Technology Warehouse Management

Top 5 Challenges Within the Warehouse and How to Solve Them

As retail and e-commerce turn into highly competitive spaces warehouse management is also becoming more and more challenging. Customers these days expect lightning-fast deliveries, convenient shopping experiences, and easy returns. This requires greater flexibility, proactive handling, and a technology-driven warehouse management system backing the sales channels. 

With new trends such as omnichannel taking full effect, the challenges are further complicated as warehousing now requires a highly customer-centric approach. Competition is getting increasingly intense as smaller brands operating neck to neck with established giants, seek to carve out their place in the market. This often results in dropping margins and demands greater efficiency to stay afloat. 

As such, accurate inventory management, optimum picking and packing, transparency, and traceability of items are some of the must-have features of warehouse management systems, to ensure the highest levels of customer satisfaction and brand loyalty. 

Let’s take a look at the top 5 challenges in a warehouse today, and ways to tackle them effectively.

  1. Inventory tracking during BAU (Business as usual) and during peak sales period

As businesses expand, tracking the inventory manually can be extremely tardy and hectic. Inventory digitization and serialization ensure seamless inventory tracking within and outside the warehouse. This is all the more crucial during peak sales periods like the end-of-season sales or festive sales since only an automated system can ensure continuous, real-time tracking when the stakes are the highest. Barcoding and serialization help cut down human errors and inaccuracies. This enables warehouse personnel to log the inventory correctly and locate it easily as and when they wish to move it. 

2. Efficient Picking and Packing to Meet SLA Requirements

Undue delays and inexplicable inaccuracies can turn out to be the most difficult challenges in meeting SLAs. This, in the long run, can result in an increase in the rate of returns, higher customer churn, and loss of revenue. These issues can be tackled with efficient picking and packing so that only the right products in the right quantities are shipped. 

Increff WMS express picking enables auto picklist-based SLA and channel priority to ensure express delivery orders are dispatched on priority. Pick efficiency is enhanced using the wave-wise picking technique. This way the picker doesn’t have to go to the same aisle multiple times to pick. With its image-assisted picking and packing, Increff ensures 100% order picking accuracy.

3. Minimizing Wastage and Obsolescence

Poor stock management is one of the leading reasons for wastage and obsolescence. Perishable products can especially be sensitive to expiry dates and highly prone to wastage. With automated solutions like Increff WMS, retailers can put in place an alert notification for batches approaching their expiry or sell-by date. Commonly known as the FEFO (First Expiry First Out) technique, this significantly avoids wastage and obsolescence in warehouses, especially for brands dealing in Pharma, Cosmetics, and Consumables. 

4. Maximizing Resource Efficiency and Productivity

As more and more players emerge and compete in the market, there’s growing pressure on each brand —both big and small—to improve their bottom line, maintain healthy margins, and boost productivity. By offering a simple UI, Increff enables brands to maximize the efficiency of their warehouse staff with the training of no more than 10-15 minutes. This is especially crucial during peak sales when brands have to hire additional personnel or conduct cross-functional training from within their staff. 

The system generates auto-alerts at every step and will not allow the warehousing staff to move ahead without resolving the previous error. This ensures every step is captured in the system and the errors get corrected at each step and are not amplified. By capturing the picker ID in the system, there is greater traceability and accountability for errors. 

Combining and executing multiple steps in the process also ensures high performance. Increff enables picking and auditing simultaneously, thus cutting down on any potential downtime. 

5. Faster re-commerce and returns management

In the year 2020, Americans returned goods worth a whopping $428 billion which made for a return rate of 10.6%. Quite clearly, managing returns is a serious challenge that brands must overcome proactively to ensure optimum profitability. Time-consuming returns may lead to loss of sales as products may not be visible on the sales channels immediately. 

To reduce the chances of loss of sales, WMS solutions enable brands to conduct a quality check of the returned goods, and sort them as resaleable, refurbishable, and rejected. In case the goods are rejected, capturing the exact reason for rejection can help in the correction of future errors, conduct vendor analysis, and staff training. With the right labels, tags, and barcoding, there are zero chances of mixing the returned goods, keeping the whole returns process streamlined. 

