Improving your merchandising ensuring customer loyalty

Improve-your-merchandising

By Tina Royall, Marketing Director at Futura Retail Solutions

Retail can be a fine balance between limiting how much capital is tied up in stock and ensuring customers aren’t disappointed when items aren’t available. For lifestyle and fashion brands this can be especially challenging with changing trends, seasonal variations and even geographic differences to think about.

So the ability to plan your inventory accurately, achieve the right balance between different product categories, sizes and colours, while maximising sell-through and minimising any losses from discounting or stock-outs, is crucial.

It’s all about strong merchandising and inventory control and this should be core to the EPoS and Omni-channel retail management systems you use to operate your business.

SYSTEM INTELLIGENCE

Automated processes and system intelligence, an increasing feature of modern real-time EPoS solutions, are now having an impact – improving performance and increasing accuracy to make the merchandiser’s life easier.

Today features like Recommended Reordering to replace manual Purchase Orders are especially useful and will reduce your workload to free up time. Automated stock replenishment, plus the ability to dynamically set minimum and maximum stock levels, can add further time saving and accuracy, in turn helping to reduce over-ordering on unpopular items, or fringe sizes, and costly markdowns.

FOLLOWING TRENDS

System generated inter-branch transfers, between stores and web, to move excess stock to where it’s selling best, is another real benefit to busy allocation and merchandise teams. Here system intelligence will spot opportunities so that you can follow trends and optimise sales before you need to reorder.

Lifestyle and fashion chain JOY which switched to Futura’s EPoS Omni-channel Retail Management system in 2017 has been especially pleased with aspects like these. “New inventory management, merchandise planning and automated stock controls have delivered immediate benefits,” enthuses Darina O’Connor, Merchandiser at JOY. “With full stock visibility across the business, it’s accurate, easy to manage and simple to update. Recommended reordering in place of manual purchase orders is particularly powerful, reducing our workload by 60% or more, freeing up time for more effective stock management decisions to optimise sales.” Read more here.

 

merchandising-plan

ACCURATE FORECASTING

Merchandisers need accurate forecasting with sound analysis so strong reporting should come as standard with the best omnichannel systems. Look for automated stock and sales reports with at-a-glance performance information covering branch, department and category data, with comparative information for previous periods, to drive improved decision making.

Futura’s business intelligence tool based on Qlik technology even provides customised trade pack reports and management dashboards covering branch, department and category data – everything a busy merchandiser needs to make sound and accurate decisions.

THE POWER OF CENTRAL MERCHANDISING CONTROL

A modern retail system should also give you central merchandising control with visibility across all your channels and store locations, from a single system. The benefit is to cut out duplication and provide greater visibility and accuracy for all your business processes. That means improved product management, better ordering and more accurate inventory control.

OPEN TO BUY

Many retailers also like ‘open-to-buy’, a facility that helps you to set the financial boundaries for merchandise and planning decisions which are accurate and dependable. Often with remote access, this is particularly useful when you are seeing suppliers or attending a fashion or trade show.

By analysing sales performance and other factors ‘Open to Buy’ provides the framework for you to manage your inventory, plan purchases and budget effectively. It means you can track how much you have to spend on new inventory and make buying decisions without getting into trouble!

A solution that is fully integrated with your chosen retail system, rather than an add-on function which could be difficult or tedious to operate, is better, especially if you have to load in sales and product data from other areas of your business. 

The most useful open to buy tools are fully embedded and fully interactive with multi-dimensional product hierarchies and allow you to manage both seasonal and core products and include ‘What-if’ functionality to gauge the effect of buying one range over another or removing a range altogether.

We have created a retail solutions white paper that you can download HERE or click on the image below.

Futura merchandising white paper

For Information: www.futura4retail.co.uk, or call 01189 841925.

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