Merchandising Strategies/Tactics


The 4 “Ps” of merchandising have always been a focus in retailing. However, too much attention on the
tactics without the proper strategic framework has led to considerable effort with less than desired results.
We have the solution.

Another Leadership Initiative from WWA

The overarching strategic direction in Shopper-Centric Retailing frames the planning and execution. Category roles are part of the strategic framework, not the planning process. Merchants should have guidelines for both the strategic and tactical components for their planning based on the role that has been assigned to the category. These guidelines provide direction to the Merchants for their plans.

The strategic guidelines should cover at a minimum Merchandising, Marketing, Procurement, Supply Chain, and Operations. As the role of the category cascades from Signature to Priority to Basic, these guidelines should become less specific and more general. As an example, in Marketing--a Signature category would require a customer specific strategy; a Priority category would require store specific activity; a Basic category would be at the cluster level; and a Fill-in category would be chain-wide.

The tactical guidelines are developed once the strategic guidelines have been agreed to and approved. As with the strategic guidelines, the tactical guidelines also cascade across the roles. As an example, in Assortment—a Signature category demands the optimum assortment including leadership in product offering; a Priority category would have an optimum assortment with full depth and breadth; a Basic category would need a broad assortment with either breadth or depth, but not both; and a Fill-in category would have a limited assortment.

Improving the shopping experience is the objective of the shopper solution planning process. However, the shopping experience is more than the four Ps. Too often retailers think about these tactical elements independently. They need to be a cohesive collection, to deliver the experience that shoppers require. The focus, based on the category role, should be on the fixtures, signage, messaging, informational education, and solution cross-merchandising. Based on the importance of the category role, these tactics should take into consideration the uniqueness of each store cluster and the use of digital media and mobile messaging.

What We Do

We have a depth of experience assisting retailers in developing these strategic and tactical guidelines. We work with the Merchandising Leadership team to:

  • Review the current category role definitions to ensure a shopper-centric focus
  • Review current category roles assigned to categories and revise where necessary
  • Draft a version of the strategic and tactical guidelines based on the roles
  • Gain agreement on the details
  • Communicate to the organization for consistent application
  • Develop a reinforcement process to ensure the Directors are managing the Merchants on the proper focus

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