Close
 

Retail merchandising – art or science?

  • Retail merchandising
  • August 31, 2014
  • Gerry Sapucci
Retail merchandising – art or science?

Republished from NZRetail's August 2014 issue.

To decide on which side of the fence Retail Merchandising belongs, it is necessary to define what is meant by the term, and what its purpose is.

Taking a step back and accepting that the objective of retailing is ultimately to profitably satisfy customers’ requirements in the marketplace, it is clear that in order for a retailer to be successful, it must have the ability to realise an acceptable return on investment by meeting the ongoing and constantly changing needs of the consumers of its offering.

Therein lies the challenge. Because consumers have constantly changing demands, retail inventories are by default volatile with new items being added and other items being dropped in an attempt to always offer what the customer wants.

As inventory is often a retailer’s single largest asset by a long way, this volatility has to be carefully managed. The cost of inventory is constant, but its saleability, and hence profitability, is entirely dependent of the three fundamental cornerstones of retailing - “What”, “Where” and “When”.

“What” being the actual items on offer. Obviously, if the merchant is not offering what most customers want, he will not sell many (or any) and eventually may not even recover his investment.

“Where” relates to the physical locations and channels through which the merchandise is being offered.  While some items may be in demand in certain areas where the merchant is trading, they may well be unwanted elsewhere. An extreme example would be snow ploughs which would be relevant to areas where snow falls, but hardly likely to sell where the year-round temperatures are high.

“When” refers to the time of year that items are offered. While for some retailers this is less crucial than others, for example white goods vs fashion apparel, it is nonetheless a critical consideration when determining the range of merchandise to be offered given that consumers have constantly changing requirements.

Of course, the above is basic Retailing 101 and there are many more factors that play a part, but achieving the nirvana of having the right merchandise, at the right price, in the right place, at the right time, in the right quantities, is far from easy or simple. And that is what Retail Merchandising is all about.

It also goes without saying that the larger the retailer, the greater the range of items on offer and the number of sales channels, the more complex merchandising becomes. However, even smaller merchants are faced with the same challenges, often with less resources to utilise in the quest to meet them.

Many computerised systems have been developed to assist with the calculations and volumes of data that are part and parcel of merchandising, however no two retailers are exactly alike or have exactly the same business model or ethos which is inherent in their approach to retail merchandising.

It is highly unlikely that a “turn-key” solution exists for all, or many, retailers, even in the same sector. This therefore necessitates that each retailer’s unique merchandising objectives and processes should be clearly defined and that any system deployed must be able to fit those objectives and processes, rather than the other way around.

It is in the definition of these processes and objectives, and the means of achieving them, that the question arises – is Retail Merchandising art or science?

While there are generally accepted merchandising principles, formulas and theories which could be considered “scientific”, and certainly the use of technology to implement these would fit the definition, the knowledge, experience and intuition of the retailer – the “art” component – cannot be dispensed with. Without these key ingredients there is little hope of a successful outcome.

So, Retail Merchandise can be considered a partnership – a blending of art and science which, when balanced correctly, provides the essential foundation for building a profitable retail enterprise.

​ ​

This is a community discussion forum. Comment is free but please respect our rules:

  1. Don’t be abusive or use sweary type words
  2. Don’t break the law: libel, slander and defamatory comments are forbidden
  3. Don’t resort to name-calling, mean-spiritedness, or slagging off
  4. Don’t pretend to be someone else.

If we find you doing these things, your comments will be edited without recourse and you may be asked to go away and reconsider your actions.
We respect the right to free speech and anonymous comments. Don’t abuse the privilege.

 

What the investment community thinks Kiwi businesses lead on the world stage with

  • News
  • July 16, 2019
  • Idealog
What the investment community thinks Kiwi businesses lead on the world stage with

Every business goes through a life cycle: start-up, growth, maturity and renewal, rebirth or decline. Once you’ve made it past the juicy, creative ideation stage and into the growth and maturity stage, the time for many comes to seek investment. But what do investors look for beyond a commercial return? And what do investors think New Zealand companies excel at when compared to our neighbouring countries around the world? Executive director of the Angel Association of New Zealand Suse Reynolds shares her top tips for those who are looking for investment.

