When an item doesn't have enough sales information to generate a quality forecast, it can be useful to copy the sales information from one item over to another. A couple examples of when to use this feature:
- When a product has an updated style or slightly changes sizes, it may be helpful to combine sales so that the new product has sales history needed to create a forecast. Combining stock (optional) factors in the old stock with the new stock.
- If you are introducing a brand new item in your store with no sales history.
- The 'Seasonal' forecast method uses the same time period in prior years as a baseline for forecasting. If there is no time period to reference, a flat average of existing periods is calculated. Combining sales in this case is useful to come up with an accurate seasonal model.
Note: The 'Top-Down' forecast method can also be used in this circumstance as long as there is enough sales history at the category level. More information on forecast methods here.
There are several ways to combine sales (and optionally stock) information in Inventory Planner. This action is similar to "copy/paste" function; where we copy the history of one item, and paste it to another item. The percentage in which sales are copied is customizable.
Method #1: Catalog > Forecast Settings
- Select the "+" icon to search for the old (source) variant. Tip: If you do not see the "+" icon, click the gear icon on the left to enable "Combine Actions" and "Combine Name" columns.
- Search and select the item.
- The item will be added, and you can specify the percentage of sales to apply to the new item (copying 75% of the old item's sales in this example). Specify the date to stop combining the sales data, and use the new item's sales only as well.
There is also an option to 'Merge Stock'. This check box should only be selected if you want the stock of the old (merged) variant added to the new (target) variant for the purposes of forecasting. This will not push stock quantity changes to your connected platform. Select Save;
Method #2: Details Icon > Forecast Settings
In the Replenishment screen using either the Variants or Bundles view, click on Details (the "i" icon) for your new variant.
Click on the tab for Forecast Settings, and scroll down to 'Combine Sales/Stock'. Use the + Add Variant button;
Note: When an old variant is removed/replaced with a new variant using the same SKU or Barcode, we combine the sales/stock automatically so that settings such as lead time, days of stock, vendor, and replenishable status carry over to the new variant.
Search for the old variant in the Filters area and select 'Apply';
The item will be added, and you can specify the percentage of sales to apply to the new item (copying 75% of the old item's sales in this example). There is also an option to 'Merge Stock'. This check box should only be selected if you want the stock of the old (merged) variant added to the new (target) variant for the purposes of forecasting. This will not push stock quantity changes to your connected platform. Select Save;
Inventory Planner will recompute and prompt to refresh the screen, then in the same area the merged sales will appear.
Note: This action does not have any impact on the old (merged) variant. If an item is being discontinued (a new variant is replacing an old one), then you should set the old variant as non-replenishable. For the new variant, Inventory Planner will add in the sales history of the old variant to create a forecast.
Import "Merged Variants" (Combine Sales/Stock using CSV)
You can import merged variants from a CSV. To do this from Replenishment, click on Import at the bottom of the screen then Merged Variants. You will need to import a CSV for each platform (ie, one import for Amazon, one import for Shopify).
The import will need two columns with column headers: 1) the new (target) SKU, and 2) the old (merged) SKU from your connected platform. As an alternative to your platform's SKU, you can use the product title, barcode, or ASIN.
Connect your first CSV by clicking on 'select file'.
Use the dropdown options for each field to make sure the correct information is matched. Finally, click Upload.
You will then see the results of your import, including information that successfully imported and an error log. Click on 'Download all errors as CSV' to see issues that need to be corrected. The number in the 'Line' column indicates the row in your spreadsheet where the error occurred.