Merchandise Planning


The Retailer

A large leading on-line retailer of both hardlines and softlines products.

The Exam Question

The client’s challenge to TPC was to understand what best practice Merchandise Planning looks like in the digital world where stores are no longer the exclusive channel to market, and how this could be deployed to provide competitive advantage.

What We Did

There is no one size fits all best practice answer to Merchandise Planning, since what constitutes best practice for one retailer will not be best practice for another. Best practice for a company like Burberry isn’t going to be best practice for a company like Primark where the product and approach are completely different. TPC was able to work with the company to provide a way they could understand and assess their position from the customer’s perspective and focus its emphasis accordingly from a KPI and data viewpoint. This step provided clarity around the customer proposition and KPIs to be supported by Planning in a digital context.

TPC also helped the customer review and revise its approach to clustering. Stores are in effect geographical clusters of customers. In a world where so much more is known about a customer’s buying habits – “what they buy, when they buy, how old they are, their gender etc., then there are smarter ways to cluster when planning. TPC provided a solution for the client to leverage based on an analysis of both the customer segments and the competitive landscape. This clustering approach provided a much tighter alignment with the market and a more seamless link into Marketing and the customer recruitment engine.

TPC engaged in a series of workshops with the business to help the organization understand its current processes and As Is ways of workings to provide the platform for change. It then worked with senior management to progress the adoption of the new approach. The new approach to Planning provided the customer with a more effective and profitable way to manage product investment, stock and cash.

How Does It Apply to Other Companies?

Planning is still a science and an art but it is often seen in a very traditional light and opportunities are missed to reflect the new dynamics of the digital world. This work is relevant to most retailers who would benefit from leveraging the data they are now collecting on customers.

Why Thought Provoking Consulting?

TPC is positioned to provide thought leadership in areas such as Planning because it has deep experience in this space and is focused on client success not just system implementations or projects that blindly repeat old approaches.

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