We combine our considerable retailing experience with technology expertise to assess
merchandising technology capabilities...and guide future state requirements
Since the inception of Category Management, and now the new beyond Category Management Shopper Solutions Planning process, the execution of merchandising plans at the store has been far less than desired. In fact, it has been the Achilles heel of Category Management for decades.
Continuous Improvement is Essential
A retailer should continually investigate opportunities to implement tools designed to more efficiently manage merchandising execution and compliance. Merchandising tools provide the critical Decision-making and performance evaluation support for retailer’s business planning and performance monitoring efforts. These tools must be current, integrated with other IT systems, linked to third party software and combined with market level syndicated data. These systems need to operate seamlessly with one another. Many retailers have embarked on ERP solutions to bring these applications together.
Our Experience and Expertise
WWA has a depth of experience in assisting organizations through this difficult process. We have worked with large multi-national chains as well as leading regional retailers on these projects. Our experience extends to software providers and integration consulting partners, providing our merchandising and operational perspectives for the enhancement of their tools. In addition, our consultants have worked in progressive retailers prior to entering the consulting profession. We bring our “been there, done that” expertise to these engagements.
We have a disciplined approach to these projects. We begin with an in-depth investigation of the current situation. Our impartiality and experience are traits that our clients appreciate. We assess all the current systems and tools available to the merchandising team. We know what the users need to support their decision-making and performance monitoring. We provide an in-depth report for Senior Management and IT on the status of the existing systems to support the business requirements going forward.
At this stage we work with both the user community and the IT department to define the requirements. In some organizations, this roadmap is to keep pace with the industry. Other clients are looking to maintain their leadership position. The goals of the organization are closely reviewed to ensure a “fit” for the future. The third stage of the process is a detailed evaluation of the potential providers of merchandising solutions. A rigorous evaluation scoring process is developed based on the needs of the retailer and the priorities that came from the current state assessment.
Potential providers are invited to present their capabilities. The list of providers is narrowed, business requirement scripts are provided, and the “short list” of providers is invited back to demonstrate specifically how they will be able to meet the retailers requirements, including cost estimates for implementation and any required customization. A final evaluation/scoring is completed and the provider is selected.
The final and most critical stage is implementation. As Subject Matter Experts in Category Management, Shopper Solutions Planning and retail in general, WWA provides support during the design, build, test and roll-out phases of the implementation. A critical component of the implementation phase is training for the end users on the new systems. Again, our “been there, done that” experience is valuable at this stage. We train users not just on how to use the system technically, but how to use it operationally… as a support to decision-making, planning, performance monitoring and business improvement.
WWA…Your Insurance Policy to Safeguard Your IT Investments
WWA has the technical expertise, the retailing background and the implementation experience to assist retailers in ensuring a return on this very expensive investment in the future. Many consider us their insurance coverage during this type of project.