May 1, 2023

15 Questions to Ask When Considering a New Merchandise Planning Software

15 Questions to Ask When Considering a New Merchandise Planning Software


Andrea Lechner-Becker
Head of Marketing

Table of Contents

If you’re a retailer looking to modernize your operations by embracing merchandise planning software, the tool you choose matters. The right one will help you save time, gain actionable insights and grow your business through better planning, while the wrong one can be a waste of your valuable funds and time. But, how do you know which is which? To help you get started, here are 15 key questions to ask potential vendors. 

Top Questions to Ask

Inquire About Merchandise and Assortment Planning, the Platform, Allocation and Reporting 

  • Does your system offer planning and forecasting at different levels of the location and/or merchandise hierarchy (Division, Department, Class)? 
  • Does it offer planning by channel, allowing for channel specific planning metrics (e.g. digital KPIs, wholesale KPIs, etc.)?
  • Does your solution have the ability to hindsight past seasons in order to understand choice level performance (taking out of stocks into consideration) and provide an understanding on the return on investment by choice, style and attributes?
  • Can it reconcile line plans to top-level financial targets coming from a merchandise plan?
  • With your software, can I create bottom-up ladder plans and reconcile that with top down business targets?
  • Does your system have intelligent forecasting that leverages historical data, recent trends and business goals all at the same time?
  • Can your system generate optimal size curves using historical data and factoring in True Demand?
  • Can your solution determine the ideal inventory to transfer to stores based on sales plans or historical performance?
  • Is there consistency and availability of all reported metrics across all platforms (e.g. a single reporting system with all required metrics)?
  • Is there ability to see plan, forecast, and actual in all reports?
  • Speaking of scalability, can you scale 100K+ SKUs across 1K+ locations?
  • Does your system seamlessly integrate into my existing tech stack?
  • Can your product export data from the platform into a data warehouse?
  • Do you offer training sessions with planning professionals and self-service help content (e.g.  a library of pre-recorded webinars) to get us up and running?
  • What is your customer service like, and do you have multi-channel support (e.g. Slack, in-app chat, email, etc.)?  

Big Results Require the Right Tool

Asking the Right Questions Will Help You Find It 

If you’re ready to start the RFP process, check out our free template here. Additionally, if you would like to explore Toolio’s unified platform for all merchandising activities, we invite you to ask us all the above questions (and more) and request a demo