An image of clothing an accessories in a store.

The Buyer’s Secret Weapon: Data + Insights

What would make a purchasing agent’s job easier and streamline important quantitative analyses, such as assortment percentages, brand share, and competitive pricing? This is the question I posed to Peter, an avid cycler and buyer for the cycling department at a large sporting goods retailer.

Peter explained that much of his knowledge base as a corporate buyer was second nature: he knew cycling gear because he lived and breathed the sport. But if asked to be a buyer for sunglasses or men’s running shoes, his expertise would not be as deep. He readily admitted that during a stint covering those departments that he needed a lot of help. So, some homework was required, and he temporarily lost the work/life balance that allowed for him to cycle for hours (until two of his coworkers returned from maternity leave and vacation).

What if that new mom took a full year off and the vacationer rediscovered himself in Mexico and decided to become a yoga instructor? And so then Peter needed to stay in men’s shoes? Fortunately for him and others needing to get up to speed about a product category, all is not lost.

Of course, looking at old sales reports might help, but how does that make business’s purchasing decisions reflect what’s available now? With a platform for on-demand assortment insights and inventory tracking, purchasing agents can gain a holistic perspective about categories they may be less familiar with. Having the data validates purchasing decisions, whether to expand or streamline specific product categories.

For example, Peter could look at assortment insights for individual or multiple categories of products to quickly understand which brands his competitors are carrying.

 

Women’s activewear across several brands and merchants 

Graphs of activewear across several brands and merchants.

A view of product assortment composition to evaluate competitors

Graphs showing product assortment competitive data.

Not only can users of our platform view current trends, they can also see historical inventory up to three years back to see how competitor inventory relates to historical sales trends. By accessing these same insights again in the future, users can assess whether the shelf space has grown or decreased for specific brands, categories, or products, indicating whether they are successfully selling.

With inventory monitoring insights including “Changes in Price & Products,” agents like Peter can observe shelf life and see whether products are available, added, or removed. They can also see when new product lines are introduced and how seasonality comes into play.

Changes in assortment (SKU or product level) and category comparisons across time

A table of changes in assortment over time.

The right combination of both experience-based intuition and in-depth understanding of a marketplace is the ideal hallmark of buying. But why waste hours compiling and analyzing costs of individual products across websites one-by-one, manually?

Wiser was built to enable business to make data-driven decisions. Our data spans the spectrum of shopping engines, digital ads, marketplaces, and merchant sites, which allows you to stay on top of it all. Additionally, our integration-free application ensures that any business can leverage the insights regardless of its underlying technology. Instead of just keeping up with trends, analytics can turn you into a market leader. If this competitive intelligence sounds like a win, let us help you achieve it through our platform.

 

Contributing writer: Chelsea Albright

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Need better data to inform your decisions? Whether in-store or online, Wiser has you covered from pricing to assortment to promotions. Schedule a meeting todayto learn how to turn retail data into action.   

Angelica Valentine

Angelica Valentine is the Marketing Manager at Wiser, the leading provider of actionable data for better decisions, and a contributor to VentureBeat, Business Insider, The Future Customer Engagement and Commerce, and more. She holds a BA from Barnard College of Columbia University.

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