Business intelligence technology vendor SAS is launching version 5.11 of its Space Planning application.
Announced July 22, Space Planning 5.11 features 3-D graphics and provides customer-centric views of retail space.
"Retailers can tailor space plans to a store-specific level," said Alexi Sarnevitz, senior director of retail strategy for SAS. "The solution performs macro-space planning, which is space allocation and placement of departments in the store, as well as category space planning and micro-space planning, which is planning by individual facings on the shelf."
Sarnevitz said the offering also offers 3-D graphical capabilities.
"Our overall mantra is to enable customer-centric retailing," he said. "We allow the planner to look at the layout from the customer perspective. We help the category manager determine holistically how products are placed and create a more relevant shopping experience."
Terry Westmacott, manager of global retail practice solution strategy for SAS, said Space Planning 5.11 assists retailers in meeting the "three C's" of collaboration, compliance and customer-centricity.
"How do we get better collaboration with suppliers?" he asked. "Visibility is very important. It also brings in merchandisers and category managers who want touch and feel."
Westmacott said that since the turn rate of store associates is typically high, the solution's visualization capabilities provide a "huge leap forward" in ensuring that stores comply with space plans. The offering's visual coning and vertical blocking control features help category managers display products in an appropriate manner, he said.
"What the shopper sees is a single expression of the edited story the category manager wants to present," Westmacott said.
Sarnevitz said Space Planning 5.11 is an integrated part of SAS' end-to-end merchandising suite and can be deployed in tandem with modules for activities such as product allocation and price optimization to produce greater benefits. He said it also eases the switching out of products and helps move more detailed decision support information throughout the decision support hierarchy and to stores.
According to Sarnevitz, the solution can help retailers increase revenue, margins and inventory productivity.
"We're in an era where retailers are trying to build a closer relationship with customers," he said. "We help facilitate a compelling, convenient shopping experience."
Hung LeHong, an analyst with Gartner, said SAS' merchandise planning suite offers retailers advantages with its depth of functionality and space optimization capability.
"The suite includes everything from merchandising financial planning right down to how to plan your space--where the product will go in the store or on the shelf," LeHong said. "SAS is one of the few merchandise planning vendors with an integrated suite."
He said SAS is also known for its algorithms and analytics, which the vendor uses in a space planning partner module called Space Optimizer.
"Space planning solutions allow you to create planograms with user input," he said. "Space Optimizer automatically does that for a user based on a set of targets and rules."
Dan Berthiaume covers the retail space for eWEEK. For more industry news, check out eWEEK.com's Retail Site.