It is the era where the retail industry is flourishing by adopting various tools laced with different technology. Retailers are choosing to develop merchandise planning software to improve product assortment planning, optimize their inventory levels, and plan markdown and clearance strategies. This software is a wise choice for businesses willing to showcase their products effectively. Merchandising software allows the execution of an effortless process to plan and then manage the tasks related to merchandising. This tool can be used to enhance the work procedure, from collaborating across multiple teams to optimizing efficiency based on the previous relevant data.
The growing market size indicates that the perks offered by this software are increasing its adoption globally. By 2028 the market size of merchandise planning software is estimated to reach $2.9 billion, rising at a CAGR of 10.9% during the forecast period. Here through this blog, we will be talking about some crucial concepts that are significant for your knowledge if you are willing to adopt this software for your business.
- You can be selective as per your requirement and choose between the multiple types of merchandising planning software.
- The benefits of bagging the planning software for merchandise include reducing manual effort, offering a detailed view, planning for every possible outcome, and much more.
- Features like plan seeding, location planning, flexible grid planning, and many others enhance the software’s functioning for merchandise planning.
- In order to think about developing the best AI solution for retail few factors are significant to be considered.
- At last, learning about the development steps for this software will always be useful.
Table of Contents
What Is Merchandise Planning?
Before moving further, let us discuss what comes under merchandise planning. It is the plan that is used to define and execute the strategies that drive the selection, sourcing, pricing, and promotion of products in a retail or similar business. These plans are to be operated in a way that adds value to your business and satisfies your customer’s needs. By adopting the method of merchandise planning, one can easily avoid creating multiple inventories. With the help of this planning, businesses have control over the availability of the right product at the right time in the place where it’s required. It is the reason why merchandising software is being adopted by retailers. The AI solution for retail help the retailers to improve their operations, reduce costs, and provide better customer experiences by leveraging data and advanced technologies. By adopting AI solutions, retailers can gain a competitive advantage and increase their profitability.
Types of Merchandise Planning Software
The world is embracing digital transformation, so there is so better time to begin investing in next-gen retail technology. It is the reason why retailers are choosing why the software used for merchandise planning. The software is getting better and offering the advantage of streamlining almost all retail-related processes. With this software’s help, understanding customers’ expectations has become easy. There are different software’s used within the merchandising process, and here we have mentioned the major one for you.
Payment Processing Software
Another software used in merchandising is dedicated to making payment processing safe and easy. It will not be wrong to say that technology has added convenience to the payment process. Few clicks and the payment can reach its destination without any delay. It has made life easier for both customers as well as businesses. The billing-related issues have been reduced, and the purchase can be made from any location where the customer is comfortable. The credit can be given to the payment processing software, which has the features of keeping the payment process secure and hassle-free. It has expanded the sales limit, which is beneficial for the seller and purchaser.
Retail Execution Software
It is one of the most effective solutions used for the merchandising process. The retailers and vendors have multiple locations from where they work. There are chances that they have more than one store in different locations. Ensuring that the strategy is executed seamlessly at all locations is tough. The stores that have a high volume of products depend mostly on shelf execution which has to be flawless. All these issues can be solved with the retail execution software. It has the features of conducting retail audits, real-time task management, and much more. This retail merchandising planning software has management capabilities that can support the core workforce and showcase the best retail execution functionalities.
Inventory Control Software
It is the software type that helps companies to track the status of the product. With the help of this software, witnessing previous sales-related information and making plans based on the same has become easier. Businesses adopt this software as it prevents the delay of deliveries and smoothly fulfills the orders at the promised time. Businesses can have a real-time view of their inventory and offer them sales reports to help their business grow.
In this digital era, businesses have stopped relying on pencil and paper to sketch and plan their products display. When companies develop merchandise planning software, they add a planogram feature. It is software that helps to visualize the merchandising tools and offers the retail team clarity to design the store and decide the display it will have. With the correct display and product placement, the stores can do wonders in attracting customers, which is a vital part of retail. This software can create simple and clean designs, and the traditional planogram can also be managed digitally.
Advantages of Using Merchandise Planning Software
Today’s retailers have started leveraging custom retail software development services to ensure that their businesses gain a competitive advantage by providing unique solutions and automating processes. The traditional planning process included using spreadsheets, making display sketches with hands, and managing multiple inventories manually. It was tiring, and the risk of errors within the process was huge. With the introduction of planning software, businesses have bagged numerous benefits. We have mentioned some of the major ones here:
Plan For the Unexpected
With merchandise planning software, you can plan unexpected scenarios. It helps you in analyzing every nook of the financial plan that you have for your business. The impact your plans will have, the outcomes you will receive, everything can be analyzed with the help of this software. It allows you to use your in-season performance data and let you adjust your plans accordingly.
Reduction In Manual Effort
The traditional method of merchandise planning includes lots of manual effort. Initially, the team was formed to sketch the display of the retail stores; multiple inventories were made to keep track of the product-related detail, spreadsheets were used for planning, and so on. All these processes took a lot of work to keep up with, so there were higher chances of mistakes. But with the merchandise financial planning software, the manual efforts are effectively reduced as the display design, inventory management, tracking, payment, and other processes become easier.
Offers Detailed and Strategic View
With the help of this software, a certain flexibility has been added to the system of merchandise planning. It has offered the ability to have a strategic approach toward different business processes. It allows you to have a detailed view of every aspect of the process and create effective bottom-up and top-down plans. The plans made based on relevant information are significant for business growth.
