“the Big10 assortment benchmarks!”


“The Big10 Assortment Benchmarks!”

…“minimising risk” and “avoiding mistakes” in your assortment structure


At the heart of retail success is the assortment.

Whether you are directly involved in its planning and buying or you suffer or benefit from the work of others, success or failure in retail businesses is never far from the assortment.

Assortment structure planning is a perilously complex process, however there are quick and relatively easy wins to be made through the correct benchmarking and analysis of what you sell…and what you don’t, or can’t!


“Looking outside & Looking inside” is the basis on which VM-unleashed benefits retail businesses, instilling new ways of looking at the assortment, growing new awareness and sensitivities and supporting decisions for a more commercial range and efficient process.


“Looking outside” involves benchmarking commercial parameters against best practice. If every other business makes money from consistent buying patterns then why re-invent the wheel?

“Looking inside” involves commercial analysis of sales patterns combined with product reviews and customer feedback. If your customers love certain aspects of your range, or alternatively have clear problems with other product features then learn from this. Why carry on banging your head against the brick wall?


This is what we do…

  • Real store and online counting & analysis of assortment parameters
    • Selected own stores
    • Selected competitor & best practice stores
  • Real store visits, visual analysis and image capture
  • Analysis of own sales and profit data related to assortment attributes such as category breakdown, colour, size & price.
  • Best-seller & worst seller physical and visual reviews with sales performance related to product attributes and features
  • Analysis of market research and/or focus group output related to buying patterns and product preferences
  • Interactive workshops with sales & buying teams:
    • Positioning of product by “Market Position & End-use” related to sales patterns
    • Identification of image makers, core & basics product, assortment balance and weighting related to sales patterns
  • Analysis of retail calendar, seasonal assortment planning, waves of stock in relation to monthly category sales


This is what we report on…the Big10

  1. Assortment segmentation
    • Is the balance of the assortment by gender, department in-line with competitors and with sales potential?
  2. Category structure
    • Is the category balance in-line with best practice and optimised to maximise? sales potential and sell-through whilst minimising markdowns?
  3. Product story balance
    • Is the product “bought for space” in appropriate product stories?
    • Is the product story balance correct between categories and collections?
  4. Colour architectures
    • Is the balance of colour groups correct – base, tone and accent – related to sales performance and best practice?
  5. Size architectures
    • Is size architecture creating unnecessary markdowns and missed easy-sales?
  6. Price architectures – entry, mode & price-point ranges
    • Is price architecture in-line with best practice and matched against key competitors?
  7. Added-value drivers
    • Is the design and buying process aware of what attributes & features add value to a product and in which priority?
  8. Market Position & End-use focus
    • Is the assortment focused correctly on the fashion positions and end-uses of the customer and most potential sales?
  9. Balance of image makers, core & basics
    • Do the buying team understand and identify correctly different types of product role and create assortments with the correct balance?
  10. Seasonal assortment planning – waves of stock
    • Is buying and merchandising in-tune with seasonal sales patterns ensuring you sell what the customer wants?


Ultimately we help you look at and see your assortment in a new commercial light, transforming your awareness and response to “risk” & “mistakes.”

“Minimising risk” and “avoiding mistakes” in an assortment structure will transform the commercial performance of any retail business.

We can look at all or part of the product assortment. We can look at all or part of the external benchmarks and analytical processes.

Once the scope is defined then the process takes between 4-8 weeks depending on the number of scope of activities.

It ends with a detailed report with conclusions, recommendations, visual illustrations and prioritised action plan, and is delivered in a half-day, cross functional, interactive workshop.


So now, what about you?

How well is your assortment planned without “risk” and “mistakes?”

Are you in need of the Big10 Assortment Benchmarks?




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