Canadian Patents Database / Patent 2798627 Summary

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(12) Patent Application: (11) CA 2798627
(54) English Title: AUTOMATED MAPPING OF PRODUCT ADJACENCY GROUPS WITH TRANSITION SUMMARY REPORTING
(54) French Title: PRODUCTION AUTOMATISEE DE CARTES DE GROUPES DE PRODUITS ADJACENTS AVEC RAPPORT SOMMAIRE DE TRANSITION
(51) International Patent Classification (IPC):
  • G06Q 30/02 (2012.01)
(72) Inventors :
  • HATHAWAY, PATRICIA (United States of America)
  • JOHNSON, DEREK (United States of America)
  • FAULKENBERG, STACEY (United States of America)
(73) Owners :
  • TARGET BRANDS, INC. (United States of America)
(71) Applicants :
  • TARGET BRANDS, INC. (United States of America)
(74) Agent: GOWLING WLG (CANADA) LLP
(74) Associate agent:
(45) Issued:
(22) Filed Date: 2012-12-17
(41) Open to Public Inspection: 2013-02-22
Examination requested: 2012-12-17
(30) Availability of licence: N/A
(30) Language of filing: English

(30) Application Priority Data:
Application No. Country/Territory Date
13/452,599 United States of America 2012-04-20

English Abstract



A system for generating a product subgroup map for a product adjacency group
with
transition summary reporting is disclosed. In one example, a user interface is
configured for
presenting data on product subgroups and receiving user inputs for user-
editable mapping
criteria for mapping the product subgroups. The user interface has user-
selectable options for
editing and assigning priority values to the mapping criteria of the product
subgroups. The
system generates a combined set of mapping criteria for the user-selected
product subgroups
based on the user-edited mapping criteria and non-user-editable mapping
criteria. The
system generates a product subgroup map based on the combined set of mapping
criteria and
a set of physical store layout data for at least one store, and provides a
graphical output of the
product subgroup map. The system generates a report for the product subgroup
map for the
product adjacency group.

Note: Claims are shown in the official language in which they were submitted.


CLAIMS
What is claimed is:

1. A method for generating a product subgroup map with a computing system, the
method comprising:

providing a user interface configured for presenting data on product subgroups
for a
product adjacency group and receiving user inputs associated with user-
editable mapping
criteria for mapping the product subgroups in the product adjacency group;
configuring the user interface with indications of the product subgroups that
are user-
selectable for editing the user-editable mapping criteria of the product
subgroups;
receiving one or more user inputs indicating one or more user-selected product
subgroups from among the product subgroups;
configuring the user interface with user-selectable options for editing the
user-
editable mapping criteria of the product subgroups, and for assigning priority
values to the
user-editable mapping criteria;
receiving one or more user inputs for each of the user-editable mapping
criteria;
generating a combined set of mapping criteria for the one or more user-
selected
product subgroups based on the one or more user inputs for each of the user-
editable
mapping criteria and one or more non-user-editable mapping criteria stored in
a mapping
rules data store;
generating a product subgroup map for the one or more user-selected product
subgroups based on the combined set of mapping criteria for the one or more
user-selected
product subgroups and a set of physical store layout data for at least one
store;
providing a graphical output of the product subgroup map for the product
adjacency
group; and
generating a report for the product subgroup map for the product adjacency
group.
53


2. The method of claim 1, wherein generating the report for the product
subgroup map
comprises:
combining information on the product subgroup map with information on previous
product subgroup maps for the product adjacency group.

3. The method of claim 1, wherein generating the report for the product
subgroup map
comprises:
tracking a number of times a product subgroup map has been generated for the
at
least one store; and
configuring the user interface to provide indications of the number of times a
product
subgroup map has been generated for the at least one store

4. The method of claim 1, wherein the at least one store comprises a plurality
of stores,
the method further comprising:
configuring the user interface with user-selectable indications of a plurality
of stores;
generating a plurality of product subgroup maps for the one or more user-
selected
product subgroups for each of the plurality of store layouts associated with
each store of the
plurality of the stores as selected by the user inputs, based on the combined
set of mapping
criteria for the one or more user-selected product subgroups and a set of
physical store layout
data for each store of the plurality of stores; and
providing a graphical output of the plurality of product subgroup maps for the
product
adjacency group for each of the plurality of store layouts.

5. The method of claim 4, further comprising:
combining information on the product subgroup map with information on previous
product subgroup maps for the product adjacency group;
tracking a number of times a product subgroup map has been generated for each
store
of the plurality of stores; and
configuring the user interface to provide indications of the number of times a
product
subgroup map has been generated for each store of the plurality of stores.

54


6. The method of claim 5, further comprising:
organizing groups of the stores by the number of times a product subgroup map
has
been generated for each of the plurality of stores.

7. The method of claim 6, further comprising:
displaying the groups of the stores in order by the number of times a product
subgroup map has been generated for each of the plurality of stores.

8. The method of claim 1, wherein generating the report for the product
subgroup map
comprises:
displaying failures or exceptions to one or more of the subgroup mapping
criteria.
9. The method of claim 8, further comprising:
for each of the failures or exceptions to the subgroup mapping criteria,
displaying a
strategy to which that subgroup mapping criterion belongs.

10. The method of claim 9, further comprising:
for each of the failures or exceptions to the subgroup mapping criteria,
displaying a
strategy priority of the strategy to which that subgroup mapping criterion
belongs.

11. The method of claim 8, further comprising:
for each of the failures or exceptions to the subgroup mapping criteria,
displaying a
number of stores to which the failure or exception is applicable.

12. The method of claim 8, further comprising:
for each of the failures or exceptions to the subgroup mapping criteria,
displaying a
list of the particular stores to which the failure or exception is applicable.



13. A computing system comprising:
one or more processors;

one or more computer-readable tangible storage devices;
a display device;
a user input device;
program instructions, stored on at least one of the one or more computer-
readable
tangible storage devices, to provide a user interface configured for
presenting data on product
subgroups for a product adjacency group and receiving user inputs associated
with user-
editable mapping criteria for mapping the product subgroups in the product
adjacency group;
program instructions, stored on at least one of the one or more computer-
readable
tangible storage devices, to configure the user interface with indications of
the product
subgroups that are user-selectable for editing the user-editable mapping
criteria of the
product subgroups;
program instructions, stored on at least one of the one or more computer-
readable
tangible storage devices, to receive one or more user inputs indicating one or
more user-
selected product subgroups from among the product subgroups;
program instructions, stored on at least one of the one or more computer-
readable
tangible storage devices, to configure the user interface with user-selectable
options for
editing the user-editable mapping criteria of the product subgroups, and for
assigning priority
values to the user-editable mapping criteria;
program instructions, stored on at least one of the one or more computer-
readable
tangible storage devices, to receive one or more user inputs for each of the
user-editable
mapping criteria;

program instructions, stored on at least one of the one or more computer-
readable
tangible storage devices, to generate a combined set of mapping criteria for
the one or more
user-selected product subgroups based on the one or more user inputs for each
of the user-
editable mapping criteria and one or more non-user-editable mapping criteria
stored in a
mapping rules data store;
program instructions, stored on at least one of the one or more computer-
readable
tangible storage devices, to generate a product subgroup map for the one or
more user-
selected product subgroups based on the combined set of mapping criteria for
the one or

56


more user-selected product subgroups and a set of physical store layout data
for at least one
store;
program instructions, stored on at least one of the one or more computer-
readable
tangible storage devices, to provide a graphical output of the product
subgroup map for the
product adjacency group; and
program instructions, stored on at least one of the one or more computer-
readable
tangible storage devices, to generate a report for the product subgroup map
for the product
adjacency group.

14. The computing system of claim 13, further comprising:
program instructions, stored on at least one of the one or more computer-
readable
tangible storage devices, to combine information on the product subgroup map
with
information on previous product subgroup maps for the product adjacency group;
program instructions, stored on at least one of the one or more computer-
readable
tangible storage devices, to track a number of times a product subgroup map
has been
generated for the at least one store; and
program instructions, stored on at least one of the one or more computer-
readable
tangible storage devices, to configure the user interface to provide
indications of the number
of times a product subgroup map has been generated for the at least one store.

57



15. The computing system of claim 13, further comprising:
program instructions, stored on at least one of the one or more computer-
readable
tangible storage devices, to configure the user interface with user-selectable
indications of a
plurality of stores;

program instructions, stored on at least one of the one or more computer-
readable
tangible storage devices, to generate a plurality of product subgroup maps for
the one or
more user-selected product subgroups for each of the plurality of store
layouts associated
with each store of the plurality of the stores as selected by the user inputs,
based on the
combined set of mapping criteria for the one or more user-selected product
subgroups and a
set of physical store layout data for each store of the plurality of stores;
and
program instructions, stored on at least one of the one or more computer-
readable
tangible storage devices, to provide a graphical output of the plurality of
product subgroup
maps for the product adjacency group for each of the plurality of store
layouts.

16. The computing system of claim 13, further comprising:
program instructions, stored on at least one of the one or more computer-
readable
tangible storage devices, to display failures or exceptions to one or more of
the subgroup
mapping criteria;
program instructions, stored on at least one of the one or more computer-
readable
tangible storage devices, to display, for each of the failures or exceptions
to the subgroup
mapping criteria, a strategy to which that subgroup mapping criterion belongs;
program instructions, stored on at least one of the one or more computer-
readable
tangible storage devices, to display, for each of the failures or exceptions
to the subgroup
mapping criteria, a strategy priority of the strategy to which that subgroup
mapping criterion
belongs;
program instructions, stored on at least one of the one or more computer-
readable
tangible storage devices, to display, for each of the failures or exceptions
to the subgroup
mapping criteria, a number of stores to which the failure or exception is
applicable; and
program instructions, stored on at least one of the one or more computer-
readable
tangible storage devices, to display, for each of the failures or exceptions
to the subgroup
mapping criteria, a list of the particular stores to which the failure or
exception is applicable.


58



17. A computer program product comprising:
one or more computer-readable tangible storage devices;
program instructions, stored on at least one of the one or more computer-
readable tangible
storage devices, to provide a user interface configured for presenting data on
product
subgroups for a product adjacency group and receiving user inputs associated
with user-
editable mapping criteria for mapping the product subgroups in the product
adjacency group;
program instructions, stored on at least one of the one or more computer-
readable
tangible storage devices, to configure the user interface with indications of
the product
subgroups that are user-selectable for editing the user-editable mapping
criteria of the
product subgroups;

program instructions, stored on at least one of the one or more computer-
readable
tangible storage devices, to receive one or more user inputs indicating one or
more user-
selected product subgroups from among the product subgroups;
program instructions, stored on at least one of the one or more computer-
readable
tangible storage devices, to configure the user interface with user-selectable
options for
editing the user-editable mapping criteria of the product subgroups, and for
assigning priority
values to the user-editable mapping criteria;
program instructions, stored on at least one of the one or more computer-
readable
tangible storage devices, to receive one or more user inputs for each of the
user-editable
mapping criteria;

program instructions, stored on at least one of the one or more computer-
readable
tangible storage devices, to generate a combined set of mapping criteria for
the one or more
user-selected product subgroups based on the one or more user inputs for each
of the user-
editable mapping criteria and one or more non-user-editable mapping criteria
stored in a
mapping rules data store;

program instructions, stored on at least one of the one or more computer-
readable
tangible storage devices, to generate a product subgroup map for the one or
more user-
selected product subgroups based on the combined set of mapping criteria for
the one or
more user-selected product subgroups and a set of physical store layout data
for at least one
store;


59



program instructions, stored on at least one of the one or more computer-
readable
tangible storage devices, to provide a graphical output of the product
subgroup map for the
product adjacency group; and
program instructions, stored on at least one of the one or more computer-
readable
tangible storage devices, to generate a report for the product subgroup map
and previous
product subgroup maps for the product adjacency group.

18. The computer program product of claim 17, further comprising:
program instructions, stored on at least one of the one or more computer-
readable
tangible storage devices, to combine information on the product subgroup map
with
information on previous product subgroup maps for the product adjacency group;
program instructions, stored on at least one of the one or more computer-
readable
tangible storage devices, to track a number of times a product subgroup map
has been
generated for the at least one store; and
program instructions, stored on at least one of the one or more computer-
readable
tangible storage devices, to configure the user interface to provide
indications of the number
of times a product subgroup map has been generated for the at least one store.

19. The computer program product of claim 17, further comprising:
program instructions, stored on at least one of the one or more computer-
readable
tangible storage devices, to configure the user interface with user-selectable
indications of a
plurality of stores;
program instructions, stored on at least one of the one or more computer-
readable
tangible storage devices, to generate a plurality of product subgroup maps for
the one or
more user-selected product subgroups for each of the plurality of store
layouts associated
with each store of the plurality of the stores as selected by the user inputs,
based on the
combined set of mapping criteria for the one or more user-selected product
subgroups and a
set of physical store layout data for each store of the plurality of stores;
and
program instructions, stored on at least one of the one or more computer-
readable
tangible storage devices, to provide a graphical output of the plurality of
product subgroup
maps for the product adjacency group for each of the plurality of store
layouts.





20. The computer program product of claim 17, further comprising:
program instructions, stored on at least one of the one or more computer-
readable
tangible storage devices, to display failures or exceptions to one or more of
the subgroup
mapping criteria;
program instructions, stored on at least one of the one or more computer-
readable
tangible storage devices, to display, for each of the failures or exceptions
to the subgroup
mapping criteria, a strategy to which that subgroup mapping criterion belongs;
program instructions, stored on at least one of the one or more computer-
readable
tangible storage devices, to display, for each of the failures or exceptions
to the subgroup
mapping criteria, a strategy priority of the strategy to which that subgroup
mapping criterion
belongs;
program instructions, stored on at least one of the one or more computer-
readable
tangible storage devices, to display, for each of the failures or exceptions
to the subgroup
mapping criteria, a number of stores to which the failure or exception is
applicable; and
program instructions, stored on at least one of the one or more computer-
readable
tangible storage devices, to display, for each of the failures or exceptions
to the subgroup
mapping criteria, a list of the particular stores to which the failure or
exception is applicable.


61

Note: Descriptions are shown in the official language in which they were submitted.


