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Reshma suhas

Reshma Suhas is a Principal Product Specialist for Retail centric Analytics solutions at Manthan and specializes in fashion, specialty and department store retailing, with over 14 years of rich, hands-on retail industry experience. At Manthan, Reshma's focus is to institute decision making disciplines within Fashion Retailers with an aim to making them analytical competitors. Reshma firmly believes that Fashion retailers who make the best use of data-driven strategies in the next decade will emerge winners in their markets.

Customer Centric Assortment Tuning strategies

Customer centricity has become a business imperative driven by the consumerization wave and e-tailing which provides consumers with a plethora of options to choose from. Retailers that adopt product sourcing and development strategies aligned with what the customer wants stand to have a better chance of success.”Turning customer-centric” can be achieved by investing in easy to adopt, advanced technologies that make execution a natural progression from mere static analytics.

Assortment tuning driven by Analytics

Such technologies facilitate information on customer purchase behavior across multiple channels, which then act as a feed for the creation of Customer Centric assortments for every touch-point, thereby maximizing salability. Assortment tuning has been done by merchandisers for decades, but customer centric tuning is the need of the hour. Keener understanding of the evolving market trends, local trends in buying patterns as well as the customer segments by geography, demographic and psychographic tastes is critical. This can be addressed by customer profiling and analytics that help a retailer understand customer behavior and buying patterns; and then tuning the assortment based on geography, demographics and psychographics. Gartner observes that “Without advanced analytic capabilities, retailers will not be able to compete in the digitalized marketplace”.*

But how? – Customer centricity in action

For instance, a store carrying mid range and premium goods across different age bands must be able to tune the assortment by store and season, taking into account the characteristics of consumers living near the store. If people living near the Springfield store have middle class income and are comprised of millenial buyers, then the assortment must include mid-range goods but also have some high end goods for aspiration buying. Space allocated to the fashion preferred by younger buyers should be more than the fashion preferred by baby boomers. This kind of assortment tuning needs to happen by location and channel to create a desirable experience for the consumer. Customer centric assortments are an outcome of using a collection of customer and sales data and related analytics to come up with an assortment mix, tuned by geography as well as demographic and psychographic attributes. Validity and success of the tuned assortment needs to be measured and analyzed again to improve business continuously. Thus a transformation in the way assortment is planned and managed in an information- centric culture is needed. Learn how you seamless integrate analysis and insights into action and make the shift from Product Centricity to Customer Centricity on this interactive customer centric merchandising page.

Manthan Retail Analytics and Customer Centric Assortments

Manthan Retail Analytics offers the much required link between discovery and execution with its combination of comprehensive pre-built (out-of–the box) and self-service analytics that brings to surface actionable merchandising insights. With modern business intelligence capabilities that span descriptive, predictive and prescriptive analytics, Manthan Retail Analytics helps retailers localize assortments, design promotions, optimize pricing strategies and align product placements. All based on customer needs and preferences. This is achieved by combining customer behavior, buying patterns, geo-spatial, census data with product, sales information to predict and prescribe merchandising actions. A 3Billion, Multi-format retailer partnered with Manthan in an effort to move toward customer-centric business planning for its fashion business. Customer segmentation using Manthan’s clustering algorithm, helped the retailer reclaim an average of 5% of lost sales and reduce out-of-stocks from 7% to a more customer-friendly level. * Retailers Find Success Using Self-Service and Advanced Analytics, Robert Hetu, 24 April 2015 Assortment Optimization

Sort it Out. The need for Customer Centric Merchandising Assortments.

Retailers are under tremendous pressure because of channel proliferation, fickle consumers, increasing price sensitivity and lack of brand loyalty. In order to attract new customers and retain existing ones, retailers must understand customer tastes, trends, buying patterns and tune merchandise assortments accordingly.

Here are a few reasons why building a 'Customer Centric Assortment' strategy is certainly key to Retailer’s success in today’s dynamic environment.

The need for a seamless omnichannel shopping experience

Consumers have become even more demanding than before. Thanks to the internet and social media, consumers are much more aware of what is available, prices across retailers, latest trends; and want the convenience of buying anytime and anywhere across the multiple channels at their disposal. A customer may start browsing products online but choose to buy in store or vice-versa. The number of people shopping online on mobile devices is rapidly growing. A retailer must be reachable across various channels – mobile apps, websites, stores, social media; and be able to recognize and provide a seamless and consistent experience to the customer across channels. In addition, customers have come to expect a personalized experience catered to their tastes, preferences and latest trends as the norm.

Brand Loyalty no more

Customers’ shopping behaviors exhibit “channel-hopping “ which involves looking up products in store, studying reviews and comparing prices before closing in on the “best deal” online. Brand loyalty is under constant attack in developed economies and virtually non-existent in developing economies, especially when buying certain products like fashion and electronics. Customers are both product and technology savvy and extremely fickle. “Social Media influenced buying” is on the rise – heavily influenced by peers groups. In addition, flexibility of payment options is key differentiator for big ticket items as well as aspiration buying.

To be able to succeed it is important to be able to manage operations across multiple channels, have a complete understanding of customer buying behaviours while having a single view of the customer. Thereby, customer centric assortments can directly translate to steeper sales and profitability, stronger brands and more loyal customers.

Learn how you seamless integrate analysis and insights into action and make the shift from Product Centricity to Customer Centricity on this interactive customer centric merchandising page.

Assortment Optimization