Retail is a fast-moving, ever-changing business. There are a lot of unknowns, and unknowns are a cause of chaos when it comes to retail buying and product lifecycle management. Knowing what drove past success is the best way to estimate what will drive future profit, so get started by looking to the past. Pull out data from the products and orders, quantities, and price points from the last year or season, then answer the following questions:
How can you refine your operation to remedy these challenges?
Once you have the micro-details of the past logged and recorded, start strategizing with your team. How do we hit the bullseye next year and stay on target? Is the bullseye moving? Where is it moving? What are the variables? Highlight your projected pain points, delivery dates, and goals you need to hit for optimal ROI.
The concept of inventory planning may not be quite as sexy, but it’s critical to the success of your business. You don’t want a small error to find its way onto your store shelves, and suddenly you have space dedicated to a product you can’t sell. Planning properly now will help you make the right sourcing decisions to ensure your business profits for years to come.
Data from vendors
Vendors care about one thing – their own products standing out amidst a sea of competition. They don’t have a lot of time to worry about anything else. If they don’t lay out their product info cleanly and quickly for their retail buyers, those buyers will not review the assortment, request quotes, or place orders. But when each retailer requires product information to be presented to them in a specific way, it can take a lot of time for vendors to showcase their offerings, unless the retailer is using a product lifecycle management software solution that allows for a product assortment to quickly and easily be uploaded by their vendors according to their specifications.
When retailers and vendors do not use the right PLM software to manage the product lifecycle process, product information from vendors is often only viewable by merchandisers in silos. It takes extraordinary brainpower for the buyers to compare product details –– like fit, pricing, sizing, and timing –– across multiple vendors.
A healthy path forward
Good PLM software can lay out product information more like a set table, making it easier to read. With data in one easy-to-use place, communicating across borders, time, cultures, platforms, and versions becomes infinitely easier. Retailers can efficiently manage overlap between brands, partners, teams and categories. It’s a win-win for retail buyers and their vendors. The vendors get to show their products more quickly, while merchandisers get to evaluate product assortments in a logical and easy way.
Most importantly though, once you can evaluate product information from various vendors accurately, you know what to order. PLM software makes it easy to decide the quantities and costs of your order upfront. This has a positive impact on your time to market, which gives you the ability to manage receivables and inventory more thoroughly. So you’re able to get the customer what they want, when they want it… and that’s what it’s really all about. Seek out and onboard an excellent PLM solution to increase your speed to market to remain a leader in the retail game.