IT services and solutions for retail and hospitality


what is a WSSI
  • 25 Sep

What is a WSSI

What is a WSSI? Breaking down retail terminology, this blog will explore the benefits of a WSSI: a standard merchandising reporting tool that plays a critical role in the day-to-day running of a retail business. WSSI stands for weekly sales, stock and intake data. As an application, it maximises sales by ensuring that stock levels are effectively controlled and optimised. A WSSI allows retailers to manage their inventory based on sales forecasting, actual sales made, and stock information. This helps the retailer determine how much stock is required and when, by generating what is known as Open to Buy. By measuring trading conditions and their impact on stock and sales, the WSSI can support accurate forecasting, and keep markdowns to a minimum. A standard WSSI will consist of sales, stock, purchase order data and more, and can be used in any order or combination that the user requires. Data is then divided into weeks, with each week displayed as a row or column of data. What to look for in a WSSI? For omnichannel retailers, it’s essential to use a WSSI that allows planning and trading at any level of your product hierarchy. It’s also beneficial if each level can operate independently of one another, with the ability to “roll up” lower levels of the hierarchy to see bigger picture. Easy analysis Whilst dealing with very complex information, one of the best attributes of any WSSI is powerful, rich functionality, with a simple, easy user interface. Ensure that “dimensions” can be dragged and dropped in any number or sequence, into and out of the display. Any system used should have a fully integrated export to Microsoft Excel – a “must have” for merchandisers.  This formats the data accordingly, and shows all the row labels and column headings automatically. Sales should further be automatically downloaded, and all plans updated without any need for IT intervention or user action. Can you also plan by different criteria? Planning by Seasonality, by Channel, or Key Lines, are all benefits of an effective WSSI. User adoption With any new system, it should be flexible and intuitive enough to accommodate varying data displays, whilst also being simple enough to adopt, administer, and implement. Offering a customisable view, once a user has defined a way of viewing the data, the same view can be adopted by other users. Users should have the ability to create as many WSSI templates as required, which can be for specific attributes, or different countries, for example. Powerful decision making Powered by Decision Systems, their industry leading Merchandise Planner tool includes Retail Value (Incl & Excl VAT), Cost, Units, Margin Value and Margin % for every data element, (e.g. sales, stock etc.), without the need to specify the necessary calculation or have separate data elements for each. Together with the ability to include Channel and Store plans as well as a traditional Product WSSI, this gives a more accurate, complete picture of performance from which better business decisions can be made for…
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Merret Tablet Inventory
  • 18 Jan

What is Ship from Store?

What is Ship from Store? How do I implement Ship from Store? What are the benefits of Ship from Store? Read on to find out more about the most profitable fulfilment method for the omnichannel world: we’re helping leading retail brands achieve this. Definition: Ship from Store is a fulfilment process, by which retailers use stock from their store estate to fulfil orders. As a truly omnichannel process, the orders might have come from any channel, for example the website. Fulfilling orders in this way makes the store into a virtual distribution hub. Ship from Store benefits retailers in a number of ways. Firstly, it’s an efficient way to use stock, by preventing stores from unprofitable stockholding. For example, your flagship store might sell out of the new range bestseller, whereas a smaller store could end up with a surplus that are difficult to sell. Rather than having to discount this stock, retailers can maximise full-price selling through using the store inventory to fulfil orders, rather than sourcing the same item from the Distribution Centre (DC). Retailers can prevent frustrating web “out-of-stock” situations: just because an item might not be available in the DC, it might be hanging on a rail in-store, dressing a mannequin, or have been returned to a store. This captures sales that might otherwise have been lost. Using store inventory to fulfil web orders of products that are out of stock at Distribution Centres results in immediate revenue boosts of up to 10%-20% by making more inventory available for sale. Online sales at American Apparel have increased by 30% since they started using their stores as “backup fulfilment centres” (Kurt Salmon “Why Ship from Store”). Overall shipping costs for the retailer also experience a decrease, as despatches from the DC reduce dramatically. In short, the store must become a critical part of retailers’ omnichannel processes. Ship from Store could increase sales by an average of 20%. For a £50 million turnover retailer, that would mean an extra £27,000 in sales every day (ecommerce Week). Furthermore, industry insiders see overall sales increases of 10-40%: circulating inventory within all channels increases margins by 1-3% whilst reducing the likelihood of inventory markdowns by 10-15%. (BirdDog “Benefits of having a Ship from Store Strategy”). We’ve worked hard on Ship from Store strategy, to engineer our solution with the following points in mind; Ensuring that the appropriate algorithms are in place to ship from the most appropriate store locations, to maintain stock availability at the most prominent and profitable stores, and source from the most viable locations. Additional load to the store must be appreciated. Ensure that staff are trained effectively and ready to cope with the potential demand placed on stores for picking, packing and despatching stock. Ensuring that stores embrace Ship from Store as a cultural change rather than see it as a hindrance. As such, procedures need to be in place to ensure that the store picking, packing and despatching the stock gets credited for the sale. Also,…
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omnichannel supply chain
  • 11 May