CA 02798627 2012-12-17

Docket No.: 201105883
AUTOMATED MAPPING OF PRODUCT ADJACENCY GROUPS WITH
TRANSITION SUMMARY REPORTING

TECHNICAL FIELD

[00011 This disclosure relates to merchandising, and more particularly, to
software for
automating aspects of organizing product placement in retail stores.

BACKGROUND
[00021 Modern large retail stores provide a great variety of products, such as
tens of
thousands of different products at one time. Planning the physical arrangement
of all of these
products in a store, which may be referred to as "merchandise presentation
planning", may be
a complex and arduous task. How all of these products are physically arranged
in the store
may make a great difference in whether customers can easily find what they're
looking for,
how they make shopping decisions, what they end up purchasing, how they enjoy
their
overall shopping experience, and how their shopping habits are shaped. How all
of the
products are physically arranged in the store may therefore also make a great
difference in
margins and profits.
[00031 Besides the large number of products by itself, many additional factors
further
complicate the process of merchandise presentation planning. A retail
enterprise may have
many store locations with different sizes, dimensions, and features, so that a
merchandise
presentation plan generated for one store's layout may be inapplicable to a
different store,
which may have very different size, layout, or architectural constraints.
Additionally, product
vendors typically often update or retire products and introduce new products.
The retail
enterprise may regularly analyze sales patterns and market shifts and decide
to cancel
product lines, decrease or increase the amount of inventory and shelf space to
devote to
different product lines, or begin carrying new product lines. The retail
enterprise may also
shift its product mix at different times of year, including to carry summer
clothing and winter
clothing at the appropriate times, to carry other seasonal-related products at
the appropriate
times such as shovels in the winter and sunscreen in the summer, and to carry
holiday-related
items leading up to various holidays. The retail enterprise may also cater to
different
regionally varying market demands with products that are particularly in
demand in certain

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CA 02798627 2012-12-17

Docket No.: 201105883
geographical regions. These factors all contribute further complexity to the
process of
merchandise presentation planning across retail stores for a retail
enterprise.

SUMMARY
[0004] In general, this disclosure is directed to methods, computing systems,
and software
for automating the process of merchandise presentation planning, including
across numerous
stores in a retail enterprise. An automated merchandise presentation planning
system uses
detailed data on products and product category groups and subgroups;
merchandise planning
rules, strategies, and goals; and the physical layout of the stores and the
gondolas, shelves,
and other merchandise presentation structures throughout each of the stores.
The automated
merchandise presentation planning system provides a user interface for a
merchandise
presentation planning process that the user can enter or modify a merchandise
presentation
plan, including by entering different priority levels to different merchandise
planning rules,
strategies, and goals. The automated merchandise presentation planning system
then
automatically generates new merchandise presentation maps that balance the
various
merchandise planning rules, strategies, and goals, both permanent and those
entered by the
user, within the constraints of the physical layout of the stores, in
accordance with the
different priority levels indicated, again both permanent priority levels and
those entered by
the user. The automated merchandise presentation planning system may perform
this process
for each of a number of different store layouts for any number of stores
selected by the user.
The automated merchandise presentation planning system may thereby implement
the goals
of the retail enterprise and its users rapidly and consistently, while
automating a great deal of
the process.
[0005] In one example, a method for generating a product subgroup map with a
computing
system includes providing a user interface configured for presenting data on
product
subgroups for a product adjacency group and receiving user inputs associated
with user-
editable mapping criteria for mapping the product subgroups in the product
adjacency group.
The method further includes configuring the user interface with indications of
the product
subgroups that are user-selectable for editing the user-editable mapping
criteria of the
product subgroups. The method further includes receiving one or more user
inputs indicating
one or more user-selected product subgroups from among the product subgroups.
The

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Docket No.: 201105883
method further includes configuring the user interface with user-selectable
options for editing
the user-editable mapping criteria of the product subgroups, and for assigning
priority values
to the user-editable mapping criteria. The method further includes receiving
one or more
user inputs for each of the user-editable mapping criteria. The method further
includes
generating a combined set of mapping criteria for the one or more user-
selected product
subgroups based on the one or more user inputs for each of the user-editable
mapping criteria
and one or more non-user-editable mapping criteria stored in a mapping rules
data store,
wherein the one or more non-user-editable mapping criteria comprise a
persistence criterion
that places a high priority on persisting product subgroup mapping positions
from a previous
product subgroup map for the product subgroup. The method further includes
generating a
product subgroup map for the one or more user-selected product subgroups based
on the
combined set of mapping criteria for the one or more user-selected product
subgroups and a
set of physical store layout data for at least one store. The method further
includes providing
a graphical output of the product subgroup map for the product adjacency
group. The
method further includes generating a report for the product subgroup map for
the product
adjacency group.
[00061 Another example of this disclosure is directed to a computing system
that includes
one or more processors, one or more computer-readable tangible storage
devices, a display
device, a user input device, and program instructions stored on at least one
of the one or more
computer-readable tangible storage devices. The computing system includes
program
instructions to provide a user interface configured for presenting data on
product subgroups
for a product adjacency group and receiving user inputs associated with user-
editable
mapping criteria for mapping the product subgroups in the product adjacency
group. The
computing system further includes program instructions to configure the user
interface with
indications of the product subgroups that are user-selectable for editing the
user-editable
mapping criteria of the product subgroups. The computing system further
includes program
instructions to receive one or more user inputs indicating one or more user-
selected product
subgroups from among the product subgroups. The computing system further
includes
program instructions to configure the user interface with user-selectable
options for editing
the user-editable mapping criteria of the product subgroups, and for assigning
priority values
to the user-editable mapping criteria. The computing system further includes
program

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Docket No.: 201105883
instructions to receive one or more user inputs for each of the user-editable
mapping criteria.
The computing system further includes program instructions to generate a
combined set of
mapping criteria for the one or more user-selected product subgroups based on
the one or
more user inputs for each of the user-editable mapping criteria and one or
more non-user-
editable mapping criteria stored in a mapping rules data store. The computing
system further
includes program instructions to generate a product subgroup map for the one
or more user-
selected product subgroups based on the combined set of mapping criteria for
the one or
more user-selected product subgroups and a set of physical store layout data
for at least one
store. The computing system further includes program instructions to provide a
graphical
output of the product subgroup map for the product adjacency group. The
computing system
further includes program instructions to generate a report for the product
subgroup map for
the product adjacency group.
[0007] Another example of this disclosure is directed to a computer program
product that
includes one or more computer-readable tangible storage devices, and program
instructions
stored on at least one of the one or more computer-readable tangible storage
devices. The
computer program product includes program instructions to provide a user
interface
configured for presenting data on product subgroups for a product adjacency
group and
receiving user inputs associated with user-editable mapping criteria for
mapping the product
subgroups in the product adjacency group. The computer program product further
includes
program instructions to configure the user interface with indications of the
product subgroups
that are user-selectable for editing the user-editable mapping criteria of the
product
subgroups. The computer program product further includes program instructions
to receive
one or more user inputs indicating one or more user-selected product subgroups
from among
the product subgroups. The computer program product further includes program
instructions
to configure the user interface with user-selectable options for editing the
user-editable
mapping criteria of the product subgroups, and for assigning priority values
to the user-
editable mapping criteria. The computer program product further includes
program
instructions to receive one or more user inputs for each of the user-editable
mapping criteria.
The computer program product further includes program instructions to generate
a combined
set of mapping criteria for the one or more user-selected product subgroups
based on the one
or more user inputs for each of the user-editable mapping criteria and one or
more non-user-

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Docket No.: 201105883
editable mapping criteria stored in a mapping rules data store. The computer
program
product further includes program instructions to generate a product subgroup
map for the one
or more user-selected product subgroups based on the combined set of mapping
criteria for
the one or more user-selected product subgroups and a set of physical store
layout data for at
least one store. The computer program product further includes program
instructions to
provide a graphical output of the product subgroup map for the product
adjacency group.
The computer program product further includes program instructions to generate
a report for
the product subgroup map and previous product subgroup maps for the product
adjacency
group.
[00081 The details of one or more embodiments of this disclosure are set forth
in the
accompanying drawings and the description below. Other features, objects, and
advantages
of the disclosure will be apparent from the description and drawings, and from
the claims.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF DRAWINGS

[00091 FIG. 1 is a block diagram illustrating an example of an adjacency
mapping system
that implements techniques of this disclosure.
[00101 FIG. 2 is a block diagram illustrating an example of the adjacency
mapping system of
FIG. 1 within the context of an extended enterprise computing system.
[00111 FIG. 3 is a block diagram illustrating an example implementation of a
server device
that implements an adjacency mapping system in accordance with aspects of this
disclosure.
[0012] FIG. 4 is a block diagram illustrating an example implementation of a
client
computing device that implements a user interface for an adjacency mapping
system in
accordance with aspects of this disclosure.
[0013] FIG. 5 is a graphical output representing physical store layout data
for a store, that
may be provided in a user interface for an adjacency mapping system in
accordance with
aspects of this disclosure.
100141 FIG. 6 is a graphical output representing physical store layout data
for a portion of a
store, that may be provided in a user interface for an adjacency mapping
system in
accordance with aspects of this disclosure.
[00151 FIG. 7 is a graphical output of a product subgroup map for a product
adjacency group
within the store layout of a store, that may be provided in a user interface
for a visual



CA 02798627 2012-12-17

Docket No.: 201105883
merchandising tool (VMT) module of an adjacency mapping system in accordance
with
aspects of this disclosure.
[0016] FIG. 8 is a graphical output of an aspect of a user interface for
single subgroup
mapping with a transition center (TC) module of an adjacency mapping system in
accordance
with aspects of this disclosure.
[0017] FIG. 9 is a graphical output of an aspect of a user interface for a
subgroup mapping
summary with a transition center (TC) module of an adjacency mapping system in
accordance with aspects of this disclosure.
[0018] FIG 10 is a graphical output of an aspect of a user interface for store
assignment add
and remove with a transition center (TC) module of an adjacency mapping system
in
accordance with aspects of this disclosure.
[0019] FIG 11 is a graphical output of an aspect of a user interface for store
assignment with
a transition center (TC) module of an adjacency mapping system in accordance
with aspects
of this disclosure.
[0020] FIG. 12 is a graphical output of an aspect of a user interface for a
shops and sub-shops
feature in a transition center (TC) module of an adjacency mapping system in
accordance
with aspects of this disclosure.
[0021] FIG. 13 is a graphical output of an aspect of a user interface for a
shops and sub-shops
feature in a transition center (TC) module of an adjacency mapping system in
accordance
with aspects of this disclosure.
[0022] FIG 14 is a graphical output of an aspect of a user interface for a
merchandising grid
(MG) module of an adjacency mapping system in accordance with aspects of this
disclosure.
[0023] FIG. 15 is a graphical output of an aspect of a user interface for a
subgroup
assignment function of a merchandising grid (MG) module of an adjacency
mapping system
in accordance with aspects of this disclosure.
[0024] FIG 16 is a graphical output of an aspect of a user interface for a
store assignment
function of a merchandising grid (MG) module of an adjacency mapping system in
accordance with aspects of this disclosure.
[0025] FIG 17 is a graphical output of an aspect of a user interface for a
strategy assignment
function of a merchandising grid (MG) module of an adjacency mapping system in
accordance with aspects of this disclosure.

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[0026] FIG 18 is a graphical output of an aspect of a user interface for a
strategy defining
function of a merchandising grid (MG) module of an adjacency mapping system in
accordance with aspects of this disclosure.
[0027] FIG. 19 is a graphical output of an aspect of a user interface for a
subgroup footage
defining function of a merchandising grid (MG) module of an adjacency mapping
system in
accordance with aspects of this disclosure.
[0028] FIG 20 is a graphical output of an aspect of a user interface for an
action sequence
defining function of a merchandising grid (MG) module of an adjacency mapping
system in
accordance with aspects of this disclosure.
[0029] FIG. 21 is a graphical output of an aspect of a user interface for a
flow sequence
defining function of a merchandising grid (MG) module of an adjacency mapping
system in
accordance with aspects of this disclosure.
[0030] FIG 22 is a graphical output of an aspect of a user interface for a
strategy priority
assignment function of a merchandising grid (MG) module of an adjacency
mapping system
in accordance with aspects of this disclosure.
[0031] FIG. 23 is a graphical output of an aspect of a user interface for
activating a rules
maintenance application (RMA) module of an adjacency mapping system in
accordance with
aspects of this disclosure.
[0032] FIG 24 is a graphical output of an aspect of a user interface for a
rule set creation
function in a rules maintenance application (RMA) module of an adjacency
mapping system
in accordance with aspects of this disclosure.
[0033] FIG 25 is a graphical output of an aspect of a user interface for a
strategy selection
function of a rules maintenance application (RMA) module of an adjacency
mapping system
in accordance with aspects of this disclosure.
[0034] FIG. 26 is a graphical output of an aspect of a user interface for a
rule creation
function in a rules maintenance application (RMA) module of an adjacency
mapping system
in accordance with aspects of this disclosure.
[0035] FIG 27 is a graphical output of an aspect of a user interface for
creating an automated
store merchandising (ASM) run in an ASM module of an adjacency mapping system
in
accordance with aspects of this disclosure.

