This whitepaper throws light on investments made by retailing organizations in optimization solutions within their enterprise and to understand their customers better. The Whitepaper also throws light on the Business Transformation approach for Modern Merchandising and showcases the ‘Merchandising Maturity Assessment Model’.
The Situation Today
Merchandising is all about getting the right product at the right place and at the right time to induce customer buying and provide a brand experience. However, this still remains elusive to the retailers given the complexities such as multiple channels, lack of understanding of customer buying behaviour, inconsistencies in merchandising execution etc.
With the customers using a variety of channels for their purchases, more and more retailers understand that consistency in assortments, displays, pricing, promotions and loyalty programs are key to continued customer engagement and trust.
That’s why ‘creating a unified merchandising plan’ is one of the top priorities of the retailers. This involves choosing which products to offer and promote in store, web, mobile and emerging social channels to enable a seamless supply chain execution across channels while providing a consistent customer experience. Omni channel retailing has also encouraged retailers to have a ‘customer-centric merchandising view’ where customer segmentation and preferences from multiple channels are incorporated into the planning process. The below diagram shows the different components of merchandising and how ‘Customer centricity’ has taken the centre stage in the merchandising process:
Merchandising as a function needs to have a tight integration with both ‘upstream’ and ‘downstream’ functions to ensure that the plan is translated to action. In integrating ‘upstream’, retailers need to constantly review, evaluate and collaborate with suppliers to improve operational efficiencies that translates to improving product availability to the customer. In integrating ‘downstream’, information flow and visibility to supply chain needs to be ensured for effective merchandise plan execution.
To accommodate the new ways of business, retailers must rethink their merchandising strategy and modernize the merchandise systems to improve their operational efficiency and gross margin from the merchandising chain.
HCL has a rich industry expertise, in-depth merchandising knowledge and supports E2E merchandising functions including optimizing merchandising assortments, allocating products, maximizing value from promotions and price management and providing analytics capabilities. HCL has helped retailers with its consulting capabilities on a range of merchandising transformation areas like providing markdown optimization solution, re-engineering and re-platforming product data management functions, customer-centric merchandising management solution implementation etc.
HCL’s retail solution offerings for merchandising include:
- Customer centric merchandising solution through analytics and BI
- Master data management framework to enable a single view of customer
- Price optimization
- Measuring promotion effectiveness
- Integrated retail planning
Agile and integrated merchandising and Omni-channel platform
For one of the largest super market chains in South Africa with over 1500 stores in multiple store formats (hypermarkets to express stores), HCL implemented an agile and integrated merchandising and omni-channel platform to support their strategic growth into new formats & new markets, enable rapid rollout of planograms, optimized store inventory and service levels through automated forecast. HCL also provided advanced analytical capabilities that utilize loyalty and customer transaction data to provide relevant pricing, promotions, ranging, and store specific assortments.
HCL helped a US based mid-market general merchandizing retailer implement automated processes to provide critical sales, stock and margin data on a daily basis to support decision making for mark downs.
Digitized Business Operations
For a leading global fashion retailer in UK, HCL helped digitize their business operations by enabling cross channel integration, real time inventory updates and dynamic price updates based on sales across channels.