Read more
 
 

Foodstuffs’ Baden Ngan Kee has passed away

  • Who's Where
  • July 16, 2019
  • The Register team
Foodstuffs’ Baden Ngan Kee has passed away

Foodstuffs has announced that its former executive Baden Ngan Kee has passed away after a battle with lung cancer.

Read more
 
 

2 Cheap Cars fined $438,000 under the Fair Trading Act

  • News
  • July 14, 2019
  • The Register team
2 Cheap Cars fined $438,000 under the Fair Trading Act

Used car dealer 2 Cheap Cars has been fined $438,000 for its use of “warranty waiver” documents and marketing statements described as “deliberately misleading”.

Read more
 

Social scoreboard

Zavy and The Register have worked together to create a scoreboard that compares how the top 25 traditional media advertising spenders in New Zealand have performed on social media over the past 30 days, updated in real time.

 
topics
Regional rollercoaster
What does retail look like in 2019 for ...
Concept to closet
Business coverage of New Zealand Fashion Week.
Town centres
A positive retail environment over the past 12 ...
Amazon Arrival
Keeping up with all things Amazon as it ...
The Retail Yearbook 2017
As we battle our way through the busiest ...
Hospitality enhancing retail
Some think food and integrated hospitality offerings will ...
The future is bright
We spoke with four retailers in their twenties ...
Spotlight on signage
At first glance, the humble in-store sign might ...
Red Awards 2016
The Red Awards for retail interior design celebrate ...
Auckland Unitary Plan
Auckland is changing. The Unitary Plan will decide ...
How to open a store
Sarah Dunn considers what it would take to ...
All things to all people
Kiwi retailers share their omnichannel strategies.
Rising stars
Retail's top young achievers.
Delivering on your promises
The sale isn't over until your item is ...
Retail in heartland New Zealand
Retailers keep the regions pumping, but how strong ...
Sisterhood
Women in retail help one another. We spoke ...
The changing face of retail
Shifting demographics are creating big changes in New ...
The retail yearbook
With the help of experts in the retail ...
Retail rogues
We put the spotlight on staff training. Jai ...
Here come the giants
Topshop has arrived in Auckland’s CBD, David Jones ...
From retail to e-tail
Ecommerce has become part of the way mainstream ...
Window shopping: A spotlight on social media
Sarah Dunn and Elly Strang look at how ...
Loyalty in the digital age
How are retailers maintaining loyalty? Sarah Dunn, Elly ...
The Innovators | In partnership with Spark Business
Technology is rapidly changing the retail industry as ...
 

Retail's new best friend

  • In association with the IHA Global Innovation Awards (GIA)
  • July 13, 2019
  • Anne Kong
Retail's new best friend

As the heart and soul of retailing further evolves, stores and the essence of shopping will continue to morph in unimaginable ways. However, amidst the storm of change, there is one aspect of shopping that remains pure, constant and motivational – the aspirational moment. Anne Kong, member of the GIA expert jury, shares her thoughts.

Read more
 
 

Bendon looks to sell brands after financing falters

  • News
  • July 12, 2019
  • Radio New Zealand
Bendon looks to sell brands after financing falters

Bendon lingerie is looking to sell some of its brands as the future of the company becomes more uncertain.

Read more
 

Smirnoff Pure helps Kiwis discover local artists with Spotify partnership

  • News
  • July 11, 2019
  • Caitlin Salter
Smirnoff Pure helps Kiwis discover local artists with Spotify partnership

The music we love is made up of many influences, including where we live. In its latest campaign, Smirnoff Pure and YoungShand tapped into the unique vibes of New Zealand and set out to help Kiwis discover the music that moves the cities and suburbs they call home.

Read more
 
Next page
Results for
Topics
Jobs
About us.

The Register provides essential industry news and intelligence, updated daily. And the digital newsletter delivers the latest news to your inbox twice a week — for free!

©2009–2015 Tangible Media. All rights reserved.
Use of this site constitutes acceptance of our Privacy policy.

Advertise
The Register

editor@theregister.co.nz

Content marketing/advertising? Email anita.hayhoe@icg.co.nz or call 022 639 3004

View Media Kit

}