Offers Data Integrity
Data integrity is one of the major perks businesses want in their merchandise planning. It is the way they leverage enterprise software development services. Data plays a vital role in planning or deciding anything related to the retail process. The system uses relevant data, and this helps the business to make quick and accurate decisions.
Must-Have Features of Merchandise Planning Software
Features play a significant role in supporting the functioning of retail merchandise planning software or any merchandising software. Features are one of the vital elements on which the software quality can be enhanced. The performance of the software depends upon the satisfaction of customers or users. The selection of features has to be done to benefit both the service providers and the users. Here we have mentioned a few vital features that should be within the software used for merchandise planning.
Data plays a vital role if you are making any decisions or plans. The historical data which is relevant to the plan has to be considered. The feature of plan seeding can help simplify the planning process by offering a glance at the related data.
Planning with Snapshots
The merchandise planning software that you wish to develop should include the plan snapshot feature. As this feature can help in capturing and comparing different plans. The snapshots can show every section in detail; thus, the comparison is accurate. The latest forecast can be compared to the initial stages, and the areas which need to be worked on are highlighted well.
Flexible Planning Grid
The planning process needs to be managed strategically by considering the product hierarchy and other complete metrics. Adding the feature of the planning grid, which is flexible, makes a calculation, tracking, and managing of the cash flow and financial; forecast easy. Adding or removing the metrics also can be done easily by simply dragging them in or out of the grid.
Category and Location Planning
The feature within your merchandise planning software will help you bag the assortment plans accurately. It can store clusters, and the system allows you to measure the performance of different categories at their respective location level. This feature automatically can reconcile and balance the merchandise plans and the locations.
Personalizing the Layouts
It is a crucial feature that can be used to smoothen up the operational process within your merchandise planning software. You can see the data relevant to your needs whenever you want. It is possible by creating a custom view showcasing the date range, metrics, and attributes gathered from the different stakeholders.
Inventory is one of the most crucial things for every business. So, monitoring the inventory within the specific cash flow cycle is essential. You need to develop merchandise planning software that helps you in monitoring the inventory investment from any time slot. With this feature, you can cut back on the receipts that are not needed within the merchandise plan of your organization or add the required receipt as required.
Factors that Impact the Merchandise Planning Software Development
It is good that you have decided to adopt software for merchandise planning for your business. But choosing the best AI software development company is not enough. As multiple significant factors will affect the development process, you must consider these. Here we have mentioned the major ones for you:
Competitor Analysis and Market Research
It is very significant to learn about the latest market trends. Conducting market research can allow your company to discover the demands of its target market. The customer’s interest in specific products or services is a piece of very good information that you can use.
Analyzing your competitors’ latest technologies, trends, and frameworks would be best. Learning about the automation goals and procedures your competitors are leveraging will help you compare your plans. It will give you an idea of how to add uniqueness to your services.
Other than features, UI/UX design is a critical aspect of custom retail software development as it can impact the overall success of the software by improving the user experience, increasing productivity, and improving data management. UI refers to the user interface, and UX refers to the user experience. The screens, buttons, and ease of exploring the software and its features result from a better UI. It helps in improving the user experience and making your software user-friendly. It is one of the vital factors you must consider before hiring the team to develop merchandise planning software.
MVP is Significant
Minimum Viable Product (MVP) is a prototype developed per the features and designs you have selected. MVP can help you analyze your product’s appearance and function without developing the final solution. This way, the features, and designs can be changed without spending many resources. Hence, it is always wise to begin with an MVP.
Choosing Expert Consultation
Taking an AI consultation from the experts is always very beneficial and can be very useful when developing AI-based software for merchandise planning. The experienced experts will guide you in selecting the best designs and features that will be best for your business goals. They can help you elevate the development process by guiding you about what is trending in the market and how you can implement the tools to grow as per market demands.
How to Develop Merchandise Planning Software?
After learning about the factors that can affect the development of your software, it’s time to move ahead. We have mentioned significant steps that the AI software development company takes to develop the merchandise planning solution empowered by AI for your business.
Assess the Market and Understand Customer Behavior
The first step demands you assess the market you wish to target. You need to understand the latest trends that are capturing the market. The technologies and tools used for the various services also need your attention. Judging your customer behavior based on their demand will be useful for the project.
Setting Objectives and Creating Strategies
Establishing strategies and objectives helps you convey the exact demand to the enterprise software development company. So, this is the next step for you. You need to use the data you gathered from your market research. Once you have a clear idea about the market and the trends based on the growing customer demand, you can use this data. This information can be used to plan your business goals and create strategies for fulfilling your objectives.
Choosing a Development Team
Another crucial step is of choosing a team for your project. You can make a choice and set up an in-house team, but it will cost a bit more. On the other hand, choosing any staff augmentation company for your project can be considered a pocket-friendly decision.
Testing and Deploying the Project
Lastly, you need to test your merchandise planning software against every requirement. You get to verify and evaluate the software applications through the testing process. You can check whether the product is fulfilling the purpose for which it was designed. This step will assure you that your system is free of bugs and will also show if any alteration is required.
Scrolling down the entire blog would have given you a clear idea about how merchandise planning software is beneficial for retailers looking to improve their buying and stocking processes and increase profitability. With its advanced analytics and forecasting capabilities, this software can help retailers to identify trends, reduce stock levels, and increase sales. Additionally, its ability to integrate with other retail systems and data sources can deliver a more detailed view of the business and enhance data management.
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