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[0036] FIG. 28 is a graphical output of an aspect of a user interface for a
store selection
function in an automated store merchandising (ASM) module of an adjacency
mapping
system in accordance with aspects of this disclosure.
[0037] FIG. 29 is a graphical output of aspects of persistence logic for an
automated store
merchandising (ASM) module of an adjacency mapping system in accordance with
aspects
of this disclosure.
[0038] FIG. 30 is a graphical output of an aspect of a user interface for
automated store
merchandising (ASM) runs in an ASM module of an adjacency mapping system in
accordance with aspects of this disclosure.
[0039] FIG 31 is a graphical output of an aspect of a user interface for a
reporting feature for
an automated store merchandising (ASM) module of an adjacency mapping system
in
accordance with aspects of this disclosure.
[0040] FIG. 32 is a graphical output of an aspect of a user interface for a
transition reporting
feature for an adjacency mapping system in accordance with aspects of this
disclosure.
[0041] FIG. 33 is a graphical output of an aspect of a user interface for a
reporting feature for
an automated store merchandising (ASM) module of an adjacency mapping system
in
accordance with aspects of this disclosure.
[0042] FIG 34 is a graphical output of an aspect of a user interface for a
store status function
of a transition center (TC) module of an adjacency mapping system in
accordance with
aspects of this disclosure.
[0043] FIG. 35 is a graphical output of an aspect of a user interface for a
search function with
a visual merchandising tool (VMT) module of an adjacency mapping system in
accordance
with aspects of this disclosure.
[0044] FIG. 36 is a graphical output of an aspect of a user interface for
search results with a
visual merchandising tool (VMT) module of an adjacency mapping system in
accordance
with aspects of this disclosure.
[0045] FIG. 37 is a graphical output of a product subgroup map for an
automatically
merchandised product adjacency group within the store layout of a store, that
may be
provided in a user interface for a visual merchandising tool (VMT) module of
an adjacency
mapping system in accordance with aspects of this disclosure.
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[0046] FIG. 38 is a flowchart illustrating an example method of operation of
an adjacency
mapping system of this disclosure.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

[0047] As used throughout this disclosure, headings are included to improve
the clarity of the
disclosure and are not necessarily used to define separate embodiments. In
some examples,
features of various embodiments may be combined and/or used from among
contents
discussed under multiple headings in accordance with aspects of the present
disclosure.
[0048] FIG. 1: System overview
[00491 FIG. 1 is a block diagram illustrating an example of an adjacency
mapping system 10
that implements various techniques of this disclosure, including for automated
mapping of
product subgroups in adjacency groups. As shown in FIG. 1, adjacency mapping
system 10
includes client computing device 12 and server device 20 connected through
network 18, so
that a user 11 is enabled to use client computing device 12 to interact with
services provided
by server device 20, such as from a web application. Client application 14
runs on client
running computing device 12 and provides a subgroup mapping transition user
interface 16,
which provides information to user 11 and receives user inputs from user 11.
Server device
20 hosts a web server 22 with one or more web applications running on it,
which may include
and/or have access to various modules 24 and data stores 26.
[0050] Modules 24 include an automated store merchandising (ASM) module 30, a
subgroup
mapping transition center (TC) module 32, a merchandising grid (MG) module 36,
a visual
merchandising tool (VMT) module 40, and a rules maintenance application (RMA)
module
44, in this example. Modules 24 may be or include separate applications,
libraries, or
objects, or software modules of a single web application. Modules 24 may
interact with each
other and with data stores 26. TC module 32 may interact with and give user 11
operative
access to each of ASM module 30, MG module 36, VMT module 40, and RMA module
44,
in the example of FIG. 1. In general, adjacency mapping system 10 is
configured to enable
user 11 to gain information and enter inputs about product adjacency groups,
and to generate
product subgroup maps for product adjacency groups in accordance with
techniques
disclosed herein. Various aspects of adjacency mapping system 10 and the
functions that
each of TC module 32 may interact with and give user 11 operative access to
each of ASM

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module 30, MG module 36, VMT module 40, and RMA module 44 perform as part of
adjacency mapping system 10 are further detailed below.
[0051] Data stores 26 include product data store 38, store layout data store
42, and mapping
rules data store 44 in the example of FIG. 1. ASM module 30 may access product
data store
38, which may be configured to store information about a number of products,
which may
include a wide variety of data about potentially thousands or tens or hundreds
of thousands of
different products at one time. VMT module 40 may access store layout data
store 42, which
may be configured to store detailed data on physical store layout, including
architectural
plans, and locations and dimensions of walls, shelves, racks, and other
merchandising
fixtures. RMA module may access mapping rules data store 46, which includes
data on
product categorization such as into one or more of departments, adjacency
groups, shops,
sub-shops, and product subgroups, and rules and criteria for product
merchandising such as
for product subgroup mapping within a product adjacency group.
[0052] Product data store 38, store layout data store 42, and mapping rules
data store 44
(collectively, "data stores 26") may each include a standard or proprietary
database or other
data storage and retrieval mechanism. Data stores 26 may each be implemented
in software,
hardware, and combinations of both. For example, data stores 26 may each
include
proprietary database software stored on one of a variety of storage mediums on
a data storage
server connected to server device 20 and configured to send data to and
collect data from
server device 20. Storage mediums included in or employed in cooperation with
data stores
26 may include, e.g., any volatile, non-volatile, magnetic, optical, or
electrical media, such as
a random access memory (RAM), read-only memory (ROM), non-volatile RAM
(NVRAM),
electrically-erasable programmable ROM (EEPROM), flash memory, or any other
digital
media.
[0053] In various examples, server device 20 and client computing device 12
may be
communicatively connected via a network 18. The network 18 may include one or
more
terrestrial and/or satellite networks interconnected to provide a means of
communicatively
connecting server device 20 and client computing device 12. For example, the
network 18
may include an enterprise intranet, a private or public local area network, or
a wide area
network, including, for example, the Internet. The network 18 may include both
wired and
wireless communications according to one or more standards and/or via one or
more



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transport mediums. For example, the network may include wireless
communications
according to one of the 802.11 or Bluetooth specification sets, or another
standard or
proprietary wireless communication protocol. The network 18 may also include
communications over a terrestrial cellular network, including, e.g. a GSM
(Global System for
Mobile Communications), CDMA (Code Division Multiple Access), EDGE (Enhanced
Data
for Global Evolution) network. Data transmitted over the network 18, e.g.,
between server
device 20 and client computing device 12, may be formatted in accordance with
a variety of
different communications protocols. For example, all or a portion of the
network may be a
packet-based, Internet Protocol (IP) network that communicates data between
server device
20 and client computing device 12 in Transmission Control Protocol/Internet
Protocol
(TCP/IP) packets, over, e.g., Ethernet via Category 5 cables.
[0054] Server device 20 and client computing device 12 may include any number
of different
computing devices. For example, server device 20 and client computing device
12 may
include networked computing devices that include network communication
elements
configured to send and receive data via a network. Examples of client device
12 include
desktop computers, tablet computers, laptop computers, cellular phones, or
other portable,
non-portable, or mobile devices. While the example of FIG. I illustratively
depicts one
server device 20 and one client computing device 12, other examples may
include a number
of co-located or distributed computing devices configured in accordance with
techniques of
this disclosure.
[0055] FIG. 2: Overview of extended system
[0056] FIG. 2 is a block diagram illustrating an example of the adjacency
mapping system 10
of FIG. 1 within the context of an extended enterprise computing system l OB.
User 11,
client computing device 12, and server device 20 may be associated with an
enterprise
headquarters 21 or management of a retail enterprise. User 11 may use
transition user
interface 16 provided by client application 14 running on computing system IOB
as part of a
merchandising management function at or associated with enterprise
headquarters 21.
Modules 24 and data stores 26 may be hosted by servers belonging to, located
at, associated
with, or in cooperation with enterprise headquarters 21, and which may
illustratively include
server device 20. Server device 20 running modules 24 with access to data
stores 26 may
host a product subgroup mapping transition center session 34 as part of a web
application

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that user 11 interacts with by way of transition center user interface 16
running on client
computing device 12, in this example.
[0057] Network 18 may include an enterprise intranet and/or the Internet, and
may connect
server device 20 not only to client computing device 12 but also to computing
devices 52A,
52B, 52C, and 52D ("computing devices 52A-52D") at illustrative retail stores
50A, 50B,
50C, 50D ("retail stores 50A-50D") that are part of the retail enterprise.
Server device 20
may thereby communicate data rapidly to computing devices 52A-D at retail
stores 50A-D,
including subgroup mapping data generated by server device 20, such as
graphical outputs of
product subgroup maps for product adjacency groups.
[0058] User 11 may therefore interact with transition user interface 16 to use
adjacency
mapping system 10 to generate product subgroup maps for product adjacency
groups, and
then send the product subgroup maps from enterprise headquarters 21 to retail
stores 50A-D.
While four retail stores are illustratively depicted in FIG. 2, enterprise
computing system IOB
may include any number of retail stores, from one or two to hundreds or
thousands or more.
[0059] FIG. 3: Example Server Device
[0060] FIG. 3 is a block diagram illustrating further details of an example of
server device 20
shown in FIGS. 1 and 2, and to provide details of how server device 20 may
provide part of
the basis for the functioning of adjacency mapping system 10. FIG. 3
illustrates only one
particular example of server device 20, and many other example embodiments of
server
device 20 may be used in other instances. Additionally, client computing
device 12 shown in
FIG. 1 may be similar to server device 20 as shown in FIG. 3 or include any or
all of the
features depicted for server device 20 as shown in FIG. 3. Server device 20
may also be
implemented among multiple machines as a data center or a virtual server, for
example.
[0061] As shown in the example of FIG. 3, server device 20 includes one or
more processors
60, memory 62, a network interface 64, one or more storage devices 66, input
device 68, and
output device 70. Server device 20 may include one or more of any of these
components,
and one or more types or sub-components of any of these components. Server
device 20 also
includes an operating system 74 that is executable by server device 20. Server
device 20, in
the example of FIG. 3, further includes web server 22 that is also executable
by server device
20. Each of components 60, 62, 64, 66, 68, 70, 74, 76, 34, 32, 30, 44, 36, 40,
42, 38, and 46
may be interconnected physically, communicatively, and/or operatively by
communication

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channels 72A, 72B for inter-component communications. Communication channels
72A,
72B may include any type of bus, communication fabric, or other type of
element for
communicating data.
[0062] Processors 60, in one example, are configured to implement
functionality and/or
process instructions for execution within server device 20. For example,
processors 60 may
be capable of processing instructions stored in memory 62 or instructions
stored on storage
devices 66.
[0063] Memory 62, in one example, is configured to store information within
server device
20 during operation. Memory 62, in some examples, may be described as a
computer-
readable storage medium. In some examples, memory 62 is a temporary memory,
meaning
that long-term storage is not a primary purpose of memory 62. Memory 62, in
some
examples, may be a volatile memory, such that memory 62 does not maintain
stored contents
when the computer is turned off. This may include random access memory (RAM),
dynamic
random access memory (DRAM), static random access memory (SRAM), and other
forms of
volatile memory known in the art. In some examples, memory 62 is used to store
program
instructions for execution by processors 60. Memory 62, in one example, may be
used by
software or applications running on server device 20 (e.g., applications 76)
to temporarily
store information during program execution.
[0064] Storage devices 66, in some examples, may also include one or more
computer-
readable storage media. Storage devices 66 may be configured to store larger
amounts of
information than memory 62. Storage devices 66 may further be configured for
long-term
storage of information. In some examples, storage devices 66 include non-
volatile storage
elements. Examples of such non-volatile storage elements include magnetic hard
discs,
optical discs, floppy discs, flash memories, or forms of electrically
programmable memories
(EPROM) or electrically erasable and programmable (EEPROM) memories.
[0065] Server device 20, in some examples, also includes a network interface
64. Server
device 20, in one example, utilizes network interface 64 to communicate with
external
devices via one or more networks, such as one or more wireless networks.
Network interface
64 may include a network interface card, such as an Ethernet card, an optical
transceiver, a
radio frequency transceiver, or any other type of device that can send and
receive
information. Other examples of such network interfaces may include Bluetooth ,
3G and

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WiFi radios in mobile computing devices, as well as Universal Serial Bus
(USB). In some
examples, server device 20 utilizes network interface 64 to wirelessly
communicate with an
external device such as client computing device 12 and computing devices 52A-D
of FIGS. 1
and 2.
[00661 Server device 20, in one example, also includes one or more input
devices 68. Input
device 68, in some examples, may be configured to receive input from a user.
Examples of
input device 68 include a keyboard, a mouse, or any other type of device for
detecting inputs
from a user.
[00671 One or more output devices 70 may also be included in server device 20.
Output
device 70, in some examples, is configured to provide output to a user using
video, audio, or
other forms of output. Output device 70, in one example, may utilize a sound
card, a video
graphics adapter card, or any other type of device for converting a signal
into an appropriate
form understandable to humans or machines. Additional examples of output
device 70 may
include a liquid crystal display (LCD), a cathode ray tube (CRT) monitor, a
speaker, or any
other type of device that can generate intelligible output to a user.
[00681 Server device 20 may include operating system 74. Operating system 74,
in some
examples, controls the operation of components of server device 20. For
example, operating
system 74, in one example, facilitates the interaction of one or more
applications 76 (e.g.,
web server 38) with processors 60, memory 62, network interface 64, storage
device 66,
input device 68, and output device 70.
[00691 As shown in FIG. 3, web server 22 may include automated store
merchandising
(ASM) module 30, subgroup mapping transition center (TC) module 32,
merchandising grid
(MG) module 36, visual merchandising tool (VMT) module 40, and rules
maintenance
application (RMA) module 44, as described above with reference to FIG. 1.
Applications 76,
web server 38, ASM module 30, TC module 32, MG module 36, VMT module 40, and
RMA
module 44 may each include program instructions and/or data that are
executable by server
device 20. ASM module 30, TC module 32, MG module 36, VMT module 40, and RMA
module 44 may include instructions that cause web server 22 executing on
server device 20
to perform any one or more of the operations and actions described in this
disclosure.
[00701 ASM module 30, TC module 32, MG module 36, VMT module 40, and RMA
module
44 are each referred to as "modules" in the most generic sense that they are
portions of

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machine-readable code in any form, and are not limited to any particular form
or particular
type of machine-readable code. For example, TC module 32 may be a stand-alone
subgroup
mapping transition center application, ASM module 30 may be a stand-alone
automated store
merchandising application, and visual merchandising tool module 44 may be
incorporated as
a method, class, or library that forms part of the subgroup mapping transition
center
application or is called by the subgroup mapping transition center
application, and that makes
calls to or otherwise communicates with the automated store merchandising
application, in
one example. In other examples, TC module 32 and ASM module 30 may each be
implemented as one or more modules, methods, classes, objects, libraries,
subroutines, or
other portions of machine-readable code as part of a larger subgroup mapping
application. In
still other examples, ASM module 30, TC module 32, MG module 36, VMT module
40, and
RMA module 44 may each be stand-alone applications that communicate with each
other. In
yet other examples, various aspects of any of SM module 30, TC module 32, MG
module 36,
VMT module 40, and RMA module 44 may be included in a new patch or upgrade to
existing software that may already have been loaded on server device 20 but
that previously
lacked such features.
[0071] FIG. 4: Example Client Computing Device
[0072] FIG. 4 is a block diagram of a computing device 80 that may be used to
run a client
user interface for an adjacency mapping system, such as client computing
device 12 as part
of adjacency mapping system 10 of FIG. 1, according to an illustrative
example. FIG. 4
provides details of how client computing device 12 of FIG. 1 may provide part
of the basis
for the functioning of adjacency mapping system 10. An adjacency mapping
system may be
enabled to perform automated adjacency mapping either by incorporating this
capability
within a single application, or by making calls and requests to and otherwise
interacting with
any of a number of other modules, libraries, data access services, indexes,
databases, servers,
or other computing environment resources, including one or more
implementations of
computing device 80, for example. Computing device 80 may be a workstation,
server,
mainframe computer, notebook or laptop computer, desktop computer, tablet,
smartphone,
feature phone, or other programmable data processing apparatus of any kind.
Other
possibilities for computing device 80 are possible, including a computer
having capabilities
or formats other than or beyond those described herein.



