The Challenges of Clustering

As the seasons change and the weather starts to warm up, I found myself on the hunt for a new summer outfit – ideally a lightweight blouse paired with a matching skirt. While the merchandise I’m looking to buy isn’t necessarily relevant, the situation I found myself in is.

It’s the kind of situation consumers experience waaay too frequently and, frankly, a large reason why providing a stellar customer experience while improving sell-through is such a challenge for many retailers today. 

The story goes like this: 

I came across THE perfect blouse/skirt on a retailer’s e-commerce page. Sizing is always a potential issue so instead of making an online order, I resort to a brick-and-mortar visit.

As I make my way to this retailer’s store, ready and willing to spend, I ultimately find:

  1. The blouse isn’t available at that particular location
  2. The skirt isn’t available in the size or color I wanted
  3. The sales associate was super unhelpful (irrelevant to the point I’m trying to make – but argh—still worth noting) 

Okay, fine. It happens. How was the retailer to know I was going to waltz into their Newbury location looking for product A and product B?

The thing is, businesses “doing retail right” do know – and plan their assortment accordingly. Successful retailers know when it comes to finalizing their assortment plan for the upcoming season, they must rely on truly localized demand to ensure they stock the right product at the right location (and in this particular instance, in the right color and size).

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Topics: allocation, assortment optimization, customer experience, merchandise planning, customer choice, merchandise buy, retail clustering, customer preference

Your Stores Might Need an Overhaul

It’s no secret things have been tough out there for brick-and-mortar retailers of late. But lost in all the juicy coverage of closings, shut-downs, and “going out of business” sales is the fact that plenty of traditional brick-and-mortar retailers are doing just fine.

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Topics: assortment optimization, in-store assortment, concept stores

3 Reasons Why Valentine’s Day Shopping Has Gone Sour This Year

Valentine’s Day celebrations began innocently enough. In the mid-1800s, to mark the occasion and reaffirm their love for one another, trendy couples exchanged inexpensive greeting cards. The practice grew in popularity over the ensuing decades, and by the 1920s, manufacturers saw sales of V-Day cards explode to $60 million, or about $766 million today.  

It didn’t go unnoticed.

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Topics: assortment optimization, customer experience, valentine's day

Retail Gets Touchy Feely

Earlier this week, Wal-Mart announced they were laying off hundreds of employees to realign the business and help strength the companies’ ecommerce operations.

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Topics: assortment optimization, omnichannel, in-store assortment

Top 3 Ways Retailers Are Using VR to Engage Customers

Earlier this month, Wayfair, the Boston-based e-commerce company specializing in home furnishing and decor, announced the launch of Patio Playground (you can find it here on the Oculus website), its proprietary virtual reality (VR) application.

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Topics: assortment optimization, customer experience, inventory, virtual reality

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