What Is Retail Planning And Why Is It Important For Your Business

Brandon Ginsberg
Brandon Ginsberg
CEO | ApparelMagic

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Having a sound retail business planning strategy is essential if you want to successfully make a return on investment for your retail company. Retail planning is crucial to ensure that you successfully manage your inventory, control the supply chain, implement effective marketing campaigns, and make enough profit.

Retail business planning is also known as merchandise management, retail management, and merchandise planning. But what exactly is it and why do you need to have a business plan for retail?

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What is retail planning? 

Retail business planning is the process of developing a strategic plan for a retail business. The plan includes the business’s objectives and strategies that will be employed to meet those objectives. 

Retail business planning entails implementing a data-driven approach to ensure that you have the appropriate products at the appropriate time, quantities, and price with an aim to meet customer demand and maximize your return on investment. In order to adapt to the shifting needs of the business, the retail planning process should be ongoing and dynamic.

Planning in retail involves analyzing the current market and customer behavior, creating strategies, and then putting the plan into action and analyzing the results. A retail plan can help a company to succeed and grow by serving as a roadmap to follow. 

Why Should You Create a Retail Plan

Retail planning aims to increase corporate profitability while delivering the greatest possible consumer experience. Improved customer satisfaction, better inventory management, more sales, and increased efficiency are just a few advantages of retail business planning. 

Retail planning is crucial for every retail business. If you don’t have a business plan for retail, you will always be in a pickle when making decisions for your retail store.

5 Steps in the Retail Planning Process

In order to determine which strategies to employ, the retail business planning process requires a careful examination of the company’s goals and motives. Making a thorough plan may take some time, but it is necessary for successful execution. Retailers can start by following these steps:

1. Understand your market

Take some time to analyze the market your retail business is in so that you can ensure that your strategy is realistic. Conducting a SWOT analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats) of your competitors is a great way to accomplish this. By conducting a SWOT analysis, you will be able to better understand the issues affecting your competitors and, by extension, issues that might affect you.

By taking the time to research your competition, you may avoid being taken off guard and apply effective risk management tactics in your retail planning process. 

2. Understand consumer behavior 

It can be challenging to predict your customer’ actions, but if you genuinely want to know them and connect with them, you’ll make the effort to observe how they interact with your brand. Spend some time getting to know your clients’ backgrounds, routines, reasons for buying, and even any issues they might encounter as they interact with your business.

You’ll be well on your way to a deeper understanding of your customers by combining various techniques including internet analytics tools, historical data, feedback forms, and focus groups. Understanding the demographics of your target market can help you start creating experiences that are specifically designed to draw in the desired customers.

3. Set clear goals 

Retail businesses must have clear long and short-term objectives. Rather than setting a generic goal like raising sales, try to establish benchmarks about which product performances need to be improved, precise revenue goals, and optimum profit margins for each product. Retailers can further categorize their objectives into two groups:

  • External goals, which refer to a retailer store’s performance according to consumers and their CX. This can include customer service, loyalty, retention, and product price. Businesses should strive to provide a personalized customer experience that draws in and encourages repeat business.
  • Internal goals. Set practical revenue and sales objectives based on product performance. You can set clear monthly, semi-annual, quarterly, or annual targets to motivate your employees and make sure they are focused on increasing sales.

4. Create a retail planning strategy

Once you’ve set your goals, it’s time to actually develop your retail strategy. As you’ll need to examine a number of aspects before you get your products into your retail space, this phase can be the longest and most detailed. 

Be sure to give your retail merchandising, or the range of goods you offer, adequate thought. Do you want your product selection to be broad or more limited? Do you need any specialized items that are in high demand during a certain season?

Maintaining competitiveness is one of the key goals of developing a retail strategy. Businesses can accomplish this in a number of ways, including through product pricing, quality, and diversity. Giving clients a singular experience they can only get from you is also a significant advantage.

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5. Implement Your Retail Planning Strategy

Once you have analyzed your market and consumers, set your goals, and laid out your retail planning strategy, you can start putting your strategy into action. 

Keep in mind that some methods can necessitate further adjustments to the retail business plan, supply chain, or personnel. The added duties might result in certain resistance by your employees but they can ease into their new tasks with careful preparation that will ensure you don’t overwhelm your staff. If workers adjust successfully and the tactics boost productivity, employers should think about providing bonuses and other incentives.

6. Analyze your performance 

The implementation of your retail planning strategy does not mean that your work is done. You should evaluate its performance to see where you had the most trouble and what kinds of problems you encountered, but also to make sure that improvements are consistent.

Analyzing your performance also makes it easier to see any mistakes in the process so that management can rapidly repair any damage. Learn from them, apply what you’ve learned, and design your future retail strategies accordingly.

The Bottom Line

It’s vital to keep in mind that no one gets retail business planning perfect the first time, and there will always be outside circumstances that could have a negative impact on your sales.

Having said that, retail planning is essential for establishing business goals and preserving a position in a competitive market. Without a clear approach, retail businesses risk wasting time and money on unproductive marketing strategies. By combining research and planning, and adjusting your strategy in accordance with the results from your analysis, you’ll be well on your way to making your retail store as profitable as possible. 

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