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[0073] In this illustrative example, computing device 80 includes
communications fabric 82,
which provides communications between processor unit 84, memory 86, persistent
data
storage 88, communications unit 90, input/output (I/O) unit 92, and display
adapter 94.
Communications fabric 82 may include a dedicated system bus, a general system
bus,
multiple buses arranged in hierarchical form, any other type of bus, bus
network, switch
fabric, or other interconnection technology. Communications fabric 82 supports
transfer of
data, commands, and other information between various subsystems of computing
device 80.
[0074] Processor unit 84 may be a programmable central processing unit (CPU)
configured
for executing programmed instructions stored in memory 86. In another
illustrative example,
processor unit 84 may be implemented using one or more heterogeneous processor
systems
in which a main processor is present with secondary processors on a single
chip. In yet
another illustrative example, processor unit 84 may be a symmetric multi-
processor system
containing multiple processors of the same type. Processor unit 84 may be a
reduced
instruction set computing (RISC) microprocessor, an x86 compatible processor,
or any other
suitable processor. In various examples, processor unit 84 may include a multi-
core
processor, such as a dual core or quad core processor, for example. Processor
unit 84 may
include multiple processing chips on one die, and/or multiple dies on one
package or
substrate, for example. Processor unit 84 may also include one or more levels
of integrated
cache memory, for example. In various examples, processor unit 84 may comprise
one or
more CPUs distributed across one or more locations.
[0075] Data storage 96 includes memory 86 and persistent data storage 88,
which are in
communication with processor unit 84 through communications fabric 82. Memory
86 can
include a random access semiconductor memory (RAM) for storing application
data, i.e.,
computer program data, for processing. While memory 86 is depicted
conceptually as a
single monolithic entity in FIG. 4, in various examples, memory 86 may be
arranged in a
hierarchy of caches and in other memory devices, in a single physical
location, or distributed
across a plurality of physical systems in various forms. While memory 86 is
depicted
physically separated from processor unit 84 and other elements of computing
device 80,
memory 86 may refer equivalently to any intermediate or cache memory at any
location
throughout computing device 80, including cache memory proximate to or
integrated with
processor unit 84 or individual cores of processor unit 84.

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[0076] Persistent data storage 88 may include one or more hard disc drives,
solid state drives,
flash drives, rewritable optical disc drives, magnetic tape drives, or any
combination of these
or other data storage media. Persistent data storage 88 may store computer-
executable
instructions or computer-readable program code for an operating system,
application files
comprising program code, data structures or data files, and any other type of
data. These
computer-executable instructions may be loaded from persistent data storage 88
into memory
86 to be read and executed by processor unit 84 or other processors. Data
storage 96 may
also include any other hardware elements capable of storing information, such
as, for
example and without limitation, data, program code in functional form, and/or
other suitable
information, either on a temporary basis and/or a permanent basis.
[0077] Persistent data storage 88 and memory 86 are examples of physical,
tangible, non-
transitory computer-readable data storage devices. Data storage 96 may include
any of
various forms of volatile memory that may require being periodically
electrically refreshed to
maintain data in memory, but those skilled in the art will recognize that this
also constitutes
an example of a physical, tangible, non-transitory computer-readable data
storage device.
Executable instructions are stored on a non-transitory medium when program
code is loaded,
stored, relayed, buffered, or cached on a non-transitory physical medium or
device, including
if only for only a short duration or only in a volatile memory format.
[0078] Processor unit 84 can also be suitably programmed to read, load, and
execute
computer-executable instructions or computer-readable program code for an
adjacency
mapping application, as described in greater detail below. This program code
may be stored
on memory 86, persistent data storage 88, or elsewhere in computing device 80.
This
program code may also take the form of program code 104 stored on computer-
readable
medium 102 comprised in computer program product 100, and may be transferred
or
communicated, through any of a variety of local or remote means, from computer
program
product 100 to computing device 80 to be enabled to be executed by processor
unit 84, as
further explained below. The operating system may provide functions such as
device
interface management, memory management, and multiple task management.
Processor unit
84 can be suitably programmed to read, load, and execute instructions of the
operating
system.

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[0079] Communications unit 90, in this example, provides for communications
with other
computing or communications systems or devices. Communications unit 90 may
provide
communications through the use of physical and/or wireless communications
links.
Communications unit 90 may include a network interface card for interfacing
with a LAN
16, an Ethernet adapter, a Token Ring adapter, a modem for connecting to a
transmission
system such as a telephone line, or any other type of communication interface.
Communications unit 90 can be used for operationally connecting many types of
peripheral
computing devices to computing device 80, such as printers, bus adapters, and
other
computers. Communications unit 90 may be implemented as an expansion card or
be built
into a motherboard, for example.
[0080] The input/output unit 92 can support devices suited for input and
output of data with
other devices that may be connected to computing device 80, such as keyboard,
a mouse or
other pointer, a touchscreen interface, an interface for a printer or any
other peripheral
device, a removable magnetic or optical disc drive (including CD-ROM, DVD-ROM,
or Blu-
Ray), a universal serial bus (USB) receptacle, or any other type of input
and/or output device.
Input/output unit 92 may also include any type of interface for video output
in any type of
video output protocol and any type of monitor or other video display
technology, in various
examples. Some of these examples may overlap with each other, or with example
components of communications unit 90 or data storage 96. Input/output unit 92
may also
include appropriate device drivers for any type of external device, or such
device drivers may
reside in the operating system or elsewhere on computing device 80 as
appropriate.
[00811 Computing device 80 may also include a display adapter 94 in this
illustrative
example, which provides one or more connections for one or more display
devices.
Input/output unit 92 may also include appropriate device drivers for any type
of external
device, or such device drivers may reside in the operating system or elsewhere
on computing
device 80 as appropriate. Display adapter 94 may include one or more video
cards, one or
more graphics processing units (GPUs), one or more video-capable connection
ports, or any
other type of data connector capable of communicating video data, in various
examples.
Display device 98 may be connected to display adapter 94 and may be any kind
of video
display device, such as a monitor, a television, or a projector, in various
examples.

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[00821 Input/output unit 92 may include a drive, socket, or outlet for
receiving computer
program product 100, which comprises a computer-readable medium 102 having
computer
program code 104 stored thereon. For example, computer program product 100 may
be a
CD-ROM, a DVD-ROM, a Blu-Ray disc, a magnetic disc, a USB stick, a flash
drive, or an
external hard disc drive, as illustrative examples, or any other suitable data
storage
technology. Computer program code 104 may include an adjacency mapping
application
that may include various modules such as an automated store merchandising
(ASM) module
30, a subgroup mapping transition center (TC) module 32, a merchandising grid
(MG)
module 36, a visual merchandising tool (VMT) module 40, and a rules
maintenance
application (RMA) module 44, as indicated above with reference to FIGS. 1 and
3.
[0083] Computer-readable medium 102 may include any type of optical, magnetic,
or other
physical medium that physically encodes program code 104 as a binary series of
different
physical states in each unit of memory that, when read by computing device 80,
induces a
physical signal that is read by processor 84 that corresponds to the physical
states of the basic
data storage elements of storage medium 102, and that induces corresponding
changes in the
physical state of processor unit 84. That physical program code signal may be
modeled or
conceptualized as computer-readable instructions at any of various levels of
abstraction, such
as a high-level programming language, assembly language, or machine language,
but
ultimately constitutes a series of physical electrical and/or magnetic
interactions that
physically induce a change in the physical state of processor unit 84. The
physical program
code signal thereby physically causes processor unit 84 to generate physical
outputs that
correspond to the computer-executable instructions, in a way that modifies
computing device
80 into a new physical state and causes computing device 80 to physically
assume new
capabilities that it did not have until its physical state was changed by
loading the executable
instructions comprised in program code 104.
[00841 In some illustrative examples, program code 104 may be downloaded over
a network
to data storage 96 from another device or computer system, such as a server,
for use within
computing device 80. Program code 104 comprising computer-executable
instructions may
be communicated or transferred to computing device 80 from computer-readable
medium
102 through a hard-line or wireless communications link to communications unit
90 and/or
through a connection to input/output unit 92. Computer-readable medium 102
comprising

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program code 104 may be located at a separate or remote location from
computing device 80,
and may be located anywhere, including at any remote geographical location
anywhere in the
world, and may relay program code 104 to computing device 80 over any type of
one or
more communication links, such as the Internet and/or other packet data
networks. The
program code 104 may be transmitted over a wireless Internet connection, or
over a shorter-
range direct wireless connection such as wireless LAN, BluetoothTM, Wi-FiTM,
or an infrared
connection, for example. Any other wireless or remote communication protocol
may also be
used in other implementations.
[00851 The communications link and/or the connection may include wired and/or
wireless
connections in various illustrative examples, and program code 104 may be
transmitted from
a source computer-readable medium 102 over non-tangible media, such as
communications
links or wireless transmissions containing the program code 104. Program code
104 may be
more or less temporarily or durably stored on any number of intermediate
tangible, physical
computer-readable devices and media, such as any number of physical buffers,
caches, main
memory, or data storage components of servers, gateways, network nodes,
mobility
management entities, or other network assets, en route from its original
source medium to
computing device 80.
[00861 Aspects of this disclosure may be embodied as a method, a computing
system, or a
computer program product, for example. Accordingly, aspects of this disclosure
may take
the form of an entirely hardware embodiment, an entirely software embodiment
(including
firmware, resident software, micro-code, etc.) or an embodiment combining
software and
hardware aspects that may all generally be referred to herein as a "circuit,"
"module" or
"system."
[00871 Furthermore, aspects of the present invention may take the form of a
computer
program product embodied in one or more computer-readable data storage devices
or
computer-readable data storage components that include computer-readable
medium(s)
having computer readable program code embodied thereon. For example, a
computer-
readable data storage device may be embodied as a tangible device that may
include a
tangible, non-transitory data storage medium, as well as a controller
configured for receiving
instructions from a resource such as a central processing unit (CPU) to
retrieve information
stored at one or more particular addresses in the tangible, non-transitory
data storage



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medium, and for retrieving and providing the information stored at those
particular one or
more addresses in the data storage medium.
[0088] The data storage device may store information that encodes both
instructions and
data, for example, and may retrieve and communicate information encoding
instructions
and/or data to other resources such as a CPU, for example. The data storage
device may take
the form of a main memory component such as a hard disc drive or a flash drive
in various
embodiments, for example. The data storage device may also take the form of
another
memory component such as a RAM integrated circuit or a buffer or a local cache
in any of a
variety of forms, in various embodiments. This may include a cache integrated
with a
controller, a cache integrated with a graphics processing unit (GPU), a cache
integrated with
a system bus, a cache integrated with a multi-chip die, a cache integrated
within a CPU, or
the processor registers within a CPU, as various illustrative examples. The
data storage
apparatus or data storage system may also take a distributed form such as a
redundant array
of independent discs (RAID) system or a cloud-based data storage service, and
still be
considered to be a data storage component or data storage system as a part of
or a component
of an embodiment of a system of the present disclosure, in various
embodiments.
[0089] Any combination of one or more computer readable medium(s) may be
utilized. The
computer readable medium may be a computer readable signal medium or a
computer
readable storage medium. A computer readable storage medium may be, for
example, but is
not limited to, an electronic, magnetic, optical, electromagnetic, infrared,
clectro-optic, heat-
assisted magnetic, or semiconductor system, apparatus, or device, or any
suitable
combination of the foregoing. A non-exhaustive list of additional specific
examples of a
computer readable storage medium includes the following: an electrical
connection having
one or more wires, a portable computer diskette, a hard disc, a random access
memory
(RAM), a read-only memory (ROM), an erasable programmable read-only memory
(EPROM
or Flash memory), an optical fiber, a portable compact disc read-only memory
(CD-ROM),
an optical storage device, a magnetic storage device, or any suitable
combination of the
foregoing. In the context of this document, a computer readable storage medium
may be any
tangible medium that can contain or store a program for use by or in
connection with an
instruction execution system, apparatus, or device, for example.

