Assortment Planning

Mining Sales Data to Discover “Home Run” Products You Are Missing

A retailer’s assortment—the set of products carried in each of its stores—defines the company for consumers. L.L.Bean may sell far more wool blankets than cross-country skis but, by stocking the skis, it announces that it specializes in outdoor recreation, not just rustic house goods.

In choosing an assortment, retailers must take into account strategic issues like whether products align with their brands: L.L.Bean isn’t going to start stocking silk negligees.

But retailers must also ponder nitty-gritty operational puzzles. Best Buy, for its part, might have to choose only twenty digital cameras, among the thousands available. On top of that, it ...

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