When people are faced with a large purchase that they intend to finance, they will often choose to carry the item on a store plan rather than on their own credit card. This is often due to the psychological illusion that they are not really spending their own money, like they would be if they were using their own card. However, this isn’t actually true and there can be some major benefits to using your Visa or Mastercard for a large purchase instead of using the available store credit program, and can actually end up saving you a great deal of money.There are some benefits to using store financing. First, it is quite convenient, since it literally only takes minutes to sign up and get approved for it, and sometimes those who have a store credit card will receive information on sales earlier than others, as well as new merchandise or other information. There may be financial benefits as well, with those who have a store credit card receiving further discounts on purchases and if you visit a store regularly the you will likely pay the balance off each month so that the interest doesn’t break the bank.However, most of the time the store credit service is not the best option. First, the store credit card usually has a great deal higher interest rate than your own plastic. In fact on average, most cards have an APR of 16.82% while in-store financing has an interest rate around 24.3%. This is obviously a huge difference if you are making a large purchase such as a television or a set of furniture that you are paying for over the long term. In fact, on a thousand dollar purchase this can be a several hundred dollars as opposed to around $150 for the average credit card.If it comes down to a choice of actually getting a credit card or a store card, to make this very large purchase then the solution is equally as clear. If you get a store credit card to make the purchase that you want, then you will certainly be able to buy your large product at the store. However, once it is paid off and you have a clear balance on your card again you are restricted to future purchases at that store alone. But, if you get a credit card instead, it can be used anywhere that the credit card imprint is accepted, which is nearly every merchant in the world for Visa and Mastercard imprints.There is a very good reason that store clerks and managers are trained to offer you an in-store finance plan when you are making a large purchase, so be aware that you will be approached, and the benefits of the store credit card will be extolled. They will often take the additional step of offering you discounts on your purchase by signing up for, and putting your purchase on the store credit plan, but just because you will receive a discount doesn’t mean that you should automatically sign up for the store financing. Instead, weight the cost after the interest and consider taking a day to think about whether you want to finance your purchase through the store or not.
In today’s competitive and dynamic retail environment, retailers need to distinguish themselves to gain the cutting edge that is essential to capture the right customers and increase market share. Most retailers have one brand, one marketing strategy and one assortment plan. The complexity is that inventory, store arrangements and promotion plan in such retail shops are based on sales rate and not on consumers’ differing lifestyles and buying characteristics. Such a general strategy does not suit individual stores with consumers’ different buying patterns, as a result of which a single retail offering becomes a competitive drawback. Some of the decisions such as merchandising and assortment are made at store level. Nevertheless differentiating brands, products, and promotion campaigns for several stores is either expensive or difficult for many retailers. Hence, there arises a need to categorize stores with similar characteristics into clusters (buckets), so that stores with similar characteristics can be specifically targeted.Store clustering is a popular analytic technique that serves the purpose of categorizing stores. It is a process of grouping stores which are “similar” in one single cluster and are “dissimilar” to the stores belonging to other clusters. It is employed to build appropriate store segments which are homogenous in certain behavioral aspects such as similar performance, shopper segments, compatible functioning characteristics, common store size / type and demographic characteristics so that similar audience can be targeted using the same marketing scheme.Store clustering approach – how it works:Organize stores into clusters by considering various factors for clustering. There are 2 types of store clusters: performance based and non-performance based.1.Performance based cluster: Stores with similar sales performance are grouped together. For example, a small store with high sales will be merchandised in a different way from a small store with low sales2.Non-performance based cluster: Stores are grouped according to•Characteristics such as:
Store location types (mall, independent store, locality)•Customer demographics such as:
Initially, for both performance and non-performance based clusters, review existing clusters to define any problems and issues. Form new clusters on the basis of this analysis.To understand and implement store clustering retailers need to scrutinize each cluster on the following basis.1) Profile the shoppers in the clusters from the data to obtain the following information
• Customer purchase behavior
• Spending pattern
• Lifestyle characteristics
• Products preferred
• Brands preferred
• Occasional shopping pattern (i.e. when does customer shop more, during festivals, holidays)2) Identify heavy shoppers of a category and brand.
POS data on category sales within specific stores is the key information, however this information do not disclose certain shoppers in each cluster. There are few consumers who demonstrate the greatest likelihood to buy the products leading to unseen sales. These unseen sales opportunities within each cluster can be spotted by gathering household panel data. This data is used to draw a demographic and lifestyle profile of the heavy users of these products.3) Identify the prospect for each product type and brand within the category in each cluster.