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[00901 Program code embodied on a computer readable medium may be transmitted
using
any appropriate medium, including but not limited to radio frequency (RF) or
other wireless,
wireline, optical fiber cable, etc., or any suitable combination of the
foregoing. Computer
program code for carrying out operations for aspects of the present invention
may be written
in any of one or more programming languages, such as Java, C, C++, C#, Python,
Ruby,
Scala, or Clojure, among a variety of illustrative examples. One or more sets
of applicable
program code may execute partly or entirely on the user's desktop or laptop
computer, tablet,
or other computing device; as a stand-alone software package, partly on the
user's computing
device and partly on a remote computing device; or entirely on one or more
remote servers or
other computing devices, among various examples. In the latter scenario, the
remote
computing device may be connected to the user's computing device through any
type of
network, including a local area network (LAN) or a wide area network (WAN), or
the
connection may be made to an external computer (for example, through a public
network
such as the Internet using an Internet Service Provider), and for which a
virtual private
network (VPN) may also optionally be used.
[00911 In various illustrative embodiments, various computer programs,
software
applications, modules, or other software elements may be executed in
connection with one or
more user interfaces being executed on a client computing device, that may
also interact with
one or more web server applications that may be running on one or more servers
or other
separate computing devices and may be executing or accessing other computer
programs,
software applications, modules, databases, data stores, or other software
elements or data
structures.
100921 A graphical user interface may be executed on a client computing device
and may
access applications from the one or more web server applications, for example.
Various
content within a browser or dedicated application graphical user interface may
be rendered or
executed in or in association with the web browser using any combination of
any release
version of HTML, CSS, JavaScript, XML, AJAX, JSON, and various other languages
or
technologies. Other content may be provided by computer programs, software
applications,
modules, or other elements executed on the one or more web servers and written
in any
programming language and/or using or accessing any computer programs, software
elements,
data structures, or technologies, in various illustrative embodiments.

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[00931 Fig. 5: Individualized subgroup mapping
100941 FIG. 5 is a physical store layout graphical output 110 representing
physical store
layout data for a store, that may be provided in a user interface, such as
subgroup mapping
transition interface 16 of FIGS. 1 and 2, for an adjacency mapping system in
accordance with
aspects of this disclosure. The physical store layout data represented in
store layout graphical
output 110 may include architectural plans and positions and dimensions of
walls, shelves,
racks, and other merchandising fixtures, for a specific store layout. The
physical store layout
data represented in store layout graphical output 110 may be stored along with
stored layout
data for other store layouts in store layout data store 42 of FIGS. 1 and 3,
for example.
[00951 Different stores may have various different store layouts. A specific
store layout may
have at least some standardized product adjacency group layouts applicable to
multiple
stores, or a unique store layout that may have product adjacency group layouts
that apply
only to a single store. Some product adjacency group layouts may be applicable
to different
stores with very minor variations, such as minor variations in the position of
a door in a wall,
while some product adjacency group layouts may differ greatly from any other
store layouts
in a store layout data store. A retail enterprise may have a number of
different standardized
product adjacency group layouts, each of which may apply to multiple stores
that conform to
the detailed physical store layout specifications for that particular
standardized product
adjacency group layout. A retail enterprise may have a number of stores with
atypical or
unique physical store layouts, such as older stores that pre-date a layout
standardization, or
stores installed in legacy structures that were not originally constructed by
the retail
enterprise and that may have product adjacency group layouts that are unique
compared with
the rest of the stores belonging to the retail enterprise.
[00961 A store layout data store may contain data for each of the physical
store layouts for
each of the stores belonging to the retail enterprise. The store layout data
store may also
contain data for an index or a correspondence that indicates which of the
stored physical
store layouts correspond to which stores. Some physical store layouts may
include layout
data for standardized product adjacency group layouts that apply to a
potentially large
number of stores, while some physical store layouts may be for stores that are
atypical or
unique, and have product adjacency group layouts that correspond to only a
small number of
stores or a single store.

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[0097] This variety of physical store layouts may affect the mapping of
product subgroups in
an adjacency group in a variety of ways. For example, the retail enterprise
may have a
number of standardized product adjacency group layouts in a range of sizes,
and the size of
an individual adjacency group may be calibrated to the size of the store. The
store layout
data may include standardized layouts for relatively smaller stores and for
larger stores. The
product adjacency group layouts may also include variation layouts with data
indicating
minor exceptions to a standardized product adjacency group layout stored along
with an
indication of a standardized layout that the exceptions are applied to.
[00981 The physical store layout may be assigned different sections that
define adjacency
groups. A layout portion 112 of physical store layout graphical output 110 may
be used as a
representative example to illustrate the assignment of different sections of a
store layout into
different adjacency groups, as further illustrated in FIG. 6.
[0099] FIG. 6 is a graphical output representing physical store layout data
for a portion of a
store layout 112, that may be provided in a user interface, such as subgroup
mapping
transition interface 16 of FIGS. 1 and 2, for an adjacency mapping system in
accordance with
aspects of this disclosure. Store layout portion 112 includes smaller portions
of the store
layout that have been segmented into product adjacency groups, in particular,
a "Men's
Basics" adjacency group 114, a "Pets" adjacency group 116, and a "Sporting
Goods"
adjacency group 118. A product adjacency group may be a portion of a store
layout that is
assigned to a particular division, category, or department of products that
are logically
categorized together in a group, and/or that may be advantageously grouped and
presented
together or in adjacent groups for merchandising purposes. An adjacency group
may be for a
product division that contains multiple product categories and/or departments
that
corresponds to a logical arrangement that may conform to retail customer
expectations about
what to find together, or that may be conducive to cross-selling related
products for a retail
customer seeking a particular product, for example. Various factors considered
for
organizing adjacency groups may include data and patterns on sales volume,
location
attributes, and customer demographics for particular product categories, for
example.
[001001 The categorization of products into hierarchical levels of
relatedness, such as
into adjacency groups, may be designed in accordance with substantial market
research. The
categorization of products into levels of relatedness such as adjacency groups
may be stored

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as data in product data store 38, for example. Product data store 38 may also
store extensive
data on each individual product, such as the individual product's size and
dimensions, weight,
normal price, markdown price, vendor, SKU number, forecasted popularity,
inventory policy,
and so forth, for example.
[001011 The portion of a store layout assigned to a particular adjacency group
may be
considered the floorpad of that adjacency group. The floorpad for the
adjacency groups 114,
116, and 118, as represented in the store layout includes layout in FIG. 6, of
shelves, racks,
and other merchandising fixtures derived from the store layout data, and that
correspond to
the physical arrangement and dimensions of the actual merchandising fixtures
in the
physical stores.
[01001 FIG. 7 is a graphical output of a product subgroup map for the "Pets"
product
adjacency group 116 within the store layout of a store. The product subgroup
map for
product adjacency group 116 may be provided in a user interface, such as
subgroup mapping
transition interface 16 of FIGS. 1 and 2, for a visual merchandising tool
(VMT) module, such
as VMT module 40 of FIGS. 1 and 3, of an adjacency mapping system in
accordance with
aspects of this disclosure. A product subgroup may be a narrower level of
categorization
within a product adjacency group, such as a single category or family of
products within a
product division, for example, such as the illustrative product subgroups
shown mapped in
FIG. 7. For purposes of FIG.. 7, the reference number 116 may refer both to
the "Pets"
adjacency group in general, and to the rendering of the product subgroup map
for the "Pets"
adjacency group, with the product subgroup mapping assignments superimposed on
the store
layout section assigned to the product adjacency group as depicted in FIG 7.
[01011 The product subgroup map 116 is a map of where different product
subgroups are
positioned or are intended to be positioned within the "Pets" product
adjacency group. As
shown in FIG. 7, the floor plan assigned to the "Pets" product adjacency group
shows rows
of structures that represent shelves, racks, and/or other merchandising
fixtures, and these
merchandising fixtures are divided into many separate sections. Each of the
product
subgroups are assigned to one or more of these sections, as shown in FIG. 7.
This mapping
of each product subgroup to one or more sections of the merchandising fixtures
in the "Pets"
adjacency group is shown in an exploded view of one of the particular product
subgroups, the
"cat litter" product subgroup 126 seen at the top of FIG. 7. The "cat litter"
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126 included six different, adjacent merchandising fixture sections 160, 162,
164, 166, 168,
170 ("fixture sections 160-170"). Each of fixture sections 160-170 may
represent a certain
area of merchandising fixtures. For example, each of fixture sections 160-170
may-represent
a four-foot-wide section of a column of shelves or racks assembled against a
wall. Many or
all of the other fixture sections depicted in FIG. 7 may each also represent a
four-foot-wide
section of a column of shelves or racks assembled against either a wall or a
free-standing
gondola that is positioned on the floor apart from a wall but that also
supports shelves, racks,
or other merchandising fixtures. In other examples, other sizes or dimensions
of sections of
merchandising fixtures or merchandising space may also be used.
[01021 Product adjacency groups such as the "Pets" product adjacency group 116
and
product subgroups such as the "cat litter" product subgroup 126 and the other
product
subgroups mapped out in the "Pets" product adjacency group 116 as shown in
FIG. 7
therefore form part of a hierarchical planning organization for merchandising
products in a
retail store space. This hierarchical organization of product merchandising
may also extend
down to another, finer level of detail below the level of the product
subgroups, where each
individual product subgroup may be associated with a corresponding planogram.
A
planogram may be a mapping of individual products and how these individual
products are
displayed or presented within a particular product subgroup.
[01031 Whereas the product adjacency groups and product subgroups may be
mapped from a
vertical, bird's-eye view perspective of the floor plan of the store layout, a
planogram may be
mapped from a horizontal view corresponding to the view of a customer standing
in the store
looking at the products as they are positioned in or on the merchandising
fixtures in any
given product subgroup. Each fixture section, such as fixture sections 160-
170, in a product
subgroup may therefore correspond one-to-one with a particular planogram that
shows a map
of where and how all of the products intended for that fixture section are
intended to be
arranged on the merchandising fixtures in that product subgroup. A fixture
section may
therefore also be referred to as a planogram section. Taken together,
therefore, the
organizational levels of products adjacency groups, product subgroups, and
planograms may
provide a comprehensive and logical hierarchical organizational structure for
planning and
assigning how all of the available products may be positioned in a logical and
coherent

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manner throughout a retail store. A product subgroup may therefore be a
business title to
refer to planogram footage and display information for particular categories
of products.
[0104] As shown in FIG. 7, the product subgroup map 116 for the "Pets" product
adjacency
group includes a wet cat food product subgroup 120 and a dry cat food product
subgroup 122
arranged along one gondola wall, with the wet cat food product subgroup 120
mapped to two
adjacent planogram sections, and the dry cat food product subgroup 122 mapped
to six
contiguous planogram sections adjacent to the wet cat food product subgroup
120 along the
gondola wall, with that gondola wall intersecting the architectural wall along
which the "cat
litter" product subgroup is mapped. The "Pets" product subgroup map 116 also
includes a
"cat accessories" product subgroup 124 with three planogram sections, and a
"collars"
product subgroup 128, a "small animal" product subgroup 130, and a "wild bird"
product
subgroup 132, each with one planogram section, where these four product
subgroups are
arranged along a gondola wall opposite the wet cat food product subgroup 120
and a dry cat
food product subgroup 122, all on a single aisle formed between the two
corresponding
gondola walls.
[0105] As shown in FIG. 7, the product subgroup map 116 for the "Pets" product
adjacency
group includes second and third aisles. The second aisle contains a "dog bowls
and
accessories" product subgroup 140, an "ABC brand dog food" product subgroup
142, an
"XYZ brand dog food" product subgroup 144, and a "canned dog food" product
subgroup
146. The third aisle contains a "puppy beds" product subgroup 148, a "healthy
diet dog
food" product subgroup 150, a "dog treats" product subgroup 152, a "caddies"
product
subgroup 154, a "rawhide snacks" product subgroup 156, and a "dog toys"
product subgroup
158. Each of these product subgroups is also assigned one or more particular
planogram
sections within the merchandising fixtures rendered in the store layout
portion of the "Pets"
product adjacency group. The product subgroup map 116 for the "Pets" product
adjacency
group therefore provides a detailed map for where each of several product
subgroups are to
be presented for merchandising display within the portion of a store layout
assigned to the
"Pets" product adjacency group.
[0106] The retail enterprise may regularly have a need to reorganize the
merchandising
presentation of products, such as the products within the "Pets" product
adjacency group.
For example, sales and marketing data may indicate that demand for certain
products or
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product categories is increasing while demand for other products or product
categories is
decreasing. For example, a retail enterprise may discover that demand for and
sales of
healthy diet dog food have recently been increasing rapidly. Sales and
marketing data may
also reveal newly discovered cross-dependencies or patterns showing that sales
of a certain
product subgroup are higher or lower when positioned immediately side-by-side
with another
certain product subgroup, or that some product subgroups tend to sell the same
volume
whether they are positioned adjacent to a higher-traffic end-cap next to a
higher-traffic
walking lane or positioned against a wall that is more out-of-the-way, while
other product
subgroups have much better sales when positioned adjacent to a higher-traffic
end-cap than
when positioned on an out-of-the-way wall. For example, a retail enterprise
may discover
that caddies tend to sell the same volumes whether placed adjacent to a high-
traffic end-cap
or against a low-traffic wall, while dog accessories tend to sell much better
when placed in a
position of high traffic and high visibility, such as adjacent to an end-cap
next to a major
walking lane through the store, than when placed in a low-traffic area. A
retail enterprise
may also find a need to reorganize product merchandise display to showcase
seasonally
relevant products, to highlight a new product line, or to launch a product
line from a new
vendor, for example.
101071 The retail enterprise may therefore plan to implement a "transition" or
merchandising
transition, where a "transition" is a reorganization of where and how various
products are
positioned and arranged for display in a retail store. A transition is
therefore important for
sales and marketing purposes, but may also be complicated to plan and
disruptive to
implement. The retail enterprise may typically place a high priority on
implementing a
transition at the same time across several or all of its retail stores, to
maintain consistency in
its merchandising across all of its retail stores. A transition may require
stocking new
inventory or rebalancing the inventory load across various products, in all of
the enterprise's
retail stores at the same time. Implementing a transition on the sales floor
of a retail store
may also be disruptive as it requires team members to remove and rearrange
potentially large
volumes of products from merchandising fixtures, requiring potentially
substantial amounts
of labor, and potentially interfering with merchandising and sales if the
transition process
interrupts operations during times when a store is open or business.
Additionally, just the
process of planning a transition has typically been a labor-intensive manual
process, where

