Video: StoreMaps & Space Sequencing

Want to gain insights into every inch of your retail store? See how Emma and her team easily turn actionable date into real results.

Only StoreMaps & Space Sequencing will empower retail merchandisers to:

  • • Raise the bar on POG compliance by knowing what’s in your stores and where — eliminating the guesswork
  • • Easily edit and manipulate any space on your maps, from changing rooms to checkout counters, POP, fixtures and more
  • • Bring your data to life through custom heat mapping colorization technology
  • • Maximize inventory awareness by tracking non-merchandise assets, shrinkage, associates, shoppers and more
  • • Transform your entire store into actionable measurements, all backed by real-time data
  • • Gain visual validation of every space in your store
  • • Track current and historical project penetration visually

Ready to put some magic into your merchandising? Schedule a quick demo!

Video: Reinventing the Merchandising Process

MerchLogix not only gets products on shelves faster, it also gets stores ready for customers faster. We’re the only ones brave enough to take on both non-inventory infrastructures and products.

There’s a reason MerchLogix is the new standard: We’ve reinvented the merchandising process. Watch our quick video and see how it all comes together to make your merchandising process seamless and efficient.

Now, how can we help with your merchandising? Drop us a line.

Millennials, Attention Deficit, and Technology: Today’s Shopper Psyche and Its Effect on the In-Store Environment

In today’s society, our lack of attention span, need for excitement, and obsession with the latest trends – technology or otherwise – has a great effect on how people shop. While younger generations, Millennials included, are a driver for this change in behavior, it can also be recognized that the rise of technology has played a significant role. This change in shopper psyche affects how retailers need to position themselves to best attract these shoppers. Particularly in the context of brick-and-mortar, retailers large and small are expected to constantly reinvent their brand, as well as their signage, fixtures, and in-store technologies to keep up with the latest trends.

The result? Retailers are undertaking and executing more merchandising projects than ever to keep shoppers engaged and returning to the store, because this is where you experience the product and the brand in a tactile way; it’s where the physical connection is made, and this sensory experience is one that keeps the shoppers returning to form opinions on a product or a brand. However, if the in-store experience becomes stagnant, they will stay home, shop online, or seek other storefronts or retailers that fulfill these needs. Given that the large majority of purchases are still happening in the store, the result of less traffic, quite obviously, is less revenue.

So the question becomes, how can retailers more effectively navigate the arduous tasks of planning, managing, and executing on the multitude of merchandising projects required to keep their in-store experience relevant?

The answer lies in better visibility into the people, process, and materials required to execute these projects, specifically, technology that you can leverage from ‘C-suite to shop floor.’ Role-based, task-driven, and empowering to the varying levels of your organization, the right software can shorten project timelines, accelerate decision-making by providing visibility, and unify the members of your organization in their individual business units, adjacent teams, and external vendors.

Retailers who see the constant change and state of flux within their stores as an opportunity and not as an obstacle have an inside-track on gaining market share and experiencing greater success in the coming decade. With a focus on efficiency and optimization of their workforce, the retailers that lead in this area will gain distinct competitive advantage over those that follow; maintaining a constantly evolving and exciting atmosphere for their shoppers, which will drive more foot traffic. The bottom line: despite the rises of online and mobile shopping, more shoppers in your store still means more revenue.

Written by: Chris Loxley, Senior Director of Strategic Sales

Amazon to Big-Box: “Your lunch is still tasty”

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Many large brick-and-mortar retailers rightfully fear the juggernaut that is Amazon. However, the degree to which they truly understand the enemy, or rather the nature of the fight, is questionable given their attitude toward technology. Amazon is a powerful retailer for sure, but that façade only belies the real reason big-box retailers have to be afraid; Amazon is, at its core, a technology company.

