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Next Generation Assortment Planning
Next Generation Assortment Planning 101
Next Generation Assortment Planning 101

This document provides and overview of the New Assortment Planning process in Toolio

Updated over a week ago

❗This article is related to New Assortment Plan. If you are on the old Assortment Plan and would like to migrate to the new Assortment Plan, please reach out to your Customer Success Manager


Assortment Planning is a multi-faceted process that incorporates numerous stakeholders with the ultimate objective of buying the right assortment of products in the right quantity at the right price to maximize full price sell through, over time.

Managing an assortment is an ongoing process, there are always current (in season), near term (launch season), and long term (buy season) actions occurring concurrently. The Toolio assortment planning solution provides a platform to manage all of these processes in one integrated system.

Figure 1) Simultaneous Assortment Processes

Assortment Creation

New and existing assortments are created and maintained in the same way, each product in an assortment can live over multiple seasons and therefore form part of multiple assortments. Toolio provides the ability to plan assortments by time and in conjunction with cluster groups by location.

An assortment is created by selecting a set of attributes and a timeframe to consider. For instance an assortment for Mens / Tops for Fall/Winter 24 would contain all mens tops that are currently planned to extend into FW24 but also allow for new products to be added to FW 24 and beyond. In this way a product can form part of multiple assortments but still be rolled up and reviewed as a singular plan over time.

Figure 2) Assortment Creation

Assortment strategies

Each assortment contains a set of choice strategies that intersect with the assortment filters. A choice is defined by customer requirements, typically a style/color combination. Each choice can be associated with a real product or a placeholder.

Each assortment choice will have an item plan by week. Toolio will provide a system generated item plan that automatically reacts to actual performance. Separately, users have the ability to adjust the system plan as required. As the plan actualizes, the automatically generated system plan will retrend based on the Toolio AI engine and the user will be able to see the deviation of their plan to the system plan. This approach provides the user with the power to control the plan while using Toolio’s AI as a copilot.

Within the same screen, users have the ability to hindsight previous assortments for insights into assortment performance, width and depth through the Compare utility. For new placeholder products, users have the ability to adopt a real choice integrated from ERP or PLM through the Style Bank

Finally, Users have the ability to rollup their assortment and compare back to the Merchandise Plan at any stage.

Figure 3) Assortment strategy screen


Clustering is an important element of assortment planning as it allows for localization of the assortment without the need to plan each assortment by location, which is particularly difficult when the location count increases.

Automated clustering in Toolio provides the ability to analyze data trends as well as location attributes such as space and geography to automatically create clusters of stores that are expected to behave in a similar manner for a subset of products.

Each choice in the assortment will be associated with a cluster for a time period. This allows for assortments to be expanded or contracted over time and allows for changes in the makeup of the clusters, as seasons change for instance.

Figure 4) shows clusters of locations in blue around a cluster center point red star

Receipts and Purchase Orders

The ultimate goal of assortment planning is to buy the right product to meet the expected demand the assortment will drive. To achieve this, Toolio automatically generates ideal receipt quantities to match demand, safety stock and minimum presentation targets.

Receipt planning ensures inventory is received in time to cover demand based on supplier lead time and balances new receipts against current inventory to bring the ownership back in line with ideal inventory at a size level.

While receipts are calculated on an optimized basis, supplier constraints are a reality and the purchase order manager provides users the ability to group receipts to meet order minimums and multiples while generating purchase orders that can be internally approved and ultimately, committed supplier POs.

Rollup and Reporting

At any point in time users have the ability to roll up the assortment plan and compare it against the merchandise plan used to set targets for the organization, this ensures the assortment plan aligns with the organizational targets.

Within the assortment reporting, users can slice and dice their assortments across any product attribute, metric, cluster and time to understand the assortment trends.

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