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the required labor is compounded by trying to plan transitions that serve the
same goals and
are consistent with each other across a wide range of sizes, arrangements, and
architectural
plans of stores.
[0108] Aspects of this disclosure may simplify, facilitate, and greatly
accelerate a
merchandising transition process and help maximize the goals of a transition
while
minimizing its burdens, by automating a process of organizing a transition
while
automatically applying a weighted balancing among numerous goals to be
achieved and
drawbacks to be minimized in the transition, as further described below with
reference to the
subsequent figures.
[0109] For example, a retail enterprise may have new sales and marketing data
about
products in the "Pets" adjacency group, as suggested above, as well as other
factors
motivating a need for reorganizing the merchandising, so that the enterprise
wants to initiate
a new transition of the product subgroup map of the "Pets" adjacency group,
and transition
away from product subgroup map 116 as depicted in FIG. 7 to a new product
subgroup map
that implements the advantages of the new sales and marketing data in the
merchandising of
the products in the "Pets" adjacency group. To begin this merchandising
transition process,
with reference again to FIGS. 1-4, user l I may use client computing device 12
to engage
with subgroup mapping transition user interface 16 to initiate a transition.
Transition user
interface 16 is so named since it may serve as a user interface for initiating
and organizing
these merchandising transitions.
[0110] As used throughout this disclosure, a product subgroup may be referred
to simply as a
"subgroup" for short, with the understanding that this refers to a product
subgroup; a product
adjacency group may be referred to simply as an "adjacency group" or an
"adjacency" for
short, with the understanding that this refers to a product adjacency group; a
merchandising
transition may be referred to simply as a "transition" for short, with the
understanding that
this refers to a merchandising transition; and a particular state and/or
rendering of transition
user interface 16 of FIGS. 1 and 2 may be referred to simply as a "user
interface".
[0111] FIG. 8 is a graphical output of an aspect of a user interface 200A,
which may
correspond with a particular state and rendering of transition user interface
16, for single
subgroup mapping with a transition center (TC) module 32 of an adjacency
mapping system
in accordance with aspects of this disclosure. Transition user interface 16
may render user

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interface 200A at the beginning of a transition initiating process with user
11. Subgroup
mapping transition center (TC) module 32 may provide and coordinate outputs
from, and
receive and convey user inputs to, the other modules, data stores, and
components of
adjacency mapping system 10. Transition user interface 200A includes an
adjacency
indication 172 showing that user 11 has selected the "Pets" adjacency in which
to initiate a
transition. Transition user interface 200A may include a last update
indication 174, a
subgroup mapping type 176, and a product department 178, which may correspond
to the
selected "Pets" adjacency. The last update indication 174 shows the date that
the product
subgroup mapping was last updated, i.e., the last time a transition was
performed for the
adjacency group. Product departments may be categorizations of products from
other
business units that may be the same or similar or different organizational
groupings of
products relative to adjacency groups, for example.
[01121 Transition user interface 200A may show a subgroup title indication 180
that may be
a field or drop-down menu for a user to enter or select a product subgroup
title. As shown in
particular at subgroup title indication 180, user 11 has selected the "cat
litter" subgroup,
which may be one of several subgroups that may be selected for inclusion in
the presently
initiated transition. As shown at subgroup relationship indications 184 and
186, subgroups
may or may not be selected to be eligible to be split or combined. Set date
indication 182
shows a user-selectable date on which to implement a transition for the
selected subgroups in
the selected adjacency. In the description of the remaining figures, the
transition being
currently organized in the transition organization and implementation process
being
described may be referred to simply as "the transition being initiated", "the
current
transition", or "this transition", for example. Transition user interface 200A
may also display
user options for mass updates 181, that involve selecting a single subgroup
mapping type and
multiple subgroups to which to apply the single subgroup mapping type. These
options
include a basic reset mass update option 183 that applies a basic reset
subgroup mapping type
to multiple subgroups; a stop subgroup mass update 185 that applies a stop
subgroup
mapping type to multiple subgroups; and a one to one mass update 187 that
applies a one to
one subgroup mapping type to multiple subgroups, in this example.
[01131 FIG. 9 is a graphical output of an aspect of a user interface 200B for
a subgroup
mapping summary with a transition center (TC) module 32 of an adjacency
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in accordance with aspects of this disclosure. User interface 200B displays a
subgroup
mapping tab 204, which is currently open in the view of FIG. 9, and an
assigned stores tab
206. The subgroup mapping tab 204 being open provides a list or portion of a
list of selected
subgroups to include in a transition, including "cat accessories" subgroup
listing 192, "wet
cat food" subgroup listing 194, "dry cat food" subgroup listing 196, "collars"
subgroup
listing 198, and "cat litter" subgroup listing 180, corresponding to the "cat
litter" subgroup
title indication 180 as shown in FIG. 8. This may be a partial view of a list
of all the
subgroups in the "Pets" adjacency that user 11 has so far selected to include
in the transition
being planned.
[01141 User interface 200B also includes user-selectable start date indication
182 and end
date indication 190, as well as an action menu 202, which is illustratively
depicted with a
menu item "set subgroup mapping status to complete" that is being selected by
the user. As
shown in FIG. 9, action menu 202 also illustratively includes example options
for "add
subgroup mappings", "export subgroup mappings to spreadsheet application", and
"cancel all
subgroup mappings".
[0115] FIG. 10 is a graphical output of an aspect of a user interface 200C for
store
assignment add and remove with a transition center (TC) module 32 of an
adjacency
mapping system 10 in accordance with aspects of this disclosure. User
interface 200C shows
assigned stores tab 206 selected, which renders an indication 210 for of a
number of stores
assigned to the transition being initiated, an indication 212 for a number of
stores displayed,
and a menu 214 for "view stores by" which is selected for "all stores". User
interface 200C
also shows a store list 218 that lists a number of physical store locations
that have been
selected for this transition to apply to this transition, and an action menu
216 with options to
"remove selected store(s)" or "add store(s)".
[01161 FIG. 11 is a graphical output of an aspect of a user interface 200D for
store
assignment with a transition center (TC) module 32 of adjacency mapping system
10 in
accordance with aspects of this disclosure. User interface 200D displays
subgroup mapping
tab 204 and assigned stores tab 206 as well as shops and sub-shops tab 220,
merchandising
grid tab 222, rules tab 224, and ASM runs (i.e. automated store merchandising
(ASM) runs)
tab 226, which may be displayed once the store assignments are completed under
assigned
stores tab 206, for example. With assigned stores tab 206 still selected, user
interface 200D

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also still displays the indication 210 for of a number of stores assigned to
the transition, an
indication 212 for a number of stores displayed, and a menu 214 for "view
stores by".
[01171 FIG. 12 is a graphical output of an aspect of a user interface 200E for
a shops and
sub-shops feature in a transition center (TC) module 32 of an adjacency
mapping system 10
in accordance with aspects of this disclosure. User interface 200E shows the
transition user
interface with shops and sub-shops tab 220 selected. Shops and sub-shops tab
220 may
enable various product categories with the "Pets" adjacency to be selected,
which may
include subgroups as well as additional levels of product organization that
may be
intermediate between the adjacency level and the subgroup level, and/or
between the
subgroup level and the individual product level. For example, as shown in user
interface
200E, this may include a "dog shop" menu item 230 that may define a "shop"
level of
product organization that groups together various dog-related subgroups, such
as dog toys
and various dog food subgroups, for example, but excludes non-dog-related
subgroups within
the "Pets" adjacency. This may provide additional usefulness if the user is
keenly interested
on a new transition to reorganize the dog-related subgroups, but has less
interest at this time
in reorganizing the non-dog-related subgroups in the "Pets" adjacency. The
shops and sub-
shops tab 220 may also expose sub-shop categorizations that may provide yet
another
organizational level between the shop level and the subgroup level, such as a
"dog food" sub-
shop that includes only dog-food-related subgroups, for example.
[0118] FIG. 13 is a graphical output of an aspect of a user interface 230B for
a shops and
sub-shops feature in a transition center (TC) module 32 of an adjacency
mapping system 10
in accordance with aspects of this disclosure. User interface 230B may render
menus that
may be opened by selecting the "dog shop" menu item 230 as shown in user
interface 200E
in FIG. 13, including both a "dog shop" menu 230B and a subordinate "dog food
sub-shop"
menu 240 organized within the dog shop menu 230B. All of the dog-related
subgroups
assigned to the dog shop category within the "Pets" adjacency may be listed
under the "dog
shop" menu item 230, including dog-food-related subgroups that are more
specifically listed
under the "dog food sub-shop" menu 240. All of these dog-related subgroups may
correspond to the similarly named subgroups depicted in product subgroup map
116 in FIG.
7, in this illustrative example. These include a "caddies" subgroup menu item
242, a "dog
dishes and accessories" subgroup menu item 244, a "puppy beds" subgroup menu
item 246, a

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"rawhide snacks" subgroup menu item 248, an "ABC brand dog food" subgroup menu
item
250, an "XYZ brand dog food" subgroup menu item 252, a "healthy diet dog food"
subgroup
menu item 254, a "canned dog food" subgroup menu item 256, and a "dog treats"
subgroup
menu item 258. Each of these subgroup menu items may be selected or de-
selected by the
user for inclusion in or exclusion from the currently planned transition.
[0119] FIG 14 is a graphical output of an aspect of a user interface 200F for
merchandising
grid (MG) module 36 of adjacency mapping system 10 in accordance with aspects
of this
disclosure. FIG. 14 introduces the merchandising grid, selected via
merchandising grid tab
222 in transition interface 200F. Transition interface 200F shows a
merchandising grid list
270 that may list one or more saved merchandising grids 272, 274, that user 11
or other users
may have created and saved at earlier times, and which may be accessed again
to modify or
re-use. FIG. 14 shows merchandising grid 272, named "Scenario 12", being
selected by the
user as an example.
[0120] FIG. 15 is a graphical output of an aspect of a user interface 200G for
a subgroup
assignment function with a merchandising grid (MG) module 36 of adjacency
mapping
system 10 in accordance with aspects of this disclosure. User interface 200G
shows a
number of tabs and other user interface elements after the user has selected
the "Scenario 12"
merchandising grid 272 in transition interface 200F as shown in FIG. 14. User
interface
200G includes an assigned merchandising grid subgroups tab 302, an assigned
merchandising grid stores tab 304, a strategies tab 306, a subgroup footages
tab 308, an
action sequence tab 310, a flow sequence tab 312, and a strategy priorities
tab 314.
[0121] Assigned merchandising grid subgroups tab 302 is currently selected and
open in the
current state of user interface 2000 in FIG. 15, and shows a portion of a
merchandising grid
300, which lists all of the subgroups selected for the current transition,
including additional
data for the selected subgroups such as the shop and/or sub-shop they are also
categorized
under, if any. User interface 200G also includes a subgroup summary section
320 for
merchandising grid 300, which shows a total number of subgroups for the
transition, a
number of subgroups assigned, and a number of subgroups not assigned. User
interface
200G also includes a user interface element ("UI element") 322 to add/remove
subgroups.
[0122] FIG. 16 is a graphical output of an aspect of a user interface 200H for
a store
assignment function with a merchandising grid (MG) module 36 of an adjacency
mapping

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system 10 in accordance with aspects of this disclosure. User interface 200H
shows the
assigned merchandising grid stores tab 304 selected. In this state, user
interface 200H
includes store assignment subgroup summary section 324 for merchandising grid
300 which
shows a total number of stores, a number of stores assigned, and a number of
stores not
assigned. User interface 200H also includes a "view stores by" UI element 330,
a UI element
332 for indicating a "number of stores assigned to this merchandising grid",
and a store list
334 of selected stores for the transition. User interface 200H also includes a
UI element 322
to add or remove stores. The merchandising grid (MG) module 36 may thereby
configure
user interface 200H to enable a user to select which stores to apply a current
transition to.
[01231 FIG. 17 is a graphical output of an aspect of a user interface 200J for
a strategy
assignment function of a merchandising grid (MG) module 36 of an adjacency
mapping
system 10 in accordance with aspects of this disclosure. (The potential
reference labels
"2001" and "2000" are omitted from use herein to avoid potential confusion.)
User interface
200J shows the strategies tab 306 selected, and a UI element 340 to "define
strategies", or to
define strategies to apply in the automated process of the transition. User
interface 200J
includes a strategy list 342 that includes a number of different strategies
the user may select
from among, illustratively including "across aisle affinity", "adjacency
affinity", "base deck
preference", and "collision sensitivity". In the context of these strategies,
an "affinity" or a
"preference" may indicate an advantageous positioning for a subgroup, while a
"collision"
indicates a disadvantageous positioning for a subgroup.
[0124] For example, an "across aisle affinity" or an "adjacency affinity"
indicate that data
show that two subgroups complement each other and support each other's sales
when in the
indicated affinity arrangement of being across the aisle from each other, or
within the same
adjacency group with each other, respectively. For example, either of these
may apply to the
dog treats and rawhide snacks subgroups, such that both of these subgroups
have higher sales
when they are positioned across the aisle from each other and/or within the
same adjacency
group with each other, for example. A "negative side-by-side affinity", as
another example,
indicates a positioning relationship that erodes sales and should be avoided.
For example, a
perfume subgroup may have lower sales when it is positioned adjacent to the
cat litter
subgroup. While perfume is not part of the "Pets" adjacency, the subgroup
mapping
transition center (TC) module 32 may still account for data on what
adjacencies and
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subgroups are positioned outside of a particular adjacency, and implement
strategies around
that data as well. As another example, the "wild bird" subgroup may also be
found to have
lower sales when positioned adjacent to a cat food subgroup, and therefore be
classified as
having a collision sensitivity with the cat food related subgroups. Strategy
list 342 may
enable a user to select which among several strategies for TC module 32 to
apply in the
current transition. A "collision sensitivity", as yet another example,
indicates sensitivity to a
"collision", or a physical incompatibility with an irregular merchandising
fixture. For
example, one four-foot segment of a merchandising display area may have a
structural pole
that intrudes upon it, and occupies a half-foot width of it, and the
merchandising fixtures in
that segment must accommodate that physical intrusion. Some product display
fixtures may
be physically incompatible with such intrusions. As a particular example,
special
merchandising fixtures may be used to display golf clubs, where the fixtures
include four-
foot wide retainers for holding the golf clubs horizontally. This special
fixture type would
make a golf club adjacency group have a collision sensitivity, i.e., a
physical incompatibility
with a collision merchandising segment.
[0125] FIG. 18 is a graphical output of an aspect of a user interface 200K for
a strategy
defining function of a merchandising grid (MG) module 36 of an adjacency
mapping system
in accordance with aspects of this disclosure. User interface 200K shows a
portion of a
detailed menu for selecting and applying selected strategies to particular
subgroups or pairs
of subgroups, and assigning different priorities or priority rankings to
different strategies as
particularly applied to specific subgroups.
[0126] In particular, user interface 200K includes a "side by side affinity"
strategy list 350
and an "across aisle affinity" strategy list 360, among many other potential
strategy lists for
potentially many different strategies that a user may select in user interface
200J of FIG. 17.
A side by side affinity is a relation in which presenting two subgroups side
by side tends to
increase sales, while an across aisle affinity is a relation in which
presenting two subgroups
across an aisle from each other tends to increase sales, as noted above. "Side
by side
affinity" strategy list 350 includes three specific pairs of subgroup
listings, i.e. subgroup
listing pair 352, subgroup listing pair 354, and subgroup listing pair 356,
each of which is
assigned a priority of 1, 2, or 3, to rank the order of priority of applying
the side by side
affinity to each of these three pairs. The "across aisle affinity" strategy
list 360 includes one



