform’s use of machine learning and artificial intelligence. This means the platform can collect data on algorithms and present and past customer behaviour to not only make personalised recommendations, but to help with forecasting and stock replenishment to maximise that customer personalisation that is unique to each and every customer.

And ABOUT YOU is on track to become the world’s no. 1 fashion platform. They’re now present in 26 markets serving 45 million active customers per month.They bring additional revenue for Fashion brands (~600,000 products ~3,500 brands).

  • How ABOUT YOU team transitioned from Excel spreadsheets to fully automated Retail Planning
  • What was the impact of collaborative work through a single point of truth for 80+ users
  • How the planners achieved bottom-up and top-down planning process synchronisation
At KIVALUE we cover end-to-end
fashion retail processes
From connecting merchandising, buying, and planning processes to omnichannel inventory and markdown management

We offer FREE assessment of your current solution requirements.