Merchandise Planner Workflow Map

In this article, we’ve created a starter Merchandise Planner Workflow Map that you can use to start planning out your product/service delivery and we’ve outlined a few examples of experiments that you can run in your Merchandise Planner role.

Ready to get started? Download the Workflow Map template or get in touch to discuss how a workflow coach could help you fast-track your business improvement.

Systems & Processes for Merchandise Planner

The path towards better systems and processes in your Merchandise Planner role starts with mapping out your most important business processes. Being able to see your business processes laid out visually helps you to collaborate with your team on how to improve and grow. By repeating this collaboration process, you’ll develop a culture of continuous improvement that leads to a growing business and streamlined systems and processes that increase customer & staff experience.

To help you start mapping out your processes, we’ve developed a sample flow for a Merchandise Planner Workflow Map that you can use with your team to start clarifying your processes and then run Business Experiments so you can build a better business.

Workflow Map For A Merchandise Planner

1. Demand forecasting: Analyzing historical sales data and market trends to predict future demand for merchandise.
2. Assortment planning: Determining the range and variety of products to be offered based on customer preferences, market trends, and sales data.
3. Vendor selection and negotiation: Identifying and selecting suitable vendors or suppliers for the merchandise, negotiating pricing, terms, and conditions.
4. Purchase order creation: Generating purchase orders to communicate the merchandise requirements to vendors, including quantities, delivery dates, and pricing.
5. Inventory management: Monitoring and controlling inventory levels to ensure optimal stock availability while minimizing excess or obsolete inventory.
6. Receiving and quality control: Inspecting and verifying the received merchandise against purchase orders, ensuring quality standards are met.
7. Allocation and distribution: Allocating merchandise to different store locations or distribution centers based on demand, sales performance, and inventory levels.
8. Visual merchandising: Collaborating with store teams to create visually appealing displays and layouts that enhance the customer shopping experience.
9. Sales analysis: Analyzing sales data and performance metrics to identify trends, opportunities, and areas for improvement in merchandise planning and allocation.
10. Continuous improvement: Regularly reviewing and refining merchandise planning strategies, processes, and systems to optimize efficiency, profitability, and customer satisfaction

Business Growth & Improvement Experiments

1. Name: Assortment Optimization Experiment
Description: Analyze historical sales data and customer preferences to identify underperforming products and replace them with more popular items. Adjust the assortment mix by introducing new products or removing slow-moving ones. Monitor the impact on sales, customer satisfaction, and inventory turnover.
Expected Outcome: Increased sales revenue, improved customer satisfaction, and optimized inventory levels.

2. Name: Demand Forecasting Experiment
Description: Implement a more sophisticated demand forecasting model that incorporates factors such as seasonality, promotions, and market trends. Compare the accuracy of the new model with the existing one and measure the impact on inventory management, stockouts, and order fulfillment.
Expected Outcome: Enhanced inventory planning, reduced stockouts, improved order fulfillment rates, and minimized excess inventory.

3. Name: Pricing Strategy Experiment
Description: Test different pricing strategies, such as dynamic pricing, price bundling, or promotional discounts, on selected product categories or customer segments. Monitor the impact on sales volume, profit margins, and customer behavior to determine the most effective pricing approach.
Expected Outcome: Increased sales volume, improved profit margins, and a better understanding of customer price sensitivity.

4. Name: Vendor Performance Evaluation Experiment
Description: Evaluate the performance of different vendors based on criteria such as product quality, delivery reliability, and pricing. Identify underperforming vendors and negotiate better terms or seek alternative suppliers. Measure the impact on product quality, lead times, and cost savings.
Expected Outcome: Improved product quality, reduced lead times, cost savings through better vendor negotiations, and enhanced supplier relationships.

5. Name: Inventory Optimization Experiment
Description: Implement inventory optimization techniques, such as ABC analysis, economic order quantity (EOQ), or just-in-time (JIT) inventory management. Monitor the impact on inventory turnover, carrying costs, and stockouts to identify the most efficient inventory management approach.
Expected Outcome: Reduced carrying costs, improved inventory turnover, minimized stockouts, and increased cash flow.

6. Name: Cross-Functional Collaboration Experiment
Description: Foster collaboration between merchandise planning, marketing, and operations teams to align strategies and streamline processes. Implement regular cross-functional meetings, share data and insights, and jointly develop promotional campaigns or product launches. Measure the impact on communication, efficiency, and overall business performance.
Expected Outcome: Improved communication, streamlined processes, increased efficiency, and enhanced overall business performance.

7. Name: Customer Segmentation Experiment
Description: Analyze customer data to identify distinct segments based on demographics, buying behavior, or preferences. Tailor merchandise planning strategies, product assortments, and marketing campaigns to target specific customer segments. Monitor the impact on customer acquisition, retention, and sales conversion rates.
Expected Outcome: Increased customer acquisition and retention, improved sales conversion rates, and personalized customer experiences.

8. Name: Technology Integration Experiment
Description: Explore and implement technology solutions, such as merchandise planning software, data analytics tools, or inventory management systems, to automate processes and improve decision-making. Measure the impact on efficiency, accuracy, and scalability of merchandise planning operations.
Expected Outcome: Increased operational efficiency, improved data accuracy, enhanced decision-making capabilities, and scalability of merchandise planning processes

What Next?

The above map and experiments are just a basic outline that you can use to get started on your path towards business improvement. If you’d like custom experiments with the highest ROI, would like to work on multiple workflows in your business (for clients/customers, HR/staff and others) or need someone to help you implement business improvement strategies & software, get in touch to find out whether working with a workflow coach could help fast-track your progress.

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