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listed pair in the view of FIG. 18, but may include more listed pairs out of
this view or that
the user may yet add.
[0127] FIG. 19 is a graphical output of an aspect of a user interface 200L for
a subgroup
footage defining function of a merchandising grid (MG) module 36 of an
adjacency mapping
system 10 in accordance with aspects of this disclosure. In user interface
200L, subgroup
footage tab 308 has been selected, which renders a list of subgroups 370 along
with various
flexible options for the user to assign criteria for how much footage to
assign to each
subgroup. In particular, for each subgroup, the user may enter a minimum
footage 374, an
ideal footage 376, and a maximum footage 378, for example. User interface 200L
may also
include a mandatoriness option 372 for each subgroup to indicate whether its
inclusion is
mandatory or not. Various subgroups may also have non-user-editable mapping
criteria, such
as criteria for a certain subgroup to have mandatory inclusion or a certain
minimum footage.
[0128] While the user-editable mapping criteria addressed in user interface
200L are
discussed above in terms of "footage", this is merely one example of how
merchandising
area may be measured, and various other measures of area may also be used in
various
embodiments.
[0129] FIG. 20 is a graphical output of an aspect of a user interface 200M for
an action
sequence defining function of a merchandising grid (MG) module 36 of an
adjacency
mapping system 10 in accordance with aspects of this disclosure. In user
interface 200M,
action sequence tab 310 has been selected. User interface 200M still renders
the list of
subgroups 370 and other columns from user interface 200L of FIG. 19, along
with a number
of stores row 390 and a number of sides row 392 that indicate how many of the
selected
stores have how much merchandising space, in terms of gondola sides or wall
sides, are
devoted to the "Pets" adjacency. In particular, owing to the range of sizes
and store layouts
of the various selected stores, rows 390 and 392 indicate that there are 6
stores with 9 sides in
the "Pets" adjacency, 4 stores with 8 sides in this adjacency, 5 stores with 7
sides in this
adjacency, 1 store with only 6 sides in this adjacency, and I store with only
5 sides in this
adjacency.
[0130] The action sequence columns beneath these rows 390 and 392 may be used
to enter
user inputs for an action sequence for determining which non-mandatory
subgroups in the
"Pets" adjacency to assign to groups of stores, based on the user-editable
mapping criteria
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and on the number of sides or other count of the footage assigned to the
"Pets" adjacency for
each group of stores. Subgroups listed as mandatory in column 372 are
automatically
assigned to all stores, and for these subgroups, the action sequence column
entries are each
populated with an "X" showing that they are not open to enter inputs. For
subgroups listed
as non-mandatory in column 372, the action sequence columns under rows 390 and
392 are
open for the user to enter inputs to define an action sequence that will be
used to determine,
for each group of stores by number of sides, which of the non-mandatory
subgroups will be
assigned to that group of stores. For example, for a non-mandatory subgroup
that the user
prioritizes highly, the user may select this subgroup to be first in the
action sequence of
assigning non-mandatory subgroups, while if another subgroup is relatively low
priority, the
user may enter a later count for this subgroup in the action sequence. The
merchandising
grid (MG) module 36 will assign the non-mandatory subgroups to each set of
stores in the
order entered for the action sequence. Stores with high numbers of sides
assigned to the
"Pets" adjacency may be assigned many or all of the non-mandatory subgroups,
while stores
with low numbers of sides assigned to the "Pets" adjacency may be assigned
relatively few
of the non-mandatory subgroups. The user-entered inputs for the action
sequence thereby
serve as further user-editable mapping criteria for mapping the product
subgroups in the
product adjacency group for each group of stores.
101311 FIG 21 is a graphical output of an aspect of a user interface 200N for
a flow sequence
defining function of a merchandising grid (MG) module 36 of an adjacency
mapping system
in accordance with aspects of this disclosure. User interface 200N shows the
flow
sequence tab 312 of the merchandising grid module 36 selected. User interface
200N is
configured to receive user inputs defining a flow sequence for processing each
of the
subgroups according to the applicable mapping criteria. Subgroups are listed
in subgroup
column 370, with each subgroup's row intersecting with mandatoriness column
372 that
indicates whether the criteria for that subgroup are mandatory, and sequence
number column
400 indicating the sequence in which the subgroups 370 are to be processed in
the automated
subgroup mapping process.
[0132) FIG. 22 is a graphical output of an aspect of a user interface 200P for
a strategy
priority assignment function of a merchandising grid (MG) module 36 of an
adjacency
mapping system 10 in accordance with aspects of this disclosure. User
interface 200P shows

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the strategy priorities tab 314 of the merchandising grid module 36 selected.
User interface
200P is configured to receive user inputs defining a ranking of priorities, as
listed in priority
number column 412, for applying to different strategies as listed in
strategies column 410.
[01331 FIG 23 is a graphical output of an aspect of a user interface 200Q for
activating a
rules maintenance application (RMA) module 44 of an adjacency mapping system
10 in
accordance with aspects of this disclosure. User interface 200Q shows a user
interface state
with the same tabs as in the transition center user interface as depicted in
FIGS. 11, 12, and
14, but now after the user has finished using the merchandising grid. User
interface 200Q
shows rules tab 224 selected, and an indication that "rule sets are maintained
in RMA", i.e.
rules maintenance application (RMA) module 44. RMA module 44 may include both
the
user-editable subgroup mapping criteria entered in the user interfaces
described above, as
well as non-user-editable subgroup mapping criteria, for example. User
interface 200Q also
includes a UI element 420 configured to enable a user to launch or run the RMA
module 44.
[01341 FIG. 24 is a graphical output of an aspect of a user interface 430 for
a rule set creation
function in a rules maintenance application (RMA) module 44 of an adjacency
mapping
system 10 in accordance with aspects of this disclosure. User interface 430
may be presented
when a user creates a transition and launches the RMA module 44. User
interface 430
includes a "create rule-set" button 431 to create a set of rules, a "delete
rule-set" button 432
to delete a selected set of rules, and a "view/edit ruleset" button 434 to
view or edit a selected
set of rules.
101351 FIG. 25 is a graphical output of an aspect of a user interface 440 for
a strategy
selection function of a rules maintenance application (RMA) module 44 of an
adjacency
mapping system 10 in accordance with aspects of this disclosure. User
interface 440
includes user-selectable options for viewing, editing, adding, or deleting
various strategies
for an automated adjacency mapping process.
[01361 FIG 26 is a graphical output of an aspect of a user interface 450 for a
rule creation
function in a rules maintenance application (RMA) module 44 of an adjacency
mapping
system 10 in accordance with aspects of this disclosure. User interface 450
includes a UI
element configured to enable user inputs for defining strategy exception
rules, i.e., rules that
serve as exceptions to selected strategies.

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[0137] FIG 27 is a graphical output of an aspect of a user interface 200R for
creating an
automated store merchandising (ASM) run in an ASM module 30 of an adjacency
mapping
system 10 in accordance with aspects of this disclosure. User interface 200R
once again has
assigned stores tab 206 selected and shows in column 460 that each of the
listed stores has a
store status of "ready for automated store merchandising (ASM)". User
interface 200R also
includes action menu 462 with options to add or remove stores for this
transition, or to create
an automated store merchandising (ASM) run.
[0138] FIG. 28 is a graphical output of an aspect of a user interface 200S for
a store selection
function in an automated store merchandising (ASM) module 30 of an adjacency
mapping
system 10 in accordance with aspects of this disclosure, with automated store
merchandising
(ASM) module 30 running, and generating a combined set of mapping criteria for
the user-
selected product subgroups based on the user inputs for each of the user-
editable mapping
criteria and non-user-editable mapping criteria. The ASM run may process an
automated
adjacency mapping to generate a subgroup mapping for each of the selected
stores in
sequence, with the selected stores in list 460 being added to ASM run list 464
as ASM
module 30 processes each store, and as the user saves or submits each ASM run.
ASM
module 30 may generate a subgroup mapping for the selected adjacency that
serves as a
merchandising solution combining user-edited or user-defined rules entered for
each of
merchandising grid (MG) module 36, rules maintenance application (RMA) module
44, and
visual merchandising tool (VMT) module 40, as well as any applicable non-user-
editable
rules, for each of the selected stores.
[0139] FIG. 29 is a graphical output of aspects of persistence logic for an
automated store
merchandising (ASM) module 30 of an adjacency mapping system 10 in accordance
with
aspects of this disclosure. FIG. 29 depicts an example of rules that rules
maintenance
application (RMA) module 44 may apply, and in particular a "persistence
criterion", as part
of the processing of ASM module 30 to generate the product subgroup maps.
[0140] The non-user-editable mapping criteria may include "hard constraints",
or mandatory
rules to observe in mapping the subgroups. For example, the mandatory rules
may include a
rule that all sections must be assigned to one and only one subgroup, and a
rule that each
subgroup must be assigned to at least one section. Another mandatory rule may
be that each

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subgroup must be assigned between the minimum and maximum area defined by the
user
inputs.
[0141] The non-user-editable mapping criteria may also include priority rules,
or weighted
rules that are not mandatory but that each carry a priority weighting, which
automated store
merchandising (ASM) module 40 may evaluate relative to priority weightings of
all other
applicable mapping criteria, including both non-user-editable mapping criteria
and user-
editable mapping criteria edited according to the user inputs, in generating a
product
subgroup map.
[0142] One non-user-editable mapping criterion may be a persistence criterion
that places a
relatively high priority on persisting product subgroup mapping positions from
a previous
product subgroup map for a product adjacency group. FIG. 29 helps illustrate
this
persistence criterion. Gondola 470 shows the state of a gondola in a pre-
existing subgroup
mapping, with one subgroup occupying four contiguous planogram sections 472,
474, 476,
478 along one side of the gondola. The other gondola scenarios depicted in
FIG. 29 show a
representative sample of possible states that this subgroup may be mapped to
in the
transition, and how they relate to the original position of this subgroup in
the pre-existing
subgroup mapping.
[0143] Gondola 490 shows the subgroup mapped to a smaller area, of planogram
sections
472, 474, and 476, but that all occupy planogram sections that were occupied
by the
subgroup in gondola 470. Gondola 492 shows the subgroup mapped to a larger
area, of
planogram sections 472, 474, 476, 478, 480, 482, where this larger area
includes all the
planogram sections that this subgroup occupied in the pre-existing subgroup
map. Gondola
494 also shows the shows the subgroup mapped to a larger area, of planogram
sections 472,
474, 476, 478, as well as sections 484, 486, 488 on another gondola side
opposite an aisle
from the original gondola side. In another possible subgroup mapping, the
subgroup could
be unchanged in size and remain in the same four planogram sections as in
gondola 470.
[0144] In each of these options, the persistence criterion would be valued at
a 100%
persistence rating. The rules for the persistence criterion recognize that a
subgroup may
often be mapped to a smaller or larger total area, but the persistence
criterion does not
penalize this. Instead, the persistence criterion gives its highest rating,
i.e. a 100% rating, to
a mapping option that involves the minimum possible relocation of sections
(i.e. planogram



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sections) given any changes in total area. If the total area devoted to a
subgroup in a new
mapping is smaller or larger than the pre-existing area, then keeping the
subgroup in at least
the same sections as much as possible qualifies for as much persistence as is
available given
the expansion or reduction in area devoted to that subgroup.
[0145] Gondola 496 shows another option in which the subgroup is mapped to
sections 474,
476, 478, 480. In this option, the subgroup is mapped out of one pre-existing
section, section
472, and mapped into one new section, section 480. This option therefore
involves a
violation of persistence, in that some of the subgroup is mapped to a new
section without
being necessitated by an expansion in its area. This option still has partial
persistence
though, in that three of the sections for this subgroup are left alone. This
option is therefore
given a partial score for its persistence value according to the persistence
criterion. This
partial score may be calculated as the percentage of merchandising sections or
area that are
persisted without the lack of persistence being necessitated by a change in
area, i.e. a score of
75% in this case.
[01461 In the example of gondola 498, there is no actual persistence of any
planogram
sections, although at least the subgroup has been remapped to planogram
sections in the same
aisle as their previous position. Since this represents a relatively minor
product movement
relative to moving to a completely different aisle, a persistence criterion
may still count this
repositioning as having a relatively low but non-zero persistence score, such
as 10%, for
example. If a mapping option would have a subgroup remapped to a completely
different
aisle, this would be awarded a very low persistence value, such as 0%.
[0147] In various examples, the ASM module 30 may apply the mapping criteria
in a
hierarchy. For example, ASM module 30 may determine the area, in terms of
footage, to
assign to each of the product subgroups, as the first priority, and apply the
persistence
criterion in how the subgroups are positioned as the second priority, and then
apply all other
criteria as tertiary priorities. In this example, even when the footage is
changed for various
product subgroups, the ASM module 30 ensures that the amount of movement of
products is
relatively minimal within the demands of the changes in footage for various
subgroups. The
system may also provide user options for pro-persistence mapping overrides,
such as an
option to override subgroup mapping to carry forward or override subgroup
mapping to basic
reset, each of which may be applied to any one or more product subgroups and
to any one or

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more stores. Subgroups selected for a carry forward are omitted from subgroup
remapping
and are instead persisted from their previous mapping to the new mapping, in
the selected
stores. Subgroups selected for a basic reset are similarly omitted from
subgroup remapping
and instead persisted from their previous mapping to the new mapping, but are
left enabled
for initiating a new planogram within an individual subgroup, so that
particular products as
charted in a planogram within the subgroup may be re-mapped, while the
subgroup itself has
no change in mapping.
[0148] The persistence criterion thus incorporates a recognition of the added
burden involved
in mapping portions of an existing product subgroup out of one or more
planogram sections
and into new planogram sections, which would induce added labor and added
logistical
complexity in the form of removing lots of products from merchandising
fixtures in one
place and moving those products over to new positions. Given the many relevant
criteria and
constraints to balance in mapping subgroups according to new adjacency mapping
criteria, it
can be surprisingly common for the same subgroup to be mapped from one or more
planogram sections to one or more new planogram sections, and surprisingly
difficult to
avoid a proliferation of shifting products around from one position to another
when
subgroups are mapped according to a variety of other mapping criteria in what
is meant to be
a balanced set of mapping criteria.
[0149] Implementing a persistence criterion with a high priority therefore
incorporates the
insight that avoiding unnecessary shifting of products from one position to
another has a high
importance respective to product subgroup mapping criteria overall. A
potential subgroup
mapping that may be optimized or ideal if starting from scratch may not
provide enough
benefit to outweigh the burden of shifting products around when given the
initial conditions
of the pre-existing subgroup map. Remapping product subgroups, especially to a
completely
different aisle, may also confuse consumers and deter them from being able to
find what they
are looking for, and may therefore erode potential sales. While sales data
such as affinities
and preferences may support a forecast that a particular new subgroup map may
drive a
certain minor percentage of higher sales for certain subgroups, when all
factors are
considered, the forecasted benefit of these affinities may be relatively minor
compared with
the real total cost in terms of added labor, logistical burden, operational
interference, and
consumer confusion involved in high levels of shifting products from one
position to another.