Having the right warehouse management system in place can help deal with all the above challenges with greater ease and agility. In fact, a cutting-edge WMS ensures brands stay ahead of the competition and ensure the highest levels of customer satisfaction and brand loyalty. 

Business Warehouse Management

How Technology is Propelling the Growth of D2C Brands

Brands that have a well-established presence among their customers can benefit significantly by opting for the D2C route of marketing. In the US alone, D2C sales are expected to reach $175 billion by 2023.  Even new and emerging brands find tremendous merit in D2C marketing as they wish to gain better control over their brand, eliminate the intermediary and acquire complete ownership of the customer’s journey. Technology has helped build a strong foundation for D2C brands to promote business growth:

– Emergence of easy SaaS-based website development platforms like Shopify, Magento, etc. have made it easy for merchandisers to open their own stores. 

– Quick preintegration with marketplaces have made it easy to expand the network and reach. 

– Smooth integration of SaaS-based, cloud-hosted Tech solutions help analyze demand and inventory levels.

Benefits of D2C

  • D2C enables brands to gain complete ownership of the value chain as well as the customer experience. They can create on-brand experiences throughout the customer journey and build rapport without having to rely on intermediaries. 
  • In a business world dominated by data, D2C gives brands a unique opportunity to capture comprehensive information about their target customer groups, thus enabling them to craft the right products, services, and communications.
  • Logistically, D2C makes a lot more sense as brands can directly reach out to their customers if they have a healthy online presence. It may even result in lower costs and better margins for the brands.
  • D2C is in line with the emerging trend of omnichannel commerce which allows customers to interact with the brands through multiple touch-points. Intermediary platforms like Amazon can hardly be expected to provide omnichannel services for each individual brand.

Challenges in going D2C and how technology is helping brands solve them

While D2C enables brands to retain and consolidate their identity and reach out to their customers directly, it also comes with its fair share of challenges. 

One such challenge is the direct confrontation with retailers who invariably have well-established marketing and communication channels. Brands pitting themselves against these intermediaries could get bogged down, as they will have to invest heavily in the marketing efforts that would otherwise have been borne by the intermediary.

But many of the challenges that D2C brings forth can be tackled with the help of technology-driven solutions. 

  • Maximizing the reach: Exposing 100% inventory and maximizing reach through a brand’s own website and multiple marketplaces through a single tech platform.
  • Real-time inventory-order sync: To ensure 100% of orders are captured and there are no cancellations due to overbooking.
  • Cloud warehousing: Possibility to outsource warehousing, without CapEx, to Industry experts and 3PL providers. This allows brands to build a strong warehousing network to capture customers at every point of sales.
  • Efficient and error-free fulfillment: Efficient warehousing is ensured with the use of technology and automation. Automation of processes helps minimize human decision-making errors and delays in order fulfillment. Digitization of inventory ensures 100% traceability and prevents wastage or loss of products in the warehouse. 
  • Simple UX/UI and easy accessibility: Ready dashboards to view brand, SKU & style performance at individual stakeholder levels from warehousing manager to Brand CEO. 
  • Reports of actionable insights: Easy to generate reports for analysis. Understanding channel performance and brand performance so that quick revisions can be done. 
  • Returns management: Easy returns analysis to capture the actual pain points and address them to minimize future returns. Rapid recommence to ensure maximum sales.

The emergence of D2C aggregators (Thrasio-style business model) in pushing the growth of D2C brands

A new trend on the D2C horizon is the emergence of Thrasio-style D2C aggregators that acquire new promising brands and help them expand. These brands often lack the support and technical know-how which is provided by the acquiring company. The companies also offer a common base of infrastructure that helps them support multiple brands. Besides, smaller brands also get ready access to technology upgrades which is essential to survive in the highly competitive marketplace of today. 

