Successful assortment planning is a combination of art and science. While it is standard for data to drive the scientific side of decision-making, analytics also guide creativity, providing a springboard for decisions otherwise made on gut instinct alone.
Given the number of decisions–and decision-makers–involved in the assortment planning process, a collaborative approach is imperative to maximize profits while minimizing headaches, circular conversations, and potential losses.
Use the following checklist (with nine bonus tips!) to ensure you create an assortment that is both customer-centric and profitable, with a collaborative approach that ensures inter-department alignment.
And, to truly maximize margins, harness the power of machine learning with assortment planning software to optimize your inventory and minimize stockouts.
Identify any stakeholders involved in the decision-making process.
There are numerous departments involved in creating your assortment: Set yourself up for success with transparency from the start – before a surprise executive opinion throws you for a loop.
Who will be giving feedback? Who needs to give approval before the final sign-off?
Decision-makers may come from a variety of departments, including:
Once you’ve identified stakeholders, build a timeline for reviews with specific deadlines. When possible, request approval – not opinions – to reduce the likelihood of contradictory feedback and circular revisions.
Each department may have its own objectives, which can at times be conflicting.
Align on goals from the beginning, then document them – with a hierarchy if needed – to refer to as the assortment evolves.
Goals to consider and prioritize when creating your assortment include:
Consider the following methods to document goals and responsibilities:
Once goals and deadlines are determined, circulate the finalized document. A unified “source of truth” on goals gives you an objective reference to guide decisions when opinions differ.