Style Arcade discusses the vital process of range planning - and how industry experts are saying that the traditional method just won't cut it in 2021.
A range plan is both a financial and visual view of your future collections. It features key financial and product data all in one place, with the goal of producing a successful range that is balanced both financially and visually.
Why brands care deeply about Range Planning (and why you should too)
Range Planning is so important to brands because the benefits it provides are:
- Visual Overview of Range by channel, by store, by region and by customer type. It's now obvious to see where:
1. there are too many/too few styles or units (width and depth)
2. product opportunities and threats visible by all attributes (colour/seasonality/fabric/silhouette etc)
3. cohesion and curation of the range (do styles complement rather than cannibalise)
- Plan Pricing and Profit - having a detailed range plan allows you to know how much the collection is going to cost you to produce (cashflow) and therefore how much profit you will make - so that you can adjust pricing and margins to achieve your targets.
- Delivery and Workflow Tracking - providing transparency for all teams from buying to production, who have to order materials and produce the goods, to marketing, who need to plan the campaigns closely to time frames. Did someone mention the elusive acronym DIFOT? Stats on this are invaluable.
- Cashflow management and meeting those MOQ's - understanding at a glance what styles use certain materials, and planning orders accordingly, assists in negotiations with suppliers and creating significant efficiencies.
- Align the entire business on the range strategy and execution - so everyone's plans are working toward the same vision, reducing miscommunications between departments and wasted time and effort
What should your range plan include?
Think of a successful range plan as 'The Mind' of your business, where the left (analytical) side meets the right (artistic) side.
Each side bringing different aspects to the table, in order to strike that perfect balance of a range that presents your brand's vision, and is also commercially viable and allows you to meet, and ideally exceed, sales and profit targets.
Pitfalls of Traditional Range Planning
1. Data Integrity - a product range plan is a constantly evolving document that requires updating and collaboration from the whole team, which presents the key issues, such as:
• multiple versions of the same document meaning no source of truth,
• loss of changes from version to version and person to person,
• or even worse human errors such as accidental data deletion, bad formulas and outdated versions being used, costing the business valuable profit.
2. Lack of Collaboration - in order for the team to have a visual representation of delivery drops this means translating the spreadsheet to a pinboard in a meeting room. This will need to be manually updated whenever the spreadsheet is changed. With work from home or rostered teams, how does your team collaborate on something that they are physically unable to access?
3. Missed Opportunities - how much can you really tell from a spreadsheet to identify where the risks and opportunities are in your range? For example can you really tell:
• if store merchandising and windows are strong?
• if marketing teams are managing the campaigns to shifting deliveries?
• if your outfitting is accurate? Outfits that go together, sell together - hello higher AOV/ATV!
How to Range Plan Digitally in 2021
The landscape of how we live and work has changed dramatically - with the "new norm" comes advances in range planning technology that make this vital process more accurate, agile, efficient and sustainable. Do this in a third of the time, leaving you to be more strategic in your business.
Firstly, let's tackle the data integrity issue - get out of the spreadsheets. Get off pinboards. Implement software that brings in your purchase orders, your option plans, ranging by channel or store - all into one source of truth.
Balance your spend against budget and instantly drop your products to adjust their deliveries and watch this all update in real time, for the entire team to follow.
Secondly, give your team the technology they need to collaborate on your range no matter where they are based or what team they're in. A system that automatically updates your data, and syncs it live for the rest of the team to use simultaneously with each other. Everyone is now working on the most current version (sans formula errors!)
Lastly, you don’t fill a store using SKU codes, so why build a range that way? Build your range by actually looking at your product, to see what works and what doesn't.
Move out of database-looking range plans and into a digital world of financially and visually balanced ranges. Better still is having this in real time for collaboration and alignment with your entire team!
Digital range planning is proven to deliver significant $ growth for your business in 2021.
CLICK HERE to see the results of how digital range planning has been successful for White Fox Boutique in only a year.
Style Arcade is a digital range planning and fashion analytics suite built by fashion retailers for fashion retailers and work with brands such as The Iconic, Surfstitch, Aje, MJ Bale, Jo Mercer, PE Nation and White Fox Boutique.