Companies like Perch, Moonshot, GlobalBees, Mensa Brands, G.O.A.T Brand Labs, etc. are following the footsteps of Thrasio to power the growth of D2C brands. Thrasio-style aggregators identify brands that are doing well on marketplaces and acquire them to provide expertise in marketing, brand development, and supply chain management, thus pushing for exponential growth. Having a coherent customer base, quality niche products, and a Thrasio-style backer now seems to be the perfect recipe for creating a successful D2C brand.

D2C is one of the fastest emerging trends on the e-commerce horizon. All that brands need is the ability to scale faster with the help of best-in-class technology as well as some Thrasio-style financial backing. While the challenges are many, D2C as a trend is coping well to create a level playing field for smaller and newer brands.

Business Technology

5 Growing Technology Trends Reshaping the Retail Industry

Cutting-edge technology has left no sector of the economy untouched and is turning out to be one of the biggest drivers of efficiency, customer experience, and profitability. In the last few years, the retail industry has also been experiencing some transformative technological interventions that are reshaping the way business is done.  At the very heart of this transformation is the growth in ICT (Information & Communication Technology) and digital technology. This is going to have an impact on how the industry will evolve in the coming years. In this blog, we talk about the top 5 technology trends that are at the forefront of this global transformation in retail.

  1. Omnichannel retail

Omnichannel retail seeks to provide an unprecedented number of options to customers in terms of shopping and delivery. It puts customers right at the center of the retail process. Omnichannel allows customers to interact with the brand at multiple touchpoints and switch between channels while shopping for products. Customers making a purchase on a brand’s social media page can pick up the product from their brick-and-mortar store.

Omnichannel provides customers a consistent shopping experience across diverse platforms, both online and offline. This however creates new challenges for brands at the backend and compels them to be more agile and flexible with their fulfillment process. 

Omnichannel is driven by a robust technology infrastructure. Connecting all the retail channels and integrating the assortments of all warehouses and stores is essential, and is done using automation-backed solutions. Inventory barcode and serialization facilitate easy tracking of items as they move fluidly across channels. Likewise, analytics and automation help position products at the right locations which helps reduce delivery time as well as logistics costs.

2. Need for immediate gratification

As new players enter the retail fray, customers are spoiled for choice, not just in terms of product options but also in the speed of delivery. Same-day delivery is gradually paving way for delivery within a few hours’ time. This requires rethinking the product placement and logistics on the part of the brands.

Accurate forecasting and data analysis, coupled with automation, can help brands make better decisions and place the right products close to their customer base. In-season sales and inter-warehouse transfers can further help meet the changing demand of the local market. More and more brands are now opting for distributed warehousing and on-demand warehousing, allowing brands to place the most sought-after products as close to customer clusters as possible.

3. Automation of processes to reduce dependence on skilled labor 

One of the most formidable challenges that companies faced during the pandemic was the shortage of skilled labor. This often made handling of equipment and technology difficult as most of the workforce lacked adequate training. 

But with technology solutions like Increff WMS, there is a greater role for automation and much lesser reliance on a trained or skilled workforce. The UX/UI is often very simple and easy to use. Besides, the automatic pop-ups act as warning signals in case of any errors in the input, and prevent the user from advancing, unless the error is cleared at each step. This means just about anyone with basic training can operate the system and keep the show running.

4. Meaningful partnerships for value addition and hyper-localization

The hyperlocal delivery industry is expected to grow up to $3634 billion by 2027 at a CAGR of 17.9% between 2019-2027. An increasing number of brands are now relying upon local partners for their last-mile logistics and other specialized tasks. 

Hyperlocal partners are most effective in supplying goods like drugs and groceries that require quicker fulfillment. They reduce the reliance on the larger supply chain and provide for better business continuity in case of disruptions elsewhere. However, establishing a meaningful partnership with hyperlocal players means brands must integrate with them seamlessly on a robust technology platform, making them a part of their supply chain.

5. Sustainable retailing

Using technology and automation to route goods through the shortest possible pathways means savings for brands and other stakeholders, and also reduced levels of emissions. Greater levels of accuracy mean the reduced likelihood of returns and therefore elimination of additional transportation. By leveraging options like distributed warehousing and placing goods closer to the customers, brands are also able to create shorter supply chains, maximize sales and boost sustainability in retail for a better future. 

