Blog post

Retail Assortment Planning: My View of the Universe

By Robert Hetu | February 13, 2014 | 0 Comments

Marketplace pressures driven by consumerization and digitalization require retailers to become more customer-centric. In Merchandising this is most commonly reflected in the complexities of managing assortments to support multichannel customer requirements. Yet the most common application used for assortment planning is Microsoft Excel. If you want to survive in the digitally revolutionized multichannel retail environment Excel won’t cut it. Advanced assortment applications are required to enable merchandising teams to meet the challenge of customer centricity.

I have seen instances where retailers have tried to implement new assortment planning applications but most have never progressed past the pilot stage. One of the main reasons is resistance to change by the business teams. Another is failure to map as-is and to-be business processes, while a third is data availability and integrity issues. The fact is merchandising has always been more of an art than a science, with very little technology applied to the process. Yet the success trajectory requires a blending of art and science. Merchandisers are warned you will have to adapt to new customer centric business processes.

Of course this requires a point of view for the to-be merchandising business process. I see this process broken into three sections:

1) Core merchandising:

Core Merchandising Graphic

2) Merchandise Supply Chain and Optimization:

 Adjacent Merchandising Graphic 

While many of these processes are under investigation, for 2014 my agenda will be focused on the Assortment Planning Process:

Merchandise Assortment Planning

Look for a Gartner Magic Quadrant for Assortment Planning in June of 2014.  So tell me, does this agree with your view of the universe?

The Gartner Blog Network provides an opportunity for Gartner analysts to test ideas and move research forward. Because the content posted by Gartner analysts on this site does not undergo our standard editorial review, all comments or opinions expressed hereunder are those of the individual contributors and do not represent the views of Gartner, Inc. or its management.

Leave a Comment