One clear example is the deplorable term Omnichannel. To understand the problem retailers are trying to solve, it’s worth remembering that in 2001, after Amazon had been operating on the Internet for 6 years, big-box retailers finally launched their on-line shopping websites. The key audience for this initiative was incredulous to discover that the “on-line” catalog bared little if any resemblance to the “in-store” catalog. To add insult to injury, the notion that the same audience couldn’t simply check inventory for a known SKU at the store down the street was flabbergasting. Why else did the website exist, other than to serve as a virtual storefront for the physical one nearby? A few years later, the big retailers repeated the mistake; when mobile computing became commonplace, they sliced up their catalogs based on whether the shopper was using an app on a mobile device or using a web browser on a mobile device. The appearance presented by this disjointed and disappointing strategy was plain: Traditional big-box retailers didn’t, and in many cases still don’t, fundamentally get technology.

Omnichannel is not some technology revolution, it is not a new paradigm, and it is not an entirely new approach to using digital technology in retail. It is a polite name for the myriad of methods by which retailers are trying to fix the problems they created when they intentionally separated their businesses, and more importantly their catalogs, supply chains, and their merchandisers into ‘channels.’

Amazon has one catalog, one supply chain, and one set of rules for merchandising; all made possible only by their adoption of, and discipline around, technology. When, where, and the method by which you purchase and receive your product are all attributes of the sale – not separate business units. This isn’t an attitude of ‘technology is a cost center,’ this is an attitude of ‘technology defines us.’ Here’s a heads-up to all the in-store / mobile retail technology folks: There is an above-likely possibility that when they open their brick-and-mortar store in NYC, it will appear, feel, and sell products just like their website. It might even make the Apple store look like a ‘nice try.’

The shot coming across your bow contains a simple message: Merchandising used to be about putting products on shelves; now it’s about technology. The juggernaut has been learning from your mistakes for three decades, and it’s not too late to get back into the game, but you (brick-and-mortal retailers) will have to reinvent yourselves from the ground up if you’re serious about competing with Amazon.

Written by: Nick Downey

Retailers: Do You Plan Your In-Store Changes?

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There’s a joke in merchandising that is a play on the turn of phrase “if you’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all,” and it goes, “if you’ve seen one retailer’s store, you’ve seen one retailer’s store.” The joke is meant to be a pejorative; it is a dig at retailers that intend for a homogenous in-store experience and then fail spectacularly in the implementation.

We like to add the word “today” to the punch line because the reality is that stores are changing more often than even the jokers realize, and in many cases, much more often. The reasons underpinning the failure to create a uniform in-store experience are numerous, but the primary culprit is a lack of communication between teams.

Most large retailers structure their merchandising organization into business units around the types of activities that happen in the store, such as “Capital Projects,” “Seasonal,” “Localization,” “Resets and Refreshes,” “Supplier Services,” etc. For better or for worse, each of these business units usually has both the budget and the authority to plan and execute in-store projects, with or without the engagement of their peers. It suffices to say that within most big-box chains, the operational maxim is the former – there is literally zero communication between these teams, and the result is that they step all over each others’ work.

In the extreme case, we have seen a reset completed over-night on Sunday, which is then torn down and re-merchandised as part of a localization project on Wednesday, which was followed by a capital team completely ripping out the entire section on Friday night. The merchants that funded each project didn’t learn about their overlap until months after the fact, and then raced to assign blame for the unrealized reset-lift. The store manager just shook her head in quiet resignation and put all the affected merchandise on clearance.

Because the merchandising organization did not look at its in-store activity holistically, for whatever reason, it completely missed the opportunity to simultaneously save money and improve the in-store experience.

Historically the argument against coordinating all these different teams was that there were too many moving parts, pieces, and people. Today, we take for granted that coordination on this level is simply an expectation of mature software and communication (process) discipline.

The questions then for retailers are: (1) How much waste are you willing to tolerate in duplicated efforts? (2) At what point do you have to admit, you don’t know the state of your store? (3) Can you quantify the lost opportunity cost from those two factors?

Chances are, your store looks differently today than it did yesterday, and there’s a significant chance that it will look different yet again next week. Hopefully, that was your plan.