With technology as the main driving force, these crucial trends are all set to reshape the retail industry and make a lasting impact on how the business is going to evolve from here on. Quite evidently, these trends are expected to create value for all stakeholders, including the environment.


Digital Transformation in B2B Commerce

The retail business landscape is changing faster than ever. For e-commerce merchants, that change has come in the form of increased competition, changing consumer preferences, and new technologies that enable retailers to reach new customers. For business-to-business (B2B) merchants, it has come in the form of new business models, new sales channels, and new partners. As a result, there is an urgent need to transform businesses to succeed in this new digital era. Let’s address why that transformation is so significant and how it can positively impact your e-commerce business.

“Digital transformation is a rapidly growing trend in B2B commerce as businesses increasingly turn to technology-driven solutions to streamline and modernize operations.”

The core of B2B digital transformation is innovative technologies such as big data analytics, AI-powered chatbots, and supply-chain solutions that enable businesses to automate processes and improve customer experience. The goal is to use technology to create value for the business and its customers. This can mean anything for B2B merchants, from creating a new online sales channel to implementing a new customer relationship management (CRM) system. It can also mean something as simple as using social media to connect with customers in a new way.

As B2B buyers become more comfortable making purchases online and conducting research on their own, B2B merchants need to find new ways to reach and connect with them.

How digital transformation in B2B commerce can help you stay ahead in the competition?

Digital transformation can help businesses improve efficiency, optimize operations, and better meet the needs of their customers. By embracing digital transformation, B2B businesses can stay ahead of the competition and position themselves for long-term success.

B2B buyers are increasingly expecting the same level of convenience and service from B2B merchants that they have expected from B2C retailers. To meet these expectations, B2B merchants need to be able to quickly adapt and modernize by implementing new technologies that will enable them to sell more effectively and help retain clients.

Digital transformation helps B2B merchants improve customer relationships by using data and analytics to understand their customers better. They can create customized offerings that will lead to repeat business. By implementing new technologies, B2B merchants can save time in routine tasks and focus on developing stronger relationships with their customers.

Digital B2B commerce solutions now enable online roadshows that are a great way to reach out to potential customers by promoting a product or service in a fast and effective way. An online roadshow can be an effective and affordable marketing game plan, for B2B merchants, to put together a large catalogue in the shortest period and with the smallest budget, and create new revenue streams by opening up opportunities for new products and service offerings.

Making B2B business easy, intuitive, and interactive for buyers

A majority of B2B purchases are deliberate and less emotional. There is no room for impulse buys here. So, any product/service suggestions or attempts at cross/upselling you make must be purposeful. AI-driven recommendations can assist with this task.

Since there are multiple stakeholders, evaluations to conduct, and more red tape to go through, the B2B buying process is more time-consuming.  By ensuring that clients receive everything they require at once, you can help them streamline and minimize the lead-time of that procedure.

If you are ready to start the digital transformation in your B2B business, you can do a few things to get started.  First, take a close look at your customer base and identify any changes in their needs or buying habits. Next, evaluate your current sales process, lead time, and other KPIs and look for improvement opportunities. Finally, consider implementing new technologies that work as a catalyst and help you reach your goals.

Digital transformation is a journey, not a destination. There is no one-size-fits-all solution, and the best way to transform your B2B business will vary depending on your specific goals and objectives. However, by taking the time to understand the opportunities and challenges digital transformation presents, you can position your B2B business for success in the years to come.


Digital transformation is a significant topic of discussion in the business world today. And for a good reason: the marketplace is changing rapidly, and B2B merchants need to implement new technology-driven solutions to stay competitive. While challenges are associated with digital transformation, the benefits outweigh the risks. For B2B merchants who want to stay ahead of the curve, digital transformation is the way forward.

Business Smart Merchandising

Inter-store transfers; An inventory optimization solution

You have probably heard about the concept of inventory optimization, but do you know how to make the most of it?

