Maple Lake launches new QuickAllocation software for optimum retail allocation practices

While intuition, experience and data analysis are key drivers for a retail merchandising team to decide what products go to what store at the right time and right price, Maple Lake has announced QuickAllocation, software that adds 'decision precision' allocation practices for retailers worldwide.

"Most allocation systems don't work with the customer's interests in mind," said Stuart Aldridge, chief executive officer at Maple Lake. "They work one product at a time and only look backwards, while customers browse from a selection of products and are looking to be inspired with new and exciting ideas.  When you bring this into the allocation process it's less about the science and more about the customer."

"We challenge retailers to factor in future customer dynamics with QuickAllocation. It helps retailers balance the need for responsible fiscal management of inventory (optimised through strong mathematical modelling and numerical data), and what makes merchandisers so good at what they do: Being creative, inspirational and intuitive."

QuickAllocation, he said, best suits retailers with an entrepreneurial spirit and merchandising approach that values strong data and modelling techniques but also enables the product teams to be creative and instinctive. The software was designed collaboratively with the help of three North American retailers. In addition, application functionality is continually benchmarked with end users.

Retailers using QuickAllocation are said to be able to:

Increase Sales. A retailer will recognise and respond to daily sales and inventory patterns for each SKU in each location, which allows it to quickly identify and act on high-performing stores that need additional stock for maximum sales opportunities.

Increase Margin. A retailer can increase margin by allocating first-quality product to stores most likely to sell that type of product, which improves the likelihood of selling the product at full retail price. Result: The retailer avoids markdowns to clear redundant inventory at the end of the season, allowing it to achieve higher reward for the same initial investment.

Increase Customer Satisfaction. The "lost sale" hurts. Not only do you lose the sale, but the customer who can't find the right size or colour walks away, frustrated with your store and your brand. QuickAllocation improves product availability for each customer and each store. By balancing availability of product sizes or types, you gain happy customers. That equals greater sales.

Reduce Store Transfer Costs.  Transfers cost money and time. If a product is misallocated in the first place, it's a last resort to capitalise on sales. QuickAllocation ensures that stores receive products in their preferred size curve not an arbitrary company ratio. Result: Stores spend less time shipping and more time selling.

Preserve Brand Presentation.  Retailers need to take a look at the "bigger picture". With QuickAllocation, seeing the broader picture of the entire assortment and how it is distributed is easy. It allows a retailer to visualise what the customer will see and experience. This is prime "decision precision." It allows one to step back from the numbers and envision the assortment with the eyes of the customer.

Maximise Availability in Advance. Relying on old data to make today's decisions? QuickAllocation utilises a forward-looking trend for each product. This is ideal for planning inventory builds for special events and promotions as well. In addition, QuickAllocation is easy to use and simplifies allocation, avoiding costly and complex implementations, training and support. About QuickAllocation

It Is Easy To Use. Building on the successful user interface of QuickAssortment, QuickAllocation enables users to run extremely powerful scenarios and calculations with only a few clicks of the mouse. It applies a Microsoft Office 2007-style interface and is built on the latest Microsoft SQL Server technologies.

It Simplifies Allocation. The software includes flexible hierarchy definitions (Define your own hierarchy levels or synchronise with your product master files), and an easy way to define a set of allocation metrics unique to any retailer. It simplifies allocation with client-defined allocation calculations; proactive indicator analysis, which combines history and trends so a retailer can determine product demand; and look-forward calculations, which allows a retailer to analyse, create and use demand trends to predict store needs (Ideal for highly seasonal products).In addition, QuickAllocation offers special functions that include store eligibility, store capacities, collections and more.

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