While it’s not quite as easy as hitting a reset button, technology can make fixture resets more efficient and less costly.
By Megan Moyer
As with any shopper, beauty customers want to be able to find what they’re looking for when they are seeking it. You have only minutes to convert interest into a sale when they are standing in your aisles. And because the beauty segment has seen ongoing growth and is projected to continue the upward trend in the foreseeable future, you don’t want to disappoint these shoppers or drive them to another store by not having a well-stocked, easily shoppable department.
Twice a year, this is more of a challenge than usual. Cosmetics departments update their color palettes, first for the warmer months of spring and summer, then for the cooler months of fall and winter. When it’s time for these seasonal resets (or for any cut-ins throughout the year), staff should be able to accomplish them quickly to minimize the amount of time when product is unavailable due to the switchover. Technology can help you improve productivity throughout the process and provide additional benefits to better manage costs and inventory.
Tracking who has what
One way to use technology to streamline the process is to create a custom database that tracks the fixture pieces each store has on hand and defines relationships between fixture planograms and pieces. This can be leveraged for future resets as well. When a new reset is approaching, a quick query of the database can indicate whether a store already has certain pieces that could be reused in the latest update. When new fixture pieces are shipped to stores, they should be added to the database to keep it current and ensure that it remains a reliable resource for the next reset.
Building a website—or web interface if you already have a portal for your stores—with the database behind the scenes improves usability tenfold. The website provides user-friendly access so stores can verify the pieces they have and those they need. Using store-specific login information, the system can generate each store location with detailed reports. Additionally, when images of the fixture are linked to the part number, it will minimize errors when store personnel reorder. Reports and images make it far easier to improve order accuracy, leading to cost and productivity savings.
Even if multiple vendors supply fixture pieces, the system can be programmed to separate the order according to which vendor will fulfill the part and then send each one the electronic file containing their orders. The vendor order acknowledgement and shipment tracking details can be populated on the website for easy management, simplifying the process for the store by providing just one place for the store to enter an order without the need to know which vendor will fulfill it.
Integrating fixture ordering
Integrating a brand’s fixture fulfillment division can further speed the reset process. The orders would go directly to the division for completion. The site operates like familiar e-commerce sites without the payment piece. Users can complete their order, view their shopping cart, and submit it. The retailer’s business rules can be integrated to help manage the overall process. For instance, the retailer might want to receive notifications of new purchase orders or have the system automatically decline orders once store budgetary limits have been reached.
The website can become as robust as desired. You can add store-specific installation support documents such as change instructions, fixture planograms, and videos and manuals to make everything available all in one spot. It can include integration to additional retailer-approved labor services that may be needed, such as to install, fix, or change electrical outlets or wiring. These functions can also include purchase controls particular to each store (e.g. approvals at operations level, dollar amount limits, or store-specific blackouts on ordering).
Retailers can also use the website to validate accurate implementation by requiring stores to upload images that are then verified to match the store-specific planogram. If the company has the resources available, they can offer online help messaging or employ a chatbot.
Getting with the program
Imagine going into a cosmetics department reset feeling confident, prepared, and well equipped to accomplish the job in a minimal amount of time. The creation of a custom database and website can offer multiple process improvements that equate to simple and speedy ordering and reordering and more efficient installation.
Megan Moyer is senior marketing communications specialist at Hamacher Resource Group, which focuses on improving results across the retail supply chain.