Inventory management is a tricky business. Too much inventory and you are tying up valuable resources that could be used elsewhere, too little inventory and you risk losing sales. What if there was a way to optimize inventory to always have just the right amount in hand? A way to ensure ideal inventory at all times?

Maintaining the right quantity of inventory required to meet demand, keeping logistics costs low, and avoiding common inventory issues such as stockouts, overstocking, or deadstock — make optimized allocation and replenishment in inventory management essential for any retail business. Store-to-store or inter-store transfer effectively manages seasonal and geographical demand fluctuations and is an effective way to optimize inventory. 

How does Inter-store transfer (IST) optimize inventory? 

Demand forecasting is vital for any retail business, but it is not perfect. Demand forecasting often fails, resulting in too much or too little inventory. One way to mitigate the risks of demand forecasting is to use store-to-store transfers to optimize inventory. Inventory management is a crucial part of any retail business. Too much inventory can tie up capital and lead to stockouts, while too little can result in lost sales. Inventory optimization is the process of finding the perfect balance between these two extremes, and store-to-store transfer is an effective way to optimize inventory. 

This technique also ensures that all stores of the retailer have the right mix of products in terms of colours, sizes, fit types, etc., while reducing overall inventory levels and costs. It also improves customer service levels by reducing stock-outs and increasing the availability of products. Overall, it is a powerful tool to help retailers improve their inventory management and bottom line.

Optimize seasonal inventory management with IST

There are several benefits of using inter-store transfers to optimize and better manage seasonal inventory. The very concept of a season has been re-defined in modern retail. Some retailers choose the conventional path of four seasons in a year, viz, Spring, Summer, Fall, and Winter. At the same time, retailers like Zara do twelve seasons in a calendar year, which means new stocks in the stores every month. With significant variations in climatic conditions within a country and during the same period, a store in a warmer climate could be selling more of a different product type than a store in a cooler temperature. Real-Time Data analysis can enable timely Inter store transfer to ensure that stores have the right inventory to meet customer demand.

When inventory is not selling at one location, it can be transferred to another site where it is more likely to sell. This helps businesses avoid the cost of storing excess inventory and better utilize their space.

The Role of technology in Inter-store Transfers

  • Technology Solutions to ease inventory optimization

Technology solutions can help retailers optimize their inventory levels and improve customer satisfaction. Inventory management software can provide insights into customer demand patterns and help retailers plan inter-store transfers to avoid stockouts. 

With real-time data and automated processes, retailers can quickly and accurately identify where inventory needs to be transferred to optimize their overall inventory levels. 

Additionally, tools like predictive analytics can help retailers anticipate trends and plan inter-store transfers accordingly, further enhancing customer satisfaction levels. 

The right technology solutions help retailers:

  • Analyze demand patterns and make recommendations
  • Conduct new-season and mid-season replenishments, 
  • Automate replenishment of fast sellers, 
  • Adjust inventory for seasonal changes and spikes, 
  • Consolidate stock sizes between stores 
  • Avoid stock-outs or over-stocking in any particular store or season

Critical Advantages of Inter-store Transfers

  • Minimizes Dead Stock, i.e. inventory that sits on shelves and never sells. It is a waste of money and resources, as it ties up valuable space in your store. Transfer inventory that is not selling in one store to another store where it might sell better.
  • Helps reduce stockouts or overstocking in stores. Ensure your inventory is constantly moving and never stuck with inventory that you cannot sell.
  • Enhances ROS by making the right product available at the right location 
  • Helps manage seasonal demand spikes
  • Supplements mid-season replenishments 
  • Better inventory turns by allocating stocks in the most appropriate locations 
  • Enhanced customer satisfaction

There are a few things to keep in mind when using Inter-store Transfers. 

First, it is essential to have a good understanding of your inventory levels and needs. Second, Store-To-Store Transfer should be used in conjunction with other inventory management techniques, such as just-in-time (JIT) production and Kanban systems. Adopting a robust inventory management solution with JIT, Kanban, Allocation & Replenishment, etc., tools built-in can make Inter-Store Transfers easier.

Finally, Store-To-Store Transfer may not be a panacea for all inventory problems. Still, it can be a valuable tool in your inventory management arsenal when used efficiently with the help of intelligent software solutions available today.

