Quick Start Guide

Lesson 2:

Departments & Merchandise Classification

User Manual Chapters to Read

Topic: Departments
Topic: The Relational Nature of the Data

Other Resources

The first step for new users is to brainstorm your Department structure. Before you do, you probably want to spend some time playing with the demo database flipping through the Styles Catalog and Departments Catalog to understand how Departments are used in XpertMart.

It is definitely worth spending a couple of days brainstorming your Departments. The better you've setup your database, the more useful it will be for you down the road. As you are thinking of which Departments to create, close your eyes and imagine looking at a sales report six months from now: what do you want to be looking at?

Most retail managers manage their stores through Departments. It is simply too time consuming to grasp all of the details of a 12,000 SKU database. Departments are a quick way to get the pulse of the business: are sales of men's formalwear suits down? why is the stock of women's casual shoes so high? and so on. Of course once you've zeroed-in on a trend that gets your attention, you will want to drill-down to the Style and Item level to understand what's going on. But Departments are your dashboard as a manager that tell you where you should focus your attention.

As you think about which Departments you want to use, you will probably want to do 2-3 rounds of brainstorming and revisions until you get the right department structure. We suggest making a document (such as an Excel or Word file) that uses Lines, Class, Subclass and Type as column headers, with your proposed structure. Once you have a structure that  you think makes sense, walk around your store and pull out random samples of your merchandise. What Department would they fit in under? This kind of reality check is invaluable and usually turns up errors in logic or points to Subclasses or Types that still need to be created.

Don't worry about actually entering your Departments into XpertMart now: that will be covered in a future lesson. For now just make sure you have Departments that make sense for your business.

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