The Top Requirement For OTB Planning
OTB — Open-To-Buy — is part of every successful retailer’s planning. But without the accuracy of the data, retail planning is an exercise in futility because the plans are based on guesswork. This is why Retail Planning (Open-To-Buy) Software has to have access to the facts.
Real Information in Real Time
In order to analyze a business, there needs to be accurate information. In addition to accuracy, that information also needs to be comprehensive. Actualized historical statistics should be available for comparison with real information in real time today, so that decisions can be made with confidence.
For example, stores in an area hard hit by severe weather have valid reasons for poor performance during that time and analysis has to take those conditions into account. If the forecast for coming weeks is severe weather, OTB flexibility could allow for stocking more of inventory that sold out before the last storm hit. This would let sales soar before everybody stays home.
Professional Software for Real Retailers
Software is designed for specific functions, and retail management software is no different. Those functions depend on factual data to be appropriate for effective planning. In planning software, look for features like these:
- Ability to leverage historical contribution patterns so the dollar distribution is precise
- Analysis of sales and inventory data in charts and drill-downs so the comparisons are meaningful
- Integration with point of sale software component so the coordination is natural and easy
- Relevant receipt patterns of stock to sale ratios so the stock level forecasting is accurate
- Allocation from top down or bottom up with the ability to lock & unlock at all levels so that analysis is specific
- Dynamic controls, segmented views, and critical indicators for an extensive options list so that plans are customized
All this and more should be included in professional software for real retailers, but the most important feature of planning software is access to all the data, all the time. This requires a centralized database and a real retail management solution that is integrated for maximum effectiveness.