Smart Merchandising

5 Extremely Useful Techniques to Boost Store Sales

While online shopping rises in trajectory, stores have continued to remain highly relevant. In the US, over 85% of retail still happens in physical stores, while ecommerce still represents a small percentage of total retail sales, that is, only 14.5%. 

Stores are widely known to add an element of localization to the business. Having a strong local presence is essential to establishing a brand identity and creating a meaningful personal touch. Customers continue to visit stores to experience the products physically and test them in person before purchasing them. 

In this blog, we take you through the top 5 highly useful techniques to boost store sales instantly.

  1. Maintain the health of your stock

Make sure every product has an adequate number of sizes and styles. Have enough XL, L, M, and S sizes for each product. By eliminating or reducing stock brokenness, there is the least likelihood of losing sales and revenues. To maintain the health of the stock, brands can use techniques like auto-replenishment or take measures like inter-store transfer or transfer from the warehouses. Data analysis has a significant role to play in maintaining the health of the stock as it can give brands a fair idea of the potential distribution curve for various sizes and styles.

2. Boost inventory exposure to maximize sales

A lot of challenges in modern inventory management lie in the lack of visibility across different markets and locations. This becomes all the more complex as omnichannel overtakes retail businesses and demands better integration among various channels. 

Improving integration and ensuring a seamless connection between ERPs and warehouse management solutions can drive inventory exposure significantly. Making the right inventory available in the right stores as per regional demand means enhancing the likelihood of conversions. It also helps increase the turnaround time and avoid unnecessary discounts by selling at just the right price on the basis of the local demand. Increff Offline to Online (O2O) helps expose store inventory to online consumers to increase sales conversion by enhancing product listings. 

3. Placing the right inventory in the right stores

Cutting-edge BI and accurate assortment planning help place the right products in the right stores. Demand analysis can keep brands abreast of the trends in regional demand and enable them to respond accordingly in terms of assortment planning. Demand analysis is not an ad hoc step, but a continuous process of evaluation of demand to enable better decision-making and create more accurate product assortments. 

Likewise, Regional Utilization has an entirely local focus and enables brands to make products available as close to the customer clusters as possible, besides reducing costs of logistics and delivery.

4. Top seller/core style identification 

Once brands are aware of their top-selling products or are able to identify the core style of their customers, they can have the right product mix in the right quantities. Each store could have a different top-selling style, shaped largely by factors such as local fashion outlook or cultural inclinations. Teaming a white shirt with blue jeans is a universal fashion favorite that brands must have in adequate quantities across stores so as not to miss out on sales opportunities. 

Conversely, it is also very helpful for brands to keep tabs on their slow-moving products so that they may avoid overstocking these items and freezing precious financial resources. Slow-moving products could be cleared faster using deals and discounts. 

5. Identification and pullback of dead stock

Brands must keep a vigil on the velocity of their products, especially the slow movers that can be cleared using markdowns. In case some products aren’t sold off despite using these tactics, brands must proactively identify the dead stock and pull it back into the warehouses. Alternatively, some products could also be shifted to other stores where they could be in demand in their local markets. This opens up the shelf space for better products that could attract buyers and help attain higher conversions for the brand. Replacing the dead stock with products that are trending in the market is simply a great way to boost sales.

Brick-and-mortar stores are unlikely to fade away anytime in the foreseeable future. Rather than ignoring this crucial source of revenue, brands must craft proactive strategies to pull customers into the stores, boost their conversion rate and raise a healthy revenue. The above-given tips are a proven solution to meet the growing challenges of physical store retail in times of the rapidly growing online retail industry.

Smart Merchandising Technology

Seasonal Inventory Management: New-Season Allocation & Mid-Season Replenishment

In today’s retail environment of fast fashion, retailers have to replenish their inventory constantly. One of the main challenges faced is finding the right balance between being proactive in forecasting demand and reacting to changes in supply and demand.  

