The main mistakes in assortment planning, and how to avoid them?
27.02.2021 3657

The main mistakes in assortment planning, and how to avoid them?

Today, the entire fashion business chooses a strategy for the development of analytics and planning. Almost every businessman is faced with the need to analyze their inventory balances, choose commercially successful models and optimize their own expenses. We discuss with SR assortment planning expert Emina Ponyatova the three main mistakes that are made when planning the assortment of a fashion retail store.

Emina Ponyatova Emina Ponyatova -

Specialist in assortment planning, analytics and category management. Experience in the fashion industry - over 14 years: buyer and category manager - brands Replay, Pepe Jeans, Hugo Boss, Armani Collezioni, Stefanel, Missoni; head of the analytical department - CenterObuv and Modis. Author and speaker on courses at Fashion Factory and Fashion Advisers schools, consultant and online coach.

What is assortment planning, and what are the main mistakes that can be identified in this process?

Planning is:

  • collection of statistics on receipts, sales and balances for the season;
  • conclusions and lessons from the season worked.

Immediately, at the very first stage, a key mistake is often made related to the product classifier. Yes, with a classifier!

Everyone understands why you need to describe the product, and understand that analytics directly depends on the properties of the product, which we indicate for a detailed description of the product. But practice shows that EVERYTHING is trying to describe, but not everyone is able to understand the levels of the hierarchy, to identify the primary properties and highlight them in the levels of decision-making.

I will give an example from life.

They try to make the description as detailed as possible:

“Women's leather bag, yellow”, and the next name is “Women's leather bag, black”.

It seems that they have described everything: gender, category, composition, and color, but it will be impossible to collect statistics for each product property!

It is necessary to select each attribute (property) in a separate field and fill it in for each unit. Only if this condition is met, we will be able to analyze bags separately, bags separately by gender, separately - by color, separately - by size or shape, by any attribute that we identify for the entire range. 

The next mistake is the inability to manage the range within the season.

That is, we ordered the product, presented it in the store and are waiting!

But in the current pandemic situation, it is extremely important to respond quickly and make decisions without waiting for critical values ​​of key indicators.

Therefore, for a start, you need to use standard analytical tables that help you look at the situation as a whole and identify problems in the range, in pricing policy or in visual merchandising.

In the future, these operational reporting should form the basis of assortment management at the weekly level, highlighting problem areas.

The speed of decision making directly depends on the frequency of reports and the quality of feedback from a specialist in visual merchandising and retail.

Another common mistake is the inability to draw conclusions from the reports received.

This error is very common and very serious, due to the fact that there are many types and forms of reports, and many try to use all possible indicators and all reports as much as possible. Accordingly, in the pursuit of an ideal report, the meaning and purpose of analysis is lost - decision-making and control over implementation.

In order to avoid the listed errors in your work, you must:

1. To work out a classifier highlighting the primary attributes, which will be the basis of the assortment matrix and attributes for the analysis of the product group.

2. Develop operational reporting for assortment management within the season, which is necessary to optimize costs due to errors in pre-season planning or the current situation.

3. Develop a system for assessing the success of decision-making and regularly assess not only quantitative indicators of the collection, but also qualitative ones.

Today, the entire fashion business chooses a strategy for the development of analytics and planning. Almost every businessman is faced with the need to analyze their inventory balances, to choose commercially ...
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