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The term Assortment can be defined as the combination of all products made available in a store and a set of products offered within a product category. These products form a set because they share similar physical characteristics. Assortment Planning involves determining the quantities of each product that will be purchased to fit into the overall merchandise plan. Details of color, size, brand, materials, etc. have to be specified. The main purpose of creating an assortment plan is to create a balanced assortment of merchandise for the customer. Various factors affect the assortment planning process. The first among these factors is the type of merchandise that is to be shocked in the retail store. Merchandise may be classified as basic or staple merchandise, fashion, convenience or specialty goods. Buying staple merchandise is relatively easier as it can be easily done by analyzing past sales records. Seasonal staples are those products which are in demand only at a particular time of the year, every year. For example, decorative diyas sold during the Diwali season in India, or decorative ornaments of the Christmas tree before Christmas or umbrellas and rain coats / rainy shoes in the rainy seasons. The retailer¶s policies with respect to the type of brands stocked and the level of exclusively to be maintained in the store also affect the merchandise buying decisions. Thus, after arriving at the amount of money available to invest in inventory, a merchandiser would have to determine the variety of merchandise. Let us take the example of a merchandiser who is working towards the assortment plan for the men wear department for a large retail store. He would start by determining the product line which is under consideration. A product line is a broad category of products having similar characteristics and uses. Thus, in menswear, product lines could be shirts, trousers, accessories, shoes etc. He would then have to determine the breadth and depth to be offered under the said product line. The breadth refers to the number of brands carried within each product classification. The depth, on the other hand, refers to the number of choices offered to the customers within ach band or product classification.
Good range planning should essentially take care of the following: .Assortment size actually reflects two related aspects namely the number of stock keeping units (SKUs) and shelf space. While a merchandiser always works towards creating an optimal. These would be the amount of money actually available for buying the targets set by the management for merchandise turnover . A typical format which may be used by a merchandiser or merchandise Assortment Plan is illustrated in Table below: Table Merchandise Assortment plan: Season ²²²²± Class:²²²²²²²²²± Department ²²²² Sub Class : ²²²²²²² Vendor | Style # | Units| Cost Retail Price | Planned Purchases| Total After preparing the assortment plan. The process of range planning ensures that the goals of the merchandise plan fall into specific lines. a buyer works towards creating an optimal merchandise plan. various factors would affect his /her decision. Working under these constraints. the merchandiser progresses to preparing a range plan. merchandise mix. and many a times. the SKUs. the space actually available within the stores for stocking the merchandise and the market constraints. Merchandise Hierarchy for typically Apparel Retailer Menswear <> Product Line>> Shirts >> Trousers >> Accessories >> Shirts>> Zodiac > Van Heusen > Louis Phillippe >> Arrow <> Styles >> Colors >> Size << Depth The range plan: The aim of range plan is to create a balanced range for each category of products that her retailer chooses to offer.
such as merchandise allocation The assortment plan. These parameters enable the planner to tailor the assortment and build the proper relationships among the various 2 components. details in a number of areas come into play. so that all that stores can be serviced and the product should be available at all stores across various locations. then. and similar calculations. styles. colors. the right quantity of each brand. silhouette. pricepoint. the assortment plan becomes the transition to the customer by way of the store. the planner can determine the right percentage of brands. . Automation Facilitates a Comprehensive Plan To build a comprehensive assortment plan. and season definition. ± This set of parameters helps the retailer relate to the customer. vendor. by factoring into the plan brand. volume. Because assortment planning addresses the most detailed element of merchandising to the customer²the items for sale²the process is often very detailed and timeconsuming. to provide the right merchandise flow. and type of store. For example. and SKUs. These components are product attributes.These parameters enable the planner to categorize stores into groups. month. A good range plan ensures that the customer is happy with the range that is available to him What Good Assortment Planning Does Assortment planning breaks the Merchandise Plan down into the components that enable the planner to address customer preference and need. the retailer hopes to: Manage inventory while addressing customer need and demand Develop a complete range of merchandise for presentation Enhance and maintain the company philosophy and image Support and execute the overall merchandising strategy Integrate with other planning processes. 3) Sufficient quantities of the product should be available. and the customer type helps the planner meet each store¶s particular demands. Grouping by the size.The time dimension for an assortment plan considers the usual week. the climate. The automated system makes it possible to address dozens of parameters in these four key areas: Product Attributes. By addressing these components.1) The number of items/ options available to the customers should be sufficient at all times and should be such that it helps the customer make a choice. 2) The range planning process should ensure that overbuying and under buying is limited. Time Dimension/Product Seasonality . The store characteristics are pivotal in micromarketing and they also support distribution to the stores. number of styles) and depth (quantity of each style). In addition. and theme. the good assortment plan considers seasonality. The properly assorted presentation ensures enough selection without overstocking and strikes the right balance between breadth (e. a critical step before one can define product assortments. provides the most effective way to balance the presentation of merchandise to the customer. fabric.g. Store Structure/Store Characteristics . Automation is therefore a must in building effective assortment plans. and the planner could not realistically manage that level of detail without an automated system. In developing a good assortment plan.
Managing the Volume of Detail To handle all of the calculations in these key areas. holiday. assortment planning systems that go beyond simple spreadsheets are becoming available for retailers. store ³look. Factors such as the number of styles and quantities of each style will affect space utilization.´ and visual merchandising all affect the space plan and. it allocates available space based on the product definition. store layout. product density. store structure. and summer clearance. These overlapping time periods consider events and/or time periods that help define the product characteristics needed to address customer demand. retailers are better able to develop a good assortment plan. Space Dimensions/Space Utilization .along with product transition and crossover between seasons.As the assortment plan develops. Because these systems can churn through the calculations in all of these areas. Product dimensions. consequently. But assortment planning also needs smaller time periods or mini-seasons such as back-to-school. . the assortment plan as well. product display requirements. These systems apply the automation necessary handle the voluminous and tedious detail necessary in today¶s assortment planning process.