23 Jun 2024

A Retail Merchandising Review Carried out for a Large European Retailer.

The Merchandising review was carried out for one of the largest general goods retailers in Norway. With several hundred stores of varying shapes and sizes spread out across the entire length of Norway, they were looking to significantly improve their central control of merchandising space in the stores.

The primary objectives were identified as.

  1. Establish the blueprint management process and a revised set of blueprints for the highly varied retail estate.
  2. Identify the merchandising layout configuration requirements to maximise range and space.
  3. Significantly improve the central control of merchandising space in stores to improve store layout implementation.
  4. Implement an integrated merchandising and range planning process across the category teams.

The ultimate objective, of course, to deliver a stronger and more consistent merchandised offering to their customers.

The initial review phase of the programme required full engagement of the entire category team at all levels. This initial phase taking in total 8 weeks to conclude by the Sigma team. The resulting strategy and proposal was presented to the senior management team and was signed off for immediate implementation. The programme required the establishment of multiple workstreams across the business. Buying, merchandising and retail departments were all involved in the undertaking of a complete overhaul of the merchandising and category systems and process.

At the heart of the strategy was a complete head office relay. This saw the building of a full size, fully operational, merchandised store in the centre of the head office layout. The merchandising store was the first thing that greeted any visitors or suppliers as they entered the head office complex. The store was surrounded by the buying, merchandising and supply chain teams.

This central focus point was a clear beacon and a key part of the business strategy.  It put the customer merchandising experience at the heart of the operational teams in their day to day workings. This merchandising store was supported by the implementation of new merchandising software and further category planning tools. Collectively these focussed the newly formed category teams on delivering fully aligned, right-first-time ranges to the shop floor and customer.

The wider reach of the new range merchandising strategy saw significant improvement in supplier engagement and support. To this day the merchandising store continues to deliver a level of pride and engagement from the category teams when presenting their ranges and merchandising ideas to the senior managers for signing off.