Retail Definitions: Omnichannel Supply Chain

During the last few years in retail, one term in particular has become dominant in the language of retail operations and supply chain functionality: omnichannel. But what is omnichannel retailing, what’s an omnichannel supply chain, and what are the benefits? This Retail Definitions blog will explain. Let’s start with a helpful graphic: What is omnichannel retailing? Omnichannel retailing is the new generation of cross-channel and multi-channel retail. Omnichannel retailers have a presence on several channels and platforms (i.e. brick-and-mortar stores, mobile, online, concession, catalogue etc.) and enable customers to transact, interact, and engage across channels simultaneously and interchangeably. Omnichannel, for example, gives customers the convenience and flexibility to purchase an item via their smartphone, selecting click-and-collect delivery to pick up the merchandise in-store, and afterwards process a return via the website. It’s important to note that omnichannel goes beyond a physical presence on multiple channels or platforms. Just because you have a website, a mobile app, and a physical store doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re an omnichannel retailer. The brand experience across channels must be seamless, enabling the consumer to shop the brand, not just the channel. What is an omnichannel supply chain? An omnichannel supply chain hinges on the use of a central stock pool to fulfil orders from all retail channels, including in-store, e-commerce and m-commerce, concessions and franchises, and telephone and catalogue. As in the graphic above, the central stock pool is at the heart of all operations. It’s a fully integrated, end-to-end solution, providing an accurate and comprehensive visibility of stock, enabling retailers to maximise trade across their customer facing systems. From ordering to fulfilment, as well as stock management and WSSI tools, a well-integrated omnichannel supply chain solution must have the capacity to manage all steps of retail operations, including buying, merchandising and warehousing. What are the business benefits? Increased stock accuracy and visibility ensures orders are fulfilled in the most cost effective and efficient way Better sell through of full priced stock due to smarter stock management Ability to offer click and collect, and facilitate ship from store practice Customer experience of the brand is enhanced by a seamless and consistent shopping experience Product journey is prioritised just as much as the customer journey Our supply chain solution, Merret, is developed by Retail Assist for best-in-class omnichannel performance. We now have 21 retail brands live on Merret. Over the last 5 years, our Merret implementations have been commended and awarded at the BT Retail Week Tech & Ecomm Awards alongside our customers Morrisons, Jacques Vert, Whistles, and Mint Velvet. We believe our awards demonstrate our passion for what we do. But don’t just take our word for it. The Global CFO of Paperchase, said: “We attributed a 6.4% uplift to Merret during its first year.” If you’d like to talk with us further about Merret, or any of our retail IT solutions or retail IT services, call our Nottingham Head Office on 0115 8533910 or email info@retail-assist.co.uk…
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  • 17 Oct

Retail Definitions: WSSI

Retail terms can sometimes be confusing to people who are unfamiliar with them. As a key merchandising reporting tool, I wanted to explain in simple terms what a WSSI is. WSSI stands for weekly sales, stock and intake and it usually takes the form of an application which is used by companies to plan and monitor sales and stock on a weekly basis. A WSSI allows retailers to efficiently manage stock based on a sales forecast and actual sales and stock information. It helps the business to determine how much stock is required and when, by generating what is known as ‘open to buy’. The intention of the WSSI is to maximise sales with the minimum of outlay by ensuring that stock levels are controlled effectively. It also helps to measure the impact of current trading conditions going forward and assists the business to keep markdown to a minimum. When purchasing a WSSI tool, it may be beneficial to look for one that will allow your business to plan and trade at any level of the product hierarchy. It may also be beneficial if each level is able to operate independently of one another with the ability to ‘roll up’ lower levels of the hierarchy to get the big picture when required. This is a standard feature of the Retail Assist WSSI. There are around 90 fields of data and comparison values within the Retail Assist WSSI to draw upon. These consist of sales, stock and purchase order data amongst others and they can be used in any combination / order that the user requires. This data is then divided into weeks and each week can be displayed as a row or column of data. Once a user has defined a way of viewing the data, the same view can be adopted by other users if they want to see the data in the same way. Another useful function of good WSSI tools is terminal stock processing. This calculates an intake requirement based on a target closing stock figure for a season. The ability to create a sales forecast by uplifting sales from one half / month to another and adding x% is also invaluable. A further ‘must-have’ WSSI feature is a roll up preview. This allows you to preview the results of a roll up from one WSSI level to another with the ability to reject the result if you are unhappy with it, or accept the result if you are. The Retail Assist WSSI handles all of these functions. The data can also be exported to Excel for reporting and analysis purposes and businesses have the ability to create as many WSSIs as they like, which can be for specific attributes or different countries / fascia. Do you utilise a WSSI tool, and if so, do you find it easy to use? Please post your thoughts below or email info@retail-assist.co.uk.…
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