This article will help you to set up, update and maintain your store or category-based clusters using the Cluster Maintenance feature of the DotActiv software.
Category-based clustering can be implemented when you want to group together different stores with similar customer bases for a particular product category.
Setting Up Clusters
To get started, open the DotActiv software, click on the ‘Clustering’ tab on the toolbar and select the ‘Cluster Maintenance’ option.
Step 1: Once you have clicked on the ‘Cluster Maintenance’ icon, the screen below will appear. The left side allows you to create a new cluster plan and the right side allows you to edit existing cluster plans.
To set up a new cluster plan, you must select the fields to display in your cluster plan. You can also add filters to include or exclude certain data. Thereafter, select the data period that will be used when retrieving any selected fact information into your cluster plans.
Please note that once you have set up Steps 2, 3 and 4, it will not have to be completed each time as they are saved configurations. However, these can be changed at any time.
Step 2: You can set up the fields by clicking on ‘Field Setup’. You can select the market or fact fields you would like to include in your cluster table by double-clicking them or selecting the field and clicking on the forward arrow.
To remove a field, double-click it or select it and click the backward arrow.
Step 3: You can set up the filters by clicking ‘Filter Setup’. At this point, you will select a field name, operation, and value to apply a filter.
Please note that it is important to have the store code populated when doing a clustering exercise.
Step 4: You can set up the time period by clicking ‘Period Setup’. You can check the boxes of the months you would like to include in your cluster plan. We recommend a minimum of six months.
Step 5: Once you have completed the setup, select your stores and click ‘Run’ to generate the cluster plan, as seen in the image below.
Selecting Stores When Running The Cluster Plan
When you would like to run a cluster plan for a particular category, you may want to select certain stores to include, as highlighted in the image above. At this step, you can either select ‘All Stores’ (excluding DCs), ‘All Stores (including DCs)’ or ‘Filtered Selection’ which refers to a custom list of stores. This may be because you only want to work with a certain cluster, store format or selection of stores.
To select certain stores, click on the ‘Filtered Selection’ button. You can then choose to filter your stores by category format, the number of drops, cluster detail, geographic location, store detail, trading detail and user fields.
Based on the section you select, you will need to choose a column and field that is applicable. Once you have made these selections, a list of stores that fit the criteria will appear in the box alongside the selection criteria where you can tick each store that you would like to run a cluster plan for.
Selecting Categories When Running The Cluster Plan
As seen in the image above, when you would like to select the category to work with you will need to select a merchandise group first, followed by the department. This will show a list of all applicable categories and allow you to select one or more to add to the cluster plan.
Updating And Maintaining Clusters
Step 1: You also have the option to edit or update the cluster plan once it has been generated.
Clusters can be utilised in store-specific and cluster formats at the same time. Typically within a retail store, stores that fall into the same cluster receive a national range. Stores that receive a store-specific range are marked with their store code or store name.
Step 2: When you want to update the cluster plan, double click a section that you would like to edit and input the new information. This section will appear in red until the cluster plan is updated to the database or the cluster is saved.
For example, if you are changing the number of drops allocated to a certain store, you can simply click on the relevant box and type in the new value. The updated value will appear in red until the cluster plan is updated to the database or the cluster is saved.
If you would like to revert your changes, click on the ‘Refresh From DB’ button in the ‘File’ section.
Step 3: Cluster Maintenance allows you to view different column options to facilitate a detailed cluster plan. You can right-click on the table and tick the boxes that you would like to appear on your cluster plan.
Step 4: Once you have edited your cluster plan, you can update the cluster on the database and/or save the cluster plan.
After setting up your clusters, you are now able to use Range Optimizer to determine the range for each cluster. See how to set up a new range through Range Optimizer here.
Should the above steps not work for you, please create a support ticket and the DotActiv support team will assist you in uncovering the issue.