The heartbeat of any product based retailer, Merchandising processes are some of the most studied and supported in the retail environment. Information is widely available through software vendors and consultants, with promises of margin improvement and millions of dollars in return-on-investment attached to each new software package or process improvement. While abundant in volume, this information is often positioned to meet the needs of its sponsor, and rarely addresses some of the basic fundamentals of the merchant organization. In our model, Merchandising encompasses all aspects of acquiring merchandise through the buy. Allocations can be found in the Distribution/Supply Chain functional area, and Merchandise Accounting is addressed in the Finance area. Process characteristics addressed in the merchandising section include:

  • Organizational alignment: around product, customer, channel, or function?  What works best and why?
  • Staffing – buyers and planners based on SKU’s, product types, and sales volume
  • Merchandise planning processes – level of detail, frequency, methods, etc.
  • Availability of buying support, domestic and international
  • Analysis and management of gross margin
  • Markdown processes and lifecycle management for various product types
  • Product selection and assortment processes