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4 Popular Merchandise Planning Trends for This Year

“Failing to plan is planning to fail”. Planning is one of the most crucial aspects as far as a business is concerned. For companies in the retail industry, who cater to a highly dynamic target audience, forecasting the demand and market trends could prove to be a tricky task. Most companies in the retail industry face stock-out or over-stocking situations due to the lack of an appropriate merchandise planning process. Merchandise planning is a systematic process that is aimed at maximizing the company’s ROI by carefully planning the inventory levels and sales to improve profitability. This effort also ensures that the merchandise is available at the places, times, prices and quantities that the market demands. Merchandise planning also goes out to solve some of the major retail industry problems such as stockouts or having excess stock after the season has ended. Often, a retailer’s merchandise planning is greatly influenced not just bRequest Proposaly the past demand and quantity of data but is also affected by new trends in the retail market. Following are some of the key merchandise planning trends in 2018:

Demand for new, better, and personalized products 

With a large number of options available to customers today, there is an increasing demand for improvised and better products. Retailers are now required to provide larger assortments through multiple channels. Due to these additional complexities, merchandise planning is slowly becoming an art that retailer industry companies must invest in and master. An appropriate merchandise planning initiative ensures that retailers do not alienate customers or lose potential sales by being out of stock of a hot-selling product.

Innovations and improvements 

To stay relevant in the market, companies must ensure that they constantly improve and innovate their offerings. Modern customers tend to get bored and move away from brands that provide the same offerings over time. The more often an assortment can be revamped, the more loyal and frequent costumers will become. This emphasizes planning inventory and line plans. While undertaking merchandise planning, retailers need to be able to derive meaningful insights from product development and sales trend data to determine the product lifecycle and help buyers define a calendar for improvised and innovative launches.

Value for money 

There are several players in the market that offer similar products and services, making it easier for customers to compare and opt for ones which give them the most value for money. Such situations go beyond product development teams to greatly impact the merchandise planning teams as well. This makes it necessary for retailers to have an intimate knowledge of the price points and promotions that have shown favorable results in the past while undertaking merchandise planning. It would help them maximize the sales and profitability they get out of their current and future assortments.

Customer feedback in product development 

Most businesses today have realized the potential of social media by giving them leads, this is one of the main reasons why they are gradually taking measures to establish their online presence. Through these online platforms, retail industry companies are gathering valuable feedback from customers on how the product can be improvised. Companies are even offering customizable options to keep up with the customers’ ever-growing demand for personalization and individualism. When customers are allowed to design their own products, it helps track trends and analyzes recurring orders while undertaking merchandise planning. During merchandise planning, it is essential to derive meaningful data from customer feedback, apply it during the future planning process, and communicate the same to other functions to ensure they are in sync.

To know more about the challenges and steps involved in the merchandise planning process

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5 Big Challenges Facing the Retail Industry

The retail industry is one of the fastest growing sectors in the world. With more number of retailers slowly expanding their business from brick and mortar to online retail stores, there is no looking back for players in this industry. But on the flip side, the retail industry is not entirely a bed of roses. Companies in the retail industry constantly endure various hindrances to improve their profits and simultaneously stay relevant in the market. One of the major challenges for players in the retail industry is to adapt themselves to the constant shifts and twists in the market.  Furthermore, savvy shoppers even tend to spend a lot of time researching their purchases – and consider the entire customer experience before actually making a purchase. With increased exposure to the internet and social media, retail customers are not gullible anymore and are spoilt for choice. This puts retailers in a ‘do or die’ position to survive in the market. But the hurdles for retail stores does not end here. We have curated five of the biggest challenges that companies in the retail industry need to pay heed to right now:Request Proposal

Top retail industry challenges

Digital disruption

Customer behavior is changing rapidly. While ecommerce has its effect on brick-and-mortar stores, the market trends indicate that customers prefer purchasing most products in-store. However, customers are using the Internet to do reconnaissance work – that is, search online for product information, compare the best prices, and identify complementary products. While e-commerce now accounts for approximately 10% of all retail sales, estimates by various industry experts suggest that web-influenced physical store sales are about 5X online sales.

In-store experience

Modern customers are extremely choosy owing to a large number of options they have in hand. What could differentiate companies in the retail industry from one another is the in-store experience that they provide the customers. Shoppers want remarkable experiences when they enter a store. They want to enjoy personalized experiences, interact with products, and engage their senses with creative sights, smells, tastes, and touch. Virtual reality, showrooming, and other experiential retail strategies can position companies in the retail industry at the top of their category when experiential retail is done well. Trailblazers like Sephora, Nordstrom, and Anthropologie serve as great examples for retail industry players to improve their customers’ in-store experience.

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