Selecting the assortment is a fundamental task, as it allows you to select the right mix of products to be placed on the shelves. As a retailer, you should constantly monitor your customers’ preferences and ensure that they are aligned with your business processes. This is because creating an incorrect assortment can cause a lot of damage: disgruntled customers, undermined brand reputation and drop in sales.
But how to create a perfect assortment?
In this short article you will find the main questions you may have when you start selecting products for your assortment.
Data and analysis: are you using them?
Do you want your customers to find the products they want on the shelf, giving them the best shopping experience? As with any business, you can’t do without data, which plays a key role in this area. A tangible example? The data allows you to analyze and verify what is the actual performance of a product, so you can assign it the right space and number of facing. Another hypothesis is to analyze the data of loyalty cards and purchases that are made: this helps to understand the behavior of customers so as to create a good assortment mix.
Do you have an assortment planning strategy?
We will never tire of repeating it: strategy has a primary role, especially when it comes to assortment and categories. Once you have defined a strategy, you can put on the table and select all the tactics of visual merchandising that are best suited to its realization and that can be able to meet the needs of the consumer. One advice is to choose them also according to the consumer decision tree (consumer decision tree – CDT, or the process of thinking of a buyer in choosing a product), also thinking about the relative hierarchy. Let’s take an example: when a brand is very popular in the choices of snacks for breakfast, you should consider brand blocking as the main aspect, and then sort by sizes and variations.
Have you considered clustering?
Have you grouped your stores by similarities or by demographics? This is an essential aspect to choose the best mix. You can not in fact think of performing the same strategy on all stores, without taking into account the differences that characterize them. Stores, both in terms of size and format of the store, but also in terms of geographical location, have precise attributes that, analyzed and taken into account, allow you to create a typical identikit of the customer who frequents a cluster (so a group of outlets) and thus offer the ideal assortment for him.
Have you considered financial goals and seasonality?
In addition to meeting the needs of consumers, you must also select an assortment of products that gives you a high margin, especially according to seasonality. This will increase sales conversions and your consumers will benefit from the result.
Assortment planning helps to ensure that products are positioned in the right stores, in the right position and in the right number of facing, in order to meet customer needs. A wrong move can create confusion and frustration in the buyer.
That’s why choosing the right tool, which also allows you to optimize the assortment continuously, helps you increase profitability and customer loyalty.