Merchandising is never based on the intuition. Placing goods on the store shelves is an art which requires solid background knowledge retailers usually do not have.
To sell more by displaying goods in attractive way, a retailer needs high-quality analytical data and effective management.
How to measure the effectiveness of merchandising, based on sales volume, turnover and product range?
First, you need to have high-quality detailed analytics. It does not matter if you own a small “next door” grocery or a large hypermarket, gathering data and its manual analysis is a tiresome and a very difficult challenge. The risk of human-caused error is high. That is why each retailer shall implement an automated intelligent system of merchandise and inventory management.
Automated machine-based merchandising has tangible benefits and advantages:
1. Product range is managed in line with merchandising strategies
Retail business usually works with a large quantity of active SKUs. Just imagine the volume of SKU catalogues retailers and merchandisers have to work with!
To make a planogram you need a full up-to-date list of active SKUs compiled in line with available product range for each sales point.
Intelligent merchandising software has a built-in regular synchronization function and assortment data exchange module, as well as smart filters that allow you to automatically create the list of required SKUs for each sales location.
2. Using planogram templates and formats
If you run a large company with numerous sales locations, you know that the process of assortment and planograms development is a challenge. To save costs and resources spent on visual merchandising and assortment planning, retailers use assortment and planogram templates. These templates (or “formats”) are being distributed and utilized across all sales locations of a retail network.
How does it work? You work with merchandising techniques and plan your assortment within these templates, and later on, all the changes you make are automatically distributed and implemented across all sales locations.
3. Smart notifications system
We all know, that any changes made within a planogram by a head office, shall be immediately transferred to all sales locations and immediately implemented. Store employees need simple and understandable instructions on how to make changes in products display. The changes have to be implemented quickly and effectively. Automated merchandise software has a solution for this - it minimizes human interference and sends automatically-generated instructions to each employee pointing out which changes should be made in this or that planogram.
4. Automated facing
Planograms shall reflect product quantities in real time. Gathering this data manually and arranging front-facing for each dynamic SKU is a challenging and next-to-impossible task.
Intelligent merchandising solutions can compare all available data and arrange facing in seconds. All you have to do is to simply move the goods on your planogram according to the instructions the system gives you. This is extremely cost and effort-saving solution which makes your planogram planning easy and quick.
5. Automated placing
Facing is manually applied to each of SKUs, while automated products placing means efficient and rapid filling of store space with the categories of goods.
If a store manager wants to place a particular item on the store shelf, the system immediately defines key product features, such as its type, size, category, brand, price range etc. Then the system specifies exact zone and place within a store for this product and proposes the sales equipment it will be using.
The next step - automated facing tool (which is described above in p.4 ) puts the product on the shelf of a particular equipment. All these steps reduce time and effort spent on manual product routing.
Automated facing and product placing are the primary tools to improve employee productivity and save time spent on routine processes. When goods are automatically showcased on the shelves, employees can invest their time into development, better analytics and strategic business planning.
6. Employees performance tracking
Every businessman knows that personnel KPIs control is the basic element of a successful business. All business processes, including merchandising, depend on consistent employees’ performance control.
The success formula is to build an efficient strategy of store employees’ KPIs management: all actions needed to be taken by store employees should be fixed and analyzed by the head office. Planograms are useless if they are left on paper and not implemented in real life.
Store employees shall have technical means to immediately report on planogram implementation, by, for example, sending a photo proof of the goods placed on the shelves or filling a special report form.
These simple yet effective steps will make visual products showcase more attractive and efficient, and importantly, business wins, as it greatly saves money and resources.
7. Cloud-based technologies
Successful merchandising is built around “less is more” principle - the less costs and efforts you are spending on goods placement and store space organizing, the better.
Minimizing the efforts needed to merchandise can be especially challenging if you run several stores in multiple locations, or work with diversified assortment. You have to invest more money and time to keep all planograms across all your stores up-to-date.
Cloud technologies can help you to act faster and more efficiently, bringing cost-effectiveness to your business. Modern cloud-based merchandising system can distribute the updates across all planograms and all members of your retail chain in several seconds.
When selecting your merchandise software you must carefully consider all criteria. Cloud-based technologies are a “must-have” for modern merchandising systems.