Gartner Blog Network

Advanced Retail Space Management Technology is a Must Have

by Robert Hetu  |  January 3, 2017  |  Submit a Comment

Retail space management is composed of three major elements of macrospace planning, microspace planning and visual merchandising. Space optimization may be an additional element. Macrospace planning is the assignment of selling space for individual departments, categories and services in a physical store. Microspace planning is the assignment of specific products to fixtures and their resulting placement on shelving, pegs or other structures, based on a set of performance parameters. Visual merchandising is the process that ensures the physical display will not only achieve mathematical targets, but also appeal to consumers as they shop.  In my most recent research Market Guide for Advanced Retail Space Management Applications I discuss the current and future trends and providers making change in the marketplace.  Below is an excerpt outlining the maturity curve.

As retailers expand their efforts to cultivate customer-centric assortments using retail assortment management applications (RAMAs), the need to incorporate advanced analytics and automation to create more accurate macrospace and microspace plans for discrete clusters of stores is driving investments in new, more advanced applications. This provides better selections and greater in-stock levels for important items, while improving inventory turns.

Macrospace planning is rarely supported by applications other than Excel and AutoCAD and, as a result, represents a large market opportunity for vendors.

Gartner’s “Hype Cycle for Retail Technologies, 2016” includes a technology called intelligent virtual store design (two to five years to maturity) that uses scientific space-planning techniques, including system-generated recommendations, to enhance the effectiveness of store-specific spatial assignment of fixtures, services, categories and merchandise in a physical store. 3D visualization provides the ability to experience the plan from a customer perspective using virtual reality. This emerging technology is the next phase of space planning and, as shown in the figure below, provides the most benefit for the business, but comes at the end of a progression.


Space Planning Maturity Curve – Gartner 2017

Additional Resources

View Free, Relevant Gartner Research

Gartner's research helps you cut through the complexity and deliver the knowledge you need to make the right decisions quickly, and with confidence.

Read Free Gartner Research

Category: merchandising-process  retail-trends  

Tags: 3d  intelligent-virtual-store-design  macrospace  merchandising  microspace  planogram  space-management  visualization  

Robert Hetu
VP, Analyst Retail
7 years at Gartner
29 years IT Industry

Bob Hetu is a Research Director with the Gartner Retail Industry Services team. His responsibilities involve tracking the technology markets and trends impacting the broad-based retail merchandising and planning areas. Mr. Hetu is an expert in the areas of brand, vendor and assortment management, merchandise planning, allocation, and replenishment. Read Full Bio

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Comments or opinions expressed on this blog are those of the individual contributors only, and do not necessarily represent the views of Gartner, Inc. or its management. Readers may copy and redistribute blog postings on other blogs, or otherwise for private, non-commercial or journalistic purposes, with attribution to Gartner. This content may not be used for any other purposes in any other formats or media. The content on this blog is provided on an "as-is" basis. Gartner shall not be liable for any damages whatsoever arising out of the content or use of this blog.