Two new analytic applications to help retailers optimise in-store and online size mixes by buying and allocating product based on customer demand have been launched by Aptos Inc.

While size curves can help tackle the merchandise sizing equation, creating size curves is both challenging and complex given the sheer volume of transactional data that must be analysed, and when inconsistencies in sizing and data anomalies are taken into account.

In response, the Aptos Size Curve Solution and Aptos Size Pack Recommender examine massive amounts of data and convert it into actionable intelligence and recommendations.

The Aptos Size Curve Solution analyses large volumes of data to pinpoint and prescribe accurate size distributions. Using advanced size analytics based on true customer demand, the solution also identifies ideal store-level size curves and detects outliers to boost sales and gross margin return on investment by size.

Once optimal size curves are identified, the Aptos Size Pack Recommender allows retailers to create optimal pack configurations, with the right sizes pre-packed for online and/or physical stores to avoid stock-outs and overstocks in each store location or channel.

With pack profiles, retailers can leverage multi-pack buying to maximise service levels, improve shipping efficiency, minimise manual handling, simplify allocation, ensure consistent size spreads and reduce costs.

"In the merchandise planning continuum of anticipate-forecast-optimise and execute, analytics give retailers insight into 'true demand' based on demographics, preferences and dimensionalities – essential given that retailers can have billions of store size combinations across the various buying seasons," explains Greg Girard, program director, merchandise strategies, at IDC.

"In the merchandise planning continuum of anticipate-forecast-optimise and execute, analytics give retailers insight into 'true demand' based on demographics, preferences and dimensionalities – essential given that retailers can have billions of store size combinations across the various buying seasons."

"Customers become frustrated if they cannot find their size, and each lost sale can then become a lost customer," adds Nick Leeper, director, product management, analytic applications for Aptos.

"With these two new analytic applications, retailers can improve inventory performance, increase sales and achieve higher gross margins – all while improving the customer experience and driving long-term shopper loyalty."

One retailer leveraging Aptos technology for size curves is Destination XL Group. The company is the largest specialty retailer of big and tall men's apparel sold online and through stores under several brands including DestinationXL and Casual Male.

Speaking on a recent webinar, Debbie McCarthy, vice president of merchandise systems support for Destination XL Group, said the retailer has some 50m store size combinations, making size curves critical to its daily business.

"We carry 76 different dress shirt sizes and 66 sport coat and suit sizes, and our customers range from high school students to retirees – a tremendous amount of variation in sizing and customer needs," she said. "The Aptos tool is easy to use and with it we can do size curve updates across the retail enterprise in days as opposed to the four-to-six weeks' turnaround needed with our old tool."