Written by: Nick Downey

Merchandising: The Original Big Data Problem

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Imagine for a moment that you are 14th century apple farmer and on your orchard you produce six different varieties of apple. Imagine further that there are three towns within easy travel distance, each of which you visit once per season to sell your crops.

Effective merchants know their customers, and they take steps to uniquely engage those customers, and so continuing in our example; suppose that 2 of your towns are bilingual, each with different languages. Further suppose that in town 1, historically your sales of apple variety ‘A’ are your bestseller and apple variety ‘F’ almost never sell at all. The signs that you hang over your apple cart now need to appear in three or four different languages, and you’re starting to think that perhaps you need a different apple cart to give more space to variety A – at least for visits to town 1. Easy math shows us that depending on which apples are ripe at any given time you might have as many as 72 (6 types of apple x 3 towns x 4 seasons) different sets of apples that you sell.

If we translate this scenario into modern language, you, a 14th century merchant, could potentially have 288 different planograms, that encompass 72 different assortments in 4 different languages, and we haven’t even gotten to margin or shrinkage. Hopefully you sell enough apples to justify purchasing parchment and a lead stylus, because there’s no way you’re going to keep all this in your head.

The point of this example is to illustrate that retail merchandising is the original big-data problem; it predates sentiment and social media, it does not care about channels or shopping habits – just keeping the store running, in a customer centric way, demands reams of data that start with careful planning and end with sales performance.

Retailers need to approach merchandising with a big-data mentality. Start with the assumptions that you can measure reset-lift across thousands of locations, that you can compare historical performance in set completion, that you can plan a budget for in-store activities, and that you can expect to measure a return on those investments. There’s a saying that goes “there are no new stories, there are only new audiences” and using big-data to drive merchandising is an old-story in search of a new audience.

Written by: Nick Downey, CEO MerchLogix

Treating Non-Merchandise Like Merchandise

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Over the last two decades, strong discipline in the merchandise supply chain has become a core tenant of retailers’ success. Store associates in the employ of the most sophisticated players can scan a bar code with their personal mobile device and look very, very deeply into the chain, in some cases stretching all the way back to a manufacturer’s raw materials inventory. Likewise, reporting on inventory, fill rates, and margin is measurable down to the minute, on a shelf-level basis.

The same cannot be said for the non-merchandise side of the house. When many retailers are asked the question – “What are you using to track your signs, fixtures, and other non-merchandise today?” – the answer is usually a variation on “spreadsheets”, “email”, or alarmingly, “nothing.” It suffices to say that when followed-up with a second question about their diligence on labor spend for the activities involved with installing, servicing, and maintaining those assets, the reply is often just a blank stare. The notion of measuring set-completion accuracy, and holistically reporting on in-store project budgets, are literally “blue-sky” topics for these merchandisers.

This disparity is astonishing if for no other reason than the size of the spend – many retailers have budgets for their In-Store Environment activity that measures in the high-8 and low-9 figures, and the attitude/acceptance of waste and hidden costs is simply par for the course. Many merchandisers have given up on the idea of, or just plain don’t believe in, bringing supply-chain-style discipline and tracking to the non-merchandise side of the house.

Fortunately the tools and technologies that are used to implement merchandise discipline are readily available to the non-merchandise organization today. From traditional warehouse management systems, to barcode, beacon, and NFC-based asset tracking, to associates with smartphones and the software to bring it all together, are quite nearly off-the-shelf. And the return is worth the investment. One big-box retailer who adopted this mentality shaved $30M off their labor costs in the first year alone, and decreased their R12 non-merch logistics spend by 20%.

Overcoming the perceptions of “this is the way it has always been done” and/or “measuring activity at this granularity isn’t possible” is the core challenge, and adapting people and processes to a new level of transparency requires careful planning, but the investment pays for itself in a matter of months.

With competition at its highest level in the history of the industry, one place brick and mortar retailers can cut significant costs is in operational efficiency, and the time to treat and think about non-merchandise like merchandise is now.

By Nick Downey CEO, MerchLogix