The Internet and retail support services are brimming with information on how to harness big data; how to conquer the heart of the customer; how to have an effective web presence; third-party marketplaces; showrooming; how to conquer the heart of the customer through socials; how to conquer customers through outstanding customer service; how to price for profit; how to market effectively; how to manage your employees; how to choose the right technology, how to compete in today's competitive marketplaces; and much more. (See numerous posts on these subjects at the Upstream Commerce website).
Every day, retailers are exposed to scores of publications, white papers, articles, analyses, emails, webinars, blog posts, podcasts, and LinkedIn notes; however, one of the most important facets we're not seeing much of is Retail Assortment Optimization & Management. Product, after all, is the core of every business's existence. In order to be in business, you've got to have a product which you have to sell to do business, and the better you stock and carry and sell that product, the more profitable and successful your business will be.
Assortment planning lets a retailer achieve the highest efficiency and profit through providing a more consistent product offering, most profitable mix of products, and pleasant shopping experience to the consumer. Leading purveyors of Retail Intelligence Solutions provide Assortment Intelligence -- the powerful capability that enables retailers to easily track assortment of competitors' products in real-time -- for the purpose of heightening their own capabilities re pricing and inventory, and optimize their own product assortment relative to competitors.
Following the illustration, below, is a list of some of the ways, using Assortment Intelligence, retailers can view groups of products, better plan and execute effective merchandising strategy; track assortment changes at competitors' websites; and analyze how competitive they are overall for specific products:
One example of assortment intelligence information collected for client, courtesy Upstream Commerce.
Using Assortment Intelligence, retailers can:
1. See the prices for identical products.
2. See what products the competitor carries that you don't, and decide whether to add them.
3. Find products that only you carry, for which you may be able to price higher.
4. Compare and analyze competitive product assortment by brand.
5. Use powerful fltering to zero-in on specific competitors, brands and sets of products.
6. Track real-time assortment changes at your competitors' websites, 24/7.
7. Know that there are millions of products currently tracked.
8. Know that there are billions of quality intelligence data points in existence.
9. Data is collected in real-time directly from the source.
10. Data is tracked over time, so the retailer can watch the dynamics as they unfold.
11. Receive advanced analytics and proactive alerts.
12. See your statistics in a variety of formats such as graphs, charts, or color-coded bars.
Bottom Line For Your Bottom Line:
The unremitting challenge to retailers is to increase sales, margin and inventory productivity. Real-time Assortment Intelligence lets retailers know competitors' assortments, helps avoid costly mistakes by analyzing and projecting product assortment needs in advance; identify new opportunities around changes in product mix, areas of potential cost reduction, and overall effects on the bottom line. In short, the use of Assortment Intelligence allows retailers to: "Neither overspend or under-achieve with your assortment and inventory, but to do things right."