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5 Reasons Why Fashion & Retail Brands Need Retail Planning


Get the right products to the right place at the right time

Does it feel like a battle to protect and preserve product margins in today’s chaotic times? Is lack of agility and streamlined processes keeping you from missing sales opportunities? The fashion and retail industry has always been fraught with challenges. Add in the global turbulence caused by the supply chain upheaval, Ukraine war, energy crisis and inflation, and heads of merchandise planning and operations find themselves under increasing pressure to get the right products, to the right place, at the right time.

You are looking for a way to get ahead of the challenges and equip your teams with the tools to be agile and flexible so you can be effective and react quickly to any external crisis impacting your company. How can you optimize internal merchandise planning processes to shield your fashion and retail business from external risks?

In this blog, you’ll discover how modern planning systems can be game changers and help avoid overbuying, reduce markdowns, improve inventory distribution, plan assortments with ease, make informed decisions quickly, and do away with spreadsheets and manual tasks. What could this bring to your business; and what are the risks if you don’t get a handle on planning?

Read on to discover the top five reasons why today’s fashion and retail brands need to invest in retail planning.

1. Stop overbuying and get better control of product costs

When teams don’t have the right digital tools to accurately forecast, fashion and retail brands face the costly risk of overbuying and overproducing. Holding a surplus of inventory is a massive liability and all of this leads to dwindling product margins, uninformed new product development budgeting and increased storage expenses.

Retail Planning empowers merchandise, planning and finance teams to get the right number and the right mix of products, allowing for accurate financial targets for each channel and market, optimizing assortments and ensuring sell through at full price. A planning solution gives teams the power of prediction so they can anticipate future demand, forecast sales accounting for seasonal patterns, and align sales and category plans to optimize inventory.

2. Reduce the need for markdown — sell more products at full price and increase product margins

Carrying a surplus of products leave fashion and retail brands in the precarious position of having to markdown prices, shrinking the bottom line and margins. Constantly slashing product prices can tarnish the reputation of brands, as discounted prices can devalue the perceived value of products in the eyes of the customer.

Because Retail Planning seamlessly uses real-time data, and simulates a range of scenarios, you can more quickly and accurately forecast. When markets forces change or external factors come into play, teams are empowered with full visibility of where products are.

Full visibility of in-season performance and trends is a breeze with an integrated solution. With real-time planning brands get closer to their customers, intimately understanding what products they desire and precisely where they expect to find them.

3. Plan assortments with ease, amid varying complexities

Accurate assortment planning is contingent on a range of complexities including number of stores, locations, geographies, number of SKUs, product variety, collections, regional differences, customer preferences and multiple channels. Working with antiquated tools and disparate information leads to guesswork and inaccurate demand forecasts.

A modern planning system helps to ensure customer demands are met and the right product assortment makes it to the right place, at the right time. The streamlining capabilities gives merchandisers and planners real time data, in one central location, so they can plan assortments with ease. Full visibility of complex factors enables planning at a granular level and powers quick decision-making. The result — more accurate planning and a stronger alignment with decisions, vision and execution.

4. Do away with spreadsheets and chaos

Spreadsheets have their time and place; but when it comes to planning and forecasting, they are so last season! When complex data lives on multiple spreadsheets, and teams are manually entering data, chaos ensues. It is a cumbersome and tedious path to planning, roll-ups and high-level overviews for decision makers are nearly impossible to provide and the potential for errors is enormous.

Retail Planning consolidates and synchronizes data giving teams access to the most up-to-date information needed across the planning and product development lifecycles. Merchandise plans can be developed in days, and rollups and overviews can be shared at the click of a mouse. The flexible analytics of an integrated planning system drive the creation of visual top/down and bottom/up line plans that can be shared across the company, speeding the entire planning and product development cycle.

5. Allocate and replenish products easily with a fluid inventory

The absence of a modern retail planning solution often leads to holding too much inventory, limited visibility of where stock is, and an inability to handle different stores opening and closing due to severe disruptions like those experienced during COVID. When stock allocation is off, companies have a mismatch of what products belong in the right cluster of stores, leading to wastage and unnecessary costs due to stock re-allocation, additional transportation and missed sales.

The power of a retail planning solution allows innovative brands to quickly and accurately anticipate demand to drive correct stock management and vendor replenishment. Robust and up-to-date data ensures the right quantities of products are in the right place at the right time and omnichannel selling is made easy with optimized inventory.

The verdict is in — for fashion and retail brands who want to overcome the myriad of complexities of managing 1,000’s of SKUs across collections, channels, stores, geographies, customer, and regional preferences, a modern and intuitive retail planning solution is a must have. With the right cloud-based solution heads of merchandise, retail & operations, buying and inventory are empowered to do what they do best.

Agility, flexibility, and the ability to get closer to your customers will ultimately save time and money and boost margins. Future proof your fashion and retail brand with Retail Planning today.

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  • Centric Planning customer success stories such as Guess® and About You. See how leaders in the fashion and retail industry harnessed the power of a modern retail planning solution to drive results.
  • The quintessential checklist for every merchandise and planning leader to easily identify your most pressing planning challenges.
  • A complete guide to help merchandise planners build an indisputable business case for a modern retail planning solution.
  • In-depth videos featuring the most innovative Retail Planning solution for assortment and financial planning.