Markdown Plan

A projection of the timing and amount of inventory markdowns required to meet sales and margin goals for a specific period.

What is Markdown Plan?

A Markdown Plan is a retail pricing strategy that strategically reduces product prices over time to manage inventory, drive sales, and attract customers. Retailers carefully select products, timing, and discount percentages. It helps clear excess inventory, increase foot traffic, and optimise sales. However, frequent or steep markdowns can impact profit margins. Successful plans rely on data analysis and understanding customer preferences.

How Markdown Plan works

  • Inventory Assessment: Retailers analyse their inventory to identify slow-moving or excess items that need to be cleared to make room for new merchandise. They consider factors like seasonality, trends, and customer demand.

  • Pricing Strategy: Based on the inventory assessment, retailers create a pricing strategy to gradually reduce the prices of selected items over time. The markdown plan typically includes specific markdown percentages and timing for each product.

  • Timing: Retailers carefully choose the timing of markdowns to align with customer buying behaviour and seasonal trends. Markdowns are often implemented during slower sales periods or at the end of a season.

  • Promotion: To attract customers' attention and increase foot traffic, retailers may promote their markdown events through various marketing channels, such as email newsletters, social media, and in-store signage.

  • Clearance Sales: Markdowns can also be used for clearance sales, where retailers offer steeper discounts to quickly sell off remaining inventory. This can help retailers recoup some of the initial cost of the products.

  • Data Analysis: Successful Markdown Plans rely on data analysis to assess the effectiveness of markdown strategies. Retailers monitor sales performance, customer responses, and inventory turnover to refine their future markdown plans.

  • Balancing Profitability: While markdowns can boost sales, retailers need to strike a balance to avoid eroding profit margins excessively. Careful planning and monitoring are essential to maintain profitability.
Overall, a well-executed Markdown Plan allows retailers to optimise inventory management, boost sales, and meet customer expectations for discounts while maintaining profitability.

Pros of Markdown Plan

  1. Clear Inventory: Markdowns help retailers clear slow-moving or excess inventory, preventing stock from becoming obsolete or outdated. This frees up valuable shelf space and storage capacity for new merchandise, ensuring a fresh and appealing product assortment.
  2. Boost Sales: Strategically timed and communicated markdown events can attract more customers to the store or website, leading to increased foot traffic and online visits. This, in turn, can lead to higher sales volumes, especially for discounted items, and help achieve revenue targets.
  3. Maintain Customer Interest: Regular markdown events create a sense of excitement and urgency among customers, encouraging them to make purchase decisions quickly. Customers often look forward to sales and discounts, which can build loyalty and keep them engaged with the brand or retailer.

Cons of Markdown Plan

  1. Profit Margin Erosion: Frequent or deep markdowns can lead to a reduction in profit margins. While markdowns may drive sales, the reduced prices can eat into the retailer's profitability, particularly if the markdowns are not strategically planned.
  2. Brand Perception: Overreliance on markdowns may affect the brand's perception and value. If customers become accustomed to constant discounts, they may be less willing to pay full price for products, potentially devaluing the brand in the long term.
  3. Inventory Imbalance: Poorly planned markdowns can lead to inventory imbalances. If retailers are unable to sell off the discounted inventory as expected, they may end up with excessive stock, which can tie up capital and increase carrying costs.


Below you will find answers to common questions
Why is it important for our retail store to have a well-defined Markdown Plan?
A well-defined Markdown Plan is crucial for several reasons. Firstly, it helps us manage inventory effectively, ensuring that slow-moving or seasonal items are appropriately discounted to free up space for new products. Secondly, it allows us to strategically time markdowns to maximise sales without severely impacting profit margins. Lastly, a clear Markdown Plan helps maintain customer interest by offering attractive discounts at the right times, contributing to increased footfall and brand loyalty.
How can we determine the appropriate markdown percentages for our products?
Determining the appropriate markdown percentages requires a thoughtful approach. Firstly, we need to analyse historical sales data and identify trends for each product category. Understanding the product's lifecycle and seasonality will guide us in setting markdowns. Additionally, competitor analysis helps us benchmark against industry standards. By evaluating the product's perceived value, demand, and market conditions, we can make informed decisions on markdown percentages. Regularly monitoring and adjusting markdowns based on real-time sales data will ensure our Markdown Plan remains effective and responsive to market changes.