• Analyze how each product as well as brand is performing within the category
• How much each product type and brand is contributing towards the total revenue4) i) Recognize the media characteristics of loyal customers. The way through which a customer is introduced to the product or means of advertisement are newspapers, magazines, ads on tv, radio, hoardings (banners), ads sent through mobile and flyers
ii) Formulate promotion strategy for loyal customers.
• Promote the product/brand through appropriate channel
• Target the right customers with right promotions (i.e. formulate promotion strategies to stimulate customer interest in product and hence produce profitable results)Depending on the above analysis, modify medium of advertisement and promotion campaign according to heavy shopping behavior for particular customer within cluster.5) Allocate shelf space as per opportunity (prospect)
• How much inventory to stock on shelf as well as store as buffer
• How much aisle space to allocate to each product & brand
• How much to reorder (replenish)To bring all this information together, store clustering team comprises of store planners, analysts, merchandise planners and space allocators.Advantages of store clustering – Impact on retailer’s business model:1. Scheduling & planning: Useful for store planning, marketing, cross-promotions and merchandising2. Assortment: Category and sub-category levels decide the best assortment3. Allocation of space: Helps in macro & micro space allocation for category/product/brand4. Inventory management: Optimize stock holding, improving availability, replenishment planning5. Revenue management:
• Promotion tailored to cluster-specific requirements
• Increasing sales by identifying sales opportunities6. Enormous product range:
• Provides customers with vast range of choice
• Provides the foundation to plan a diverse multi-location environment in an effective and timely manner7. Assigning / reassigning stores to cluster: New stores can be easily assigned to a cluster thus helping them to establish and grow quickly. Older stores can be reassigned for aligning the store as per changed characteristics like sales patterns, market changes.Techniques used for store clustering:Store clustering relies on statistical and non-statistical methods to group together observations (stores) that are alike across certain selected variables. Techniques like neural networks, K-means clustering and self-organizing maps are popular for store clustering.Optimization and data mining techniques can be utilized for defining effective clusters.SAS Intelligent Clustering for Retail solution helps retailers to increase sales, profit and customer contentment by providing the optimal set of store clusters for assortment, planning and category management.The store clusters serve as inputs to produce results that help business users to optimize the planning process.Clustering is vital for retailers. They can decide on aspects such as category management and optimal inventory stocking. Store clustering not only provides the best product mix for that particular cluster but also provides the best fit promotion strategies. The result of good clustering is an improved skill to provide a customer-centric merchandise environment, driving benefit across the entire business.
A home repair tool kit is something that every home should have whether the occupants are particularly handy or not. There are so many small things that can go wrong in a home that may need some immediate attention or that require waiting for a repair professional. There are very few differences between a basic kit and a home repair kit. There are prefilled basic tool kits that you can add to in order to have a well prepared home repair tool kit.Your basic home repair tool kit should include some general tools such as a hammer, flat and Phillips screwdriver, wrench, Allen wrenches and pliers. Some other things that should be included are washers, screws, nails, nuts and bolts. You never know what may break and how you will have to temporarily fix it, from a leaking toilet tank to a table leg that falls off.A breaker box layout that clearly identifies what each breaker controls should also be in your home kit. It may be important to be able to switch off certain breakers if there is a water leak, or an electrical problem. Light bulbs, batteries, and paper towels should also be part of your home repair tool kit. These are all things that you may need in the course of making small repairs around the home.Some of the additional items you should have in a home repair tool kit are electrical tape, a wire cutter, a utility knife flashlight, and band aids. Yes, injuring yourself is something you should be prepared for if you’re not a handy person and sometimes even if you are.Your kit should be kept in an easy to find place so that you can quickly and easily deal with any repairs that need to be made in case of emergency. Keeping your home repair tool kit close to a first aid kit and emergency preparation items is a great way to make sure that it is always ready to go. Make sure when you use tools out of your home repair tool kit, that you replace them. It does no good to have a home repair tool kit with half of the items missing.As you make small repairs around the house you’ll probably find several other things to include in your home repair tool kit and will be able to create a kit that is extremely efficient and ideal for your individual home. Being prepared for whatever may arise is a smart move for any home owner and not just having the tools but also knowing how to use them can often save you a great deal of money on professional repairs.