The Retail Merchandising Blog Insights and Opinions for Retail Merchandising teams

Merchandise Planning Glossary

This merchandise planning glossary of terms is intended to give you the basics of many commonly used industry terms. You will also find included below...


Retailers are expanding, demographics are shifting and digital commerce continues to grow. Consequently, one size no longer fits all — nor does one color, style or price. Download the Retail IQ Report “Assortment Planning at the Speed of Retail” presented by RIS News, and learn how advanced assortment planning solutions are helping retailers design their product arrays to align with ever changing demand.

Omnichannel retailing

The advent of "omni-shopping" has put additional pressures on the merchandise planning department, and fundamentally broken the traditional relationship between sales and inventory or receipt plans. Our friends at RSR Research recently published a new report "Retail Supply Chain Execution 2016: Dancing in the Dark" which notes the new plight of the planner, and goes into some fact based findings on the overall need for improved inventory management, including solving the age old problem of getting accurate perpetual inventory positions.


Inventory is the largest, short term discretionary investment that a Retailer makes in terms of "capital investment" in the business. For years now a focus on improving inventory turns has driven quite a few merchandising organizations particularly during economic times when cash (potentially with higher borrowing costs) was the most precious commodity and squeezing inventory investment through a variety of actions helped produce increased cash flow.

inventory investment

Great Assortments have to please at least 2 distinct groups. In first place of course are the Customers who want exactly what they want, when and where they want it. Free would be a good price, but of course the lowest possible is a close second. The other group that are highly interested in Great Assortments are the shareholders in your Retail business, often represented by the CFO.

retail planning

Localization takes on an entirely more complex meaning when a Retailer operates across national boundaries, as do many of our Customers in Europe. Historically for some "localization" has been accomplished by having regional planning/merchandise organizations. While this puts "eyes and ears" into each market, it also creates special needs.