Seasonal inventory management is a business method used to manage inventory allocation and replenishment most cost-effectively and efficiently. The right seasonal inventory management plan can help a business understand its demand patterns and anticipate future demand. This allows retailers to plan their stock levels, new-season allocation, and mid-season replenishment efficiently. 

The first step in seasonal inventory management is to understand customer demand patterns. This can be done by analyzing past sales data and trends. Retailers can also use market research and surveys to gather information about customer preferences. Forecasting demand is tricky, therefore retailers need to consider several factors, including the season, upcoming events, and trends. If demand is overestimated, retailers could end up with too much inventory. On the other hand, retailers could miss out on sales if demand is underestimated.

The next step in seasonal inventory management is developing a plan for allocating and replenishing inventory. Retailers need to decide how much inventory to keep in hand, and how often to replenish and distribute among stores.

Critical Elements of Seasonal Inventory Management

Predictive Demand Forecasting: Predictive demand forecasting uses past sales data to project future demand. Merchandisers can use predictive demand forecasting to plan inventory levels and product mix to have the right products in stock when customers want them. Predictive demand forecasting is essential for seasonal businesses, like retailers who sell summer clothes or winter sports gear. By looking at past sales data, retailers can predict how much demand there will be for specific products in the future and plan their inventory levels accordingly. This ensures that they do not overstock on items that customers do not want to buy and helps them avoid stockouts of popular items. To make predictive demand forecasting more accurate, retailers can use multiple sources, like point-of-sale data, customer surveys, and weather data. This can help them account for changes in customer behavior and demand patterns. Retailers often use various methods to forecast demand, including trend analysis, statistical forecasting models, and market research, to get an accurate picture of future demand and plan their inventory levels accordingly. Merchandisers need to be aware of the latest demand forecasting methods and technologies to make the most accurate predictions possible.

New-Season Allocation: Product allocation is the process of distributing new products to store shelves. When allocating new products, retailers must consider the product’s popularity, shelf life, and the available space in stores to maximize sales and minimize stock-outs. New-season allocation involves organizing how much inventory should be allocated to be sold in the upcoming season. There are a few things to keep in mind when doing this:

– The amount of inventory allocated should be based on data for past sales patterns. If demand was high, then more inventory should be allocated. If demand was low, then less stock should be allocated.

– Allocating too much or too little inventory can be costly. If there is too much inventory, it ties up working capital and can lead to markdowns, too little inventory can result in lost sales.

– The goal is to have the proper inventory to meet customer demand without tying up too much working capital.

Mid-Season Replenishment: Mid-season replenishment involves rearranging inventory during a particular season. If a retailer seeks to maintain optimum inventory health, they will need to replenish before running out of stock. Mid-season changes in demand can be challenging to manage. If demand increases, there may not be enough inventory on hand to meet customer demand, which can result in lost sales. If demand decreases, there may be too much inventory on hand, which will tie up working capital. One way to handle mid-season changes in demand is to redistribute inventory across stores. This can be done by transferring inventory from stores with excess inventory to stores with low inventory levels. Store-to-Store or inter-store transfers will help to ensure that customer demand is met without tying up too much working capital. Modern warehouse technologies are a good investment for optimizing the mid-season replenishment process or making operations leaner. 

Auto alerts for low inventory levels: Retailers can use inventory management software to set up auto alerts for when inventory reaches a certain level. This allows retailers to replenish stock at the shortest lead time, which can help avoid stockouts and lost sales.

Auto-Replenishment of fast sellers: Replenish fast-selling items automatically to ensure they are always in stock while avoiding overstock of less popular items.

Inter-Store Transfers: An inventory redistribution method where inventory is transferred from one location to another. This type of transfer can be used to redistribute inventory based on changes in demand or to avoid stockouts at a particular site. Merchandising solutions can help retailers plan and execute inter-store transfers to minimize the impact on sales.

Adjusting inventory for seasonal fluctuations: Seasonal changes can significantly impact inventory levels. Retailers must be prepared to adjust their inventory levels to account for increased demand during holidays and other peak periods. They may also need to adjust their inventory to account for changes in demand due to weather changes.


