Why Retail Planning Should Be Flexible
Planning for a retail operation is a big task. How do you know how many customers will walk in your door in the next three months? How do you know how many of those customers will buy something? How do you know which products products will sell? How do you know what is the right price at which each product will sell?
These are all pertinent for any type of retail chain, but sales and profit projects are difficult to master because things can change quickly in any retail environment.
While planning is difficult, it’s not impossible. One measure is historical data. Even then, changes in the economy, your retail sector, vendor selections, and a number of other factors could impact sales and profits at one store, an entire region, or you whole chain. That’s why planning for any retail operation should be flexible and dynamic.
5 Controls You Need In Your OTB Planning Initiative
Since planning for your retail operation needs to be dynamic and flexible, it requires some thought. Here are five things to thinking when planning your retail operation:
- Segment your views – Large retail operations plan at different levels. You have multiple parties who need a variety of information types, and each one of them must plan their piece of the operation based on different data. Make it easy on the planners at each level of your organization to segment their views so they can see the data need.
- Plan for the seasons – You can plan year-round, but each season has its challenges. Is your peak retail period in the summer or winter, spring or fall? Know your peak seasons and plan your operation for each season.
- Rely on historical data – There’s no guarantee your business will perform the same each season, but historical data is a good indicator of future performance. You need a benchmark and what has already been accomplished is a good one.
- Auto-replenish your inventory – Planning is a lot easier when you have merchandise that can be replenished automatically. If you have to rely on people remembering to order product, you might miss out. Get your supply replenished according to the rules you establish.
- Track your KPIs – They’re called key performance indicators for a reason. Know what they are, and keep and eye on them.
You can make any retail operation profitable if you plan for the future. Keep these tips in mind to make your retail operation run more smoothly.