The process of determining the optimal mix of products to offer in a retail store, considering factors such as customer preferences, trends, and inventory levels.
What is Assortment Planning?
Assortment planning is the process of carefully selecting and organising the range of products a retailer offers to customers. It involves considering customer preferences, market trends, and business goals to create a well-curated assortment that drives sales and customer satisfaction.
How Assortment Planning works
- Market Analysis: Conduct a thorough analysis of market trends, customer preferences, and competitor offerings to understand the demand and competitive landscape.
- Customer Segmentation: Segment customers based on demographics, preferences, and buying behavior to tailor the assortment to different customer segments.
- Product Evaluation: Evaluate products based on factors such as historical sales data, profitability, popularity, and supplier capabilities.
- Assortment Strategy: Develop a strategic plan for the assortment, considering factors like product categories, brand representation, pricing tiers, and assortment depth.
- Range Optimisation: Determine the optimal number and mix of products within each category, considering factors like market demand, product uniqueness, and customer preferences.
- Supplier Collaboration: Work closely with suppliers to ensure the availability of preferred products, negotiate favourable terms, and collaborate on new product introductions.
- Seasonality and Trends: Consider seasonal variations and emerging trends to adjust the assortment and introduce relevant products at the right time.
- Performance Tracking: Continuously monitor and analyse the performance of the assortment, including sales, profitability, and customer feedback. Make adjustments and refinements based on the insights gained.
By following these steps, assortment planning helps retailers offer a well-balanced and tailored selection of products that meet customer needs, drive sales, and contribute to business success.
Pros of Assortment Planning
- Improved Customer Satisfaction: Assortment planning ensures that the products offered align with customer preferences and needs. By curating a well-designed assortment, retailers can provide customers with a diverse and relevant selection, increasing their satisfaction and likelihood of making purchases.
- Increased Sales and Profitability: By strategically planning the assortment, retailers can optimise sales and profitability. This includes identifying high-demand products, capitalising on market trends, and optimising product mix and pricing strategies. An effective assortment plan can drive customer engagement, increase conversion rates, and maximise revenue.
- Competitive Advantage: Assortment planning enables retailers to differentiate themselves from competitors. By carefully selecting unique and innovative products, leveraging market insights, and catering to specific customer segments, retailers can position themselves as preferred destinations for customers seeking specific types of products. This helps to build a competitive advantage in the market.
Cons of Assortment Planning
- Uncertain Market Dynamics: The retail market is dynamic and subject to frequent changes in customer preferences, market trends, and competitive offerings. Assortment planning may face challenges in accurately predicting and adapting to these fluctuations, potentially resulting in mismatches between the planned assortment and actual market demands.
- Inventory Management Complexity: Creating a well-curated assortment requires effective inventory management. Retailers need to ensure sufficient stock levels, manage inventory turnover, and avoid excess or obsolete inventory. Balancing the assortment with inventory management can be complex, requiring careful forecasting, demand planning, and logistical coordination.
- Limited Resources and Space: Retailers often have limited resources and physical space to accommodate a vast assortment. Assortment planning may involve making difficult choices and trade-offs due to space constraints and resource limitations. It can be challenging to strike the right balance between offering a broad range of products and optimising shelf space for maximum impact.
Below you will find answers to common questions
How can assortment planning help me identify gaps in my product offering?
Assortment planning can help identify gaps in your product offering by analysing customer preferences, market trends, and competitive offerings. By examining sales data, conducting market research, and understanding customer needs, you can identify areas where your current assortment may be lacking. This analysis can highlight product categories or specific products that are in high demand but currently missing from your offering. By identifying these gaps, you can make informed decisions to introduce new products or expand your assortment to better meet customer needs and capitalise on market opportunities.
How can assortment planning optimise profitability?
Assortment planning can optimise profitability by focusing on high-demand and high-margin products. By analysing sales data and profitability metrics, you can identify top-performing products that contribute significantly to your revenue and profitability. Additionally, assortment planning can help identify underperforming products that may be consuming resources without generating sufficient returns. By strategically allocating resources to the most profitable products and eliminating or repositioning underperforming ones, you can improve overall profitability. This includes considering factors such as product pricing, promotional strategies, and product mix to maximise sales and margins within your assortment.