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Retail Technology, Retail technology News

Maple Lake launches new assortment management software

Sunday January 24 2010

“Built by retailers, built for retailers,” new QuickAssortment aims at increasing profitability for specialty retailers

“Built by retailers, built for retailers,” new QuickAssortment aims at increasing profitability for specialty retailers


Retailers seeking alternatives to high-cost, highly complex assortment management software and never-ending implementations now have an alternative with the release of QuickAssortment, according to its vendor, Maple Lake.


It said the software gives specialty retailers an affordable, powerful assortment management approach that maximises merchandising by locality and identifies potential gaps in product lines and how to make more money by sourcing additional products (Open to Buy).


“Research shows that many retailers have implemented, or tried to implement, an assortment management solution, and faced disappointment, if not total failure,” said Stuart Aldridge, Maple Lake chief executive. “Our approach is to make assortment management as easy as using Microsoft Excel. QuickAssortment is that easy and familiar, built for retailers, built by retailers.”


Ease of use and flexibility touted


“It enables retailers to create a collaborative planning environment that balances strategic goals, store plans, merchandise plans, individual item strengths and more,” he said. “QuickAssortment is designed to create a structured, focused planning process that delivers efficiencies and value.”


For Lisa Pisano, senior vice president of planning and merchandising at Steve Madden, a leading designer and marketer of fashion footwear and accessories for women, men and children, QuickAssortment has helped the specialty retailer go from assortment management that was antiquated and de-centralised to being sophisticated, localised and streamlined.


“We’re a trendy, entrepreneurial retailer that required a planning approach that took us from sharing Excel spreadsheets and PDFs to something more powerful and sophisticated,” said Pisano.


“QuickAssortment is both of these without overwhelming users with too many functions, features or complicated steps. It was extremely important to keep it simple and to not intimidate all the different types of users among our 91-plus stores.”


Updating merchandising data capabilities


Pisano and her team of planners and buyers began using the merchant store planning features of QuickAssortment, going live with the software within three months.


“We are now introducing QuickAssortment among our team of planners and buyers, and are beginning the initial phase of Maple Lake’s QuickAllocation and QuickAnalytics software. This combination is streamlining the information so that it’s available, accessible and really useable,” added Pisano.


The new merchandising software operates on a Microsoft SQL server platform and resides at a retailer’s corporate site. QuickAssortment operates within a client-server architecture, with data being managed on the server to optimise performance and scalability.


Maple Lake said its thin-client nature minimises impact on network bandwidth since only the current window of data is retrieved from the server to desktops. The client side of the application manages navigation, data presentation and data entry. It added that QuickAssortment imports, exports and maps data from standard data sources using ActiveX Data Object or Open Database Connectivity (including flat files, Excel, Access, SQL, Oracle, comma separated, etc.), and includes an import wizard.