A leading regional grocery chain had deep expertise in tailoring product assortments to their local markets and individual stores, but buyers were struggling to get a clear picture of the impact of their decisions, leading to shelf updates with unpredictable returns. Our client needed a way to make smaller, more meaningful changes faster, and to better absorb the learnings from actions over time. A new centralized platform now gives buyers the right product insights at the right moment, balancing the art and science of assortment decisions.
We need more decisions built on data, not feelings. I want my buyers to use more strategy and get out of the weeds.
— Retail Analyst Client
The client’s original assortment tool was created as a centralized environment for the front-end of the product life cycle, but it was too complex for widespread, frequent adoption by decision-makers. Users lacked guidance around how to leverage features within the tool, data was not updated dynamically, and the tool required dedicated technical assistance.
The constant swing in supply and demand due to COVID-19 created an immediate need to take a closer look at out-of-stock and overstocked products and changes in sales in order to better adapt to customer needs. Additionally, users were often reliant upon intuition and historical knowledge when making assortment decisions. A shift was needed to help team members go from using data to support their actions, to using data to inform their actions.
This flow is user friendly, attractive, and would provide real value by moving decision-making processes that were ‘in the brain’ onto paper.
— Grocery Buyer
The new tool acts as a centralized place for buyers as they gain insight to make informed decisions, communicate to stakeholders and note anomalies for specific store sales and products. Additionally, they can leverage the tool to manage and evaluate new product candidates, organize items, invite suppliers to recommend products, and complete product vetting.
The tool condenses large amounts of information to at-a-glance overviews that allow users to easily orient themselves, determine next steps, and resume workflows — leading to faster in-store impact, less guesswork and decreased manual data entry.
Understand how assortments are doing
Collect possible items for assortments
Deploy changes to assortments
Fusing together analytics and activity management, the application will drastically reduce the overall shelf activity planning timeline from one year down to three months, and reduce individual assortment tailoring time from 20 hours to one hour. Most of all, it will give buyers more time and better tools to tailor products to their communities — the differentiator that sets the business apart from its competition and keeps consumers returning to the store.
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