Seasonal inventory management can be a complex and time-consuming process. However, it is essential for retailers to stay ahead of the competition and maximize sales. With the right inventory management strategy, retailers can manage seasonal changes and maintain healthy inventory levels. New-age merchandising solutions can help retailers track seasonal trends and make the necessary adjustments to their inventory levels. Auto replenishment of fast-selling items can help ensure that popular items are always in stock while avoiding overstock of less popular items. Inter-store transfers can be used to redistribute inventory based on changes in demand or avoid stockouts, and maintain healthy inventory levels at all times. 

With an effective seasonal inventory management strategy, retailers can increase customer satisfaction and keep inventory costs under control. A well-defined merchandise plan helps retailers tackle the challenges of seasonal inventory management by understanding customer demand patterns. Retailers can thus ensure that they always have the right products in stock.

Smart Merchandising

Retail assortment planning; Creating a winning product mix & depth in stores

Creating a winning product mix and depth in stores is one of the biggest challenges for the modern retailer. The rise of online shopping, and the growth of e-commerce, have made it even more challenging for traditional retailers to keep up with demand in today’s dynamic omnichannel marketplace.

The rise of e-commerce has been good for consumers in many ways, but many still prefer to shop in stores, which means that retailers need to create a winning product mix and depth. At the heart of any successful retail business lies effective assortment planning. This refers to creating and managing a carefully curated product mix and depth in stores, ensuring that each location offers products that are well-suited to its target customers and market environment.

What is product mix and depth? 

A retailer’s product mix and depth can significantly impact consumer behaviour and sales. The mix refers to the type of products you carry, while depth refers to the number of SKUs or items within each category. Getting the mix and depth right is essential to ensuring that stores can meet customer needs while also maintaining efficient inventory levels.

What is assortment planning in retail?

Assortment planning in retail creates a winning product mix and depth for stores. Some of the critical elements of retail assortment planning include maintaining inventory health, reducing out-of-stocks and stock-outs, and identifying bestsellers. 

Retail assortment planning aims to have a product mix and assortment that meets customer expectations and demand.

To achieve this goal, retailers need to use new-age merchandising tools and assortment planning software to provide integrated inventory planning capabilities and instantly downloadable reports at multiple stakeholder levels. This creates a comprehensive, single repository of inventory data from all sales channels. A complete view of their product offerings’ depth and mix at the individual store level enables retailers to make more informed and data-driven decisions to optimize inventory management.

New-age assortment planning software also helps retailers use individual style analysis tools to identify the bestsellers among their products, focusing efforts on maximizing sales for those items. With such software solutions, retailers can quickly analyze historical data to determine the true potential of each style at the store level and identify store-specific assortments that take into account the unique characteristics of each location.

Conventional excel charts with limited capabilities due to manual input processes will not suffice in today’s thriving and fast-changing consumer trends.

There are many advantages to effective assortment planning in retail.

It helps:

  • Maximize sales and profitability by ensuring that stores are stocked with the right products in the right quantities. 
  • Reduce inventory levels and associated carrying costs while also lowering out-of-stocks and stock-outs.
  • Create a more seamless customer experience by ensuring that stores always have the products that customers are looking for. 
  • Using data and analytics to understand customer needs and preferences better, assortment planning can help retailers stay ahead of shifting trends and respond quickly to new opportunities in the market.

The retail product assortment solution optimizes your product assortment planning enabling retailers to maintain good inventory health by tracking inventory levels on an ongoing basis and identifying any products that may be at risk of stock-outs. This allows for better decision-making about which products to keep in-store and online and how to adjust the mix and depth of products to meet customer demand.

Finally, it is essential to have a system to review and update your assortment plans regularly. This may involve regularly reviewing sales and inventory data and conducting customer surveys and focus groups on staying on top of evolving trends and preferences. With the right assortment planning strategy and approach, you can create a winning product mix and depth in your retail stores that will help you drive sales, profitability, and customer satisfaction. By using new-age merchandising tools, retailers can comprehensively view their inventory, identify bestsellers, and prevent stock-outs. They can create a winning product mix and depth to keep customers coming back for more.