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[01501 The high-priority persistence criterion of this disclosure incorporates
the real total
cost of added labor, logistical burden, operational interference, and consumer
confusion of
shifting products around among nearby merchandising fixtures within an
adjacency, and
incorporates this true cost in the total balancing of applicable criteria in
subgroup mapping.
This high-priority persistence criterion tends to influence product subgroup
mapping to be
more conservative in re-positioning products and tends to generate relatively
minor shifts in
product subgroup maps when they are remapped according to new criteria.
[01511 FIG 30 is a graphical output of an aspect of a user interface 200T for
automated store
merchandising (ASM) runs in an ASM module 30 of an adjacency mapping system 10
in
accordance with aspects of this disclosure. User interface 200T indicates at
UI element 500
that the ASM run was saved successfully. User interface 200T includes a list
of saved or
submitted ASM runs 502, along with selectable options to view the ASM runs in
column 504
and a status column 506. Status column 506 indicates ASM runs as saved or
complete, in
which runs that have already been submitted and completed are listed as
complete.
Submitting a saved ASM run may enable a user to access a graphical output of a
product
subgroup mapping generated by the ASM run, once the ASM run is complete.
[01521 FIG. 31 is a graphical output of an aspect of a user interface 520 for
a reporting
feature for an automated store merchandising (ASM) module 30 of an adjacency
mapping
system 10 in accordance with aspects of this disclosure. User interface 520
includes an ASM
run report title 522, and is configured for user-selectable access to various
types of transition
reporting including an ASM Failure/Exception Report 524 and a Merchandise
Space
Discrepancy report 526. Since an ASM run may include a large number of
conflicting
mapping criteria, it may be impossible to satisfy all the criteria, and the
ASM run may
optimize among the various mapping criteria and their priorities, to generate
as few
exceptions as possible and with as low priority levels as possible. For
example, the ASM
module 30 may assign positive or negative numerical weights to each of the
mapping criteria,
and run the criteria through an optimization process, such as a linear
regression model or
other statistical technique, that maximizes a total value for all of the
weights, or that
minimizes a total penalty for all of the weights, for example. Then, if a user
selects the ASM
Failure/Exception Report 524, this report will show what rules or other
subgroup mapping
criteria were violated in the subgroup mapping, as further detailed in FIG.
33.

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[01531 FIG 32 is a graphical output of an aspect of a user interface 530 for a
transition
reporting feature for an adjacency mapping system 10 in accordance with
aspects of this
disclosure. User interface 530 may provide user-selectable access to any of a
number of
additional types of transition reporting with information on transitions. As
shown in FIG. 32,
these available reports include an Adjacency CBF Data Validation Report, a
Merchandised
Subgroup Detail Report, a Reporting Usage Summary, a Store Audit Trail, a
Store Plan
Change Summary, a Store Status for Transition Report, a Transition Audit
Trail, a Transition
Change Report - Actual, a Transition Change Report - Forecast, and a
Transition Summary
Report, in this example.
[01541 FIG. 33 is a graphical output of an aspect of a user interface 540 for
a reporting
feature for an automated store merchandising (ASM) module 30 of an adjacency
mapping
system 10 in accordance with aspects of this disclosure. When a user selects
an ASM
failure/exception report 524 from among the transition reporting options in
user interface 520
as shown in FIG. 31, the adjacency mapping system 10 may respond by providing
user
interface 540 which displays and describes failures or exceptions to rules or
other subgroup
mapping criteria. User interface 540 shows a strategy column 542, a priority
column 544
showing the priority assigned to each strategy, a description column 546
showing a
description of the rule violation, column 548 that shows the number of stores
having
violations of their mapping, rules, or strategy criteria, and store list
column 550 showing
indications of which specific stores are affected.
[01551 It may be the case that exceptions commonly involve a minority of
stores with non-
standard or unique store layouts, where the store layouts don't lend
themselves as well to
regular treatment by the subgroup mapping process. For example, a store built
in a legacy
retail space may include a high number of fixtures with measurements or
dimensions that
don't conform to standardized fixture dimensions used in the enterprise's
standardized store
layouts. As a specific example, the standardized layouts may be built around
four-foot-wide
planogram sections, with all wall and gondola space being built to accommodate
multiples of
four-foot planogram sections, while the legacy retail space may occupy an
older building
with doors, support beams, and other permanent architectural structures that
pose a high
number of breaks in the merchandising space that result in a high number of
exceptions to
four-foot-wide planogram sections.

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[0156] User interface 540 generally enables a user to see what subgroup
mapping criteria
were violated and why, i.e., what other subgroup mapping, rules, or strategy
criteria were
found to be prioritized higher overall in the weighted balancing of all the
criteria. A user may
consider this information in potentially entering manual overrides of subgroup
maps in some
cases, if the user decides a manual subgroup mapping might be preferable to
the
automatically generated subgroup mapping.
[0157] User interface 540 for an ASM failure/exception report may therefore,
for each of the
failures or exceptions to the subgroup mapping criteria, display a strategy to
which that
subgroup mapping criterion belongs, in strategy column 542, and a strategy
priority of each
of the strategies, in priority column 544. User interface 540 for an ASM
failure/exception
report may also, for each of the failures or exceptions to the subgroup
mapping criteria,
display a number of stores to which the failure or exception is applicable, in
column 548, and
a list of the particular stores to which the failure or exception is
applicable, in column 550.
[0158] FIG. 34 is a graphical output of an aspect of a user interface 200U for
a store status
function of a transition center (TC) module 32 of adjacency mapping system 10
in
accordance with aspects of this disclosure. User interface 200U shows UI
element 562
indicating that a transition has all stores in complete status. Column 560
shows the store
statuses as complete, potentially including all of the selected stores.
[0159] FIG 35 is a graphical output of an aspect of a user interface 570 for a
search function
with a visual merchandising tool (VMT) module 40 of adjacency mapping system
10 in
accordance with aspects of this disclosure. User interface 570 may include a
user-selectable
option to "visualize store plan" for the affected adjacency, i.e., to have the
visual
merchandising tool (VMT) module 40 of the adjacency mapping system 10 provide
a
graphical output of the product subgroup map for the product adjacency group.
User-
selectable option 574 may be used to request the product subgroup map for the
product
adjacency group, while another option is provided to request the product
subgroup maps in
effect for a full store. User interface 570 includes adjacency selection
field, which is selected
for the "Pets" adjacency. Option 578 is for selecting the graphical output
specific to a
transition. Selectable field 582 may be used to select a specific transition,
by the title it is
saved under. Option 584 may be used to select a specific store.



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Docket No.: 201105883
[0160] FIG. 36 is a graphical output of an aspect of a user interface 590 for
search results
with a visual merchandising tool (VMT) module 40 of adjacency mapping system
10 in
accordance with aspects of this disclosure. User interface 590 shows a list of
the product
subgroup maps generated in the transition, for the "Pets" product adjacency
group in each of
the selected stores. The store numbers are listed in column 592, while column
594 indicates
the adjacency as "Pets" in each case, and the column 596 indicates the
selected transition in
each case.
[0161] FIG. 37 is a graphical output of a product subgroup map 116B for an
automatically
merchandised product adjacency group within the store layout of a store, that
may be
provided in a user interface for a visual merchandising tool (VMT) module 40
of an
adjacency mapping system in accordance with aspects of this disclosure. The
newly
generated product subgroup map 116B may be compared with the pre-exi sting
product
subgroup map 116 depicted in FIG. 7. As FIG. 37 shows, rapidly increasing
demand for
healthy diet dog food were incorporated in a high priority for additional
shelf space for
healthy diet dog food, which resulted in an expansion of the healthy diet dog
food product
subgroup 150 from one planogram section to three planogram sections, in this
illustrative
example. This change may be driven by strong signals from sales and marketing
data, so a
high priority was well justified. This expansion necessitated some degree of
reorganization
and contraction among other subgroups. There may also be high priorities
assigned to
keeping each subgroup contiguous instead of splitting them up across aisles or
gondolas or
into other non-contiguous arrangements. This strategy, combined with the three-
fold
expansion of healthy diet dog food product subgroup 150, provided additional
impetus for
reorganization, to accommodate a contiguous space for healthy diet dog food
product
subgroup 150.
[01621 Some subgroups were reorganized in the products assigned to them, such
that the
former "dog bowls and accessories" subgroup 140, "puppy beds" subgroup 148,
and "dog
toys" subgroup 158 were reorganized into two new subgroups, "dog bowls and
toys"
subgroup 600 and "puppy beds and accessories" subgroup 602. Internal subgroup
reorganization, of the products assigned to a particular subgroup, may be
allowed or
disallowed, and may be done according to automated rules following different
levels of
hierarchical relatedness, or manually.

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[0163] A high priority was also assigned to expanding the rawhide snack
subgroup 156,
motivated by sales and marketing data that also showed increasing demand for
this subgroup,
and which resulted in rawhide snack subgroup receiving an increased allotment
of three
planogram sections from two, in this example. Dog treats subgroup 152 and
rawhide snacks
subgroup 156 had a high-priority side-by-side affinity, which resulted in
these two subgroups
being positioned side-by-side on one gondola side, and a similar high-priority
side-by-side
affinity resulted in the dog bowls and toys subgroup 600 and the puppy beds
and accessories
subgroup 602 being positioned side-by-side.
[01641 A high priority persistence criterion resulted in some cases of
subgroups persisting in
the same sections, at least as much as possible given changes in total space
allotted to them.
Dog treats subgroup 152 remained persistent in its three sections, and this
combined with its
high priority side by side affinity for the rawhide snacks subgroup 156 to
result in rawhide
snacks being repositioned next to dog treats subgroup 152. ABC brand dog food
subgroup
142 and XYZ brand dog food subgroup 144 were both remapped to reduced areas,
bearing
the reduction needed to expand the healthy diet dog food subgroup 150 and the
rawhide
snacks subgroup 156, but ABC brand dog food subgroup 142 and XYZ brand dog
food
subgroup 144 were both remapped to reduced areas entirely overlapping their
previous areas.
This option was rated at a 100% score for the persistence criterion, and so
was a highly
favored option.
[0165] On the other hand, a strong priority was also placed on a side-by-side
affinity of
canned dog food subgroup 146 with any other dog food sub-shop subgroup, and
this rule,
combined with all the other factors being balanced together in the remapping
of the "Pets"
adjacency, resulted in the canned dog food subgroup 146 being entirely
relocated from its
previous position to a new position adjacent XYZ brand dog food subgroup 144.
However,
since the new position for canned dog food subgroup 146 is still in the same
aisle as its
previous position, it still received a low but non-zero score on the
persistence criterion, which
helped enable this move, whereas a move to an entirely different aisle and a
persistence
rating of 0% might not have been possible in the total factor balancing
performed by
automated adjacency mapping system 10.

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[01661 FIG. 38: Example method of operation
[01671 FIG. 38 is a flowchart illustrating an example method of operation 700
of an
adjacency mapping system of this disclosure, such as adjacency mapping system
10 of FIG. 1
and the various aspects depicted in and described with reference to FIGS. 2-
37. By
performing method 700, elements of an adjacency mapping system may generate a
product
subgroup map for a product adjacency group.
[01681 Method 700 may illustratively be discussed in terms of operations or
functions
performed by a device, such as the various server devices and other computing
devices
described above. In performing method 700, a device may provide a user
interface, such as
subgroup mapping transition center user interface 16 of FIG. 1 and 200A-T of
FIGS. 8-34,
configured for presenting data on product subgroups for a product adjacency
group and
receiving user inputs associated with user-editable mapping criteria for
mapping the product
subgroups in the product adjacency group (702).
[01691 The device may provide and configure a user interface by sending data
to the user
interface from a separate computing device than the computing device that
renders the user
interface, as in the case of the device being a server device running a web
application, for
example. The device may also provide and configure a user interface by
rendering the user
interface, based on data the device either receives from one or more separate
computing
resources, as in the case of a client computing device accessing a web
application, or based
on data the device generates itself, potentially with the use of data accessed
from other
computing resources, as in the case of a computing device running a local
application, for
example. Thus, in a client-server context running a web application
implementation, both the
server device and the client device may perform or embody method 700, in
addition to a
single computing device that may perform or embody method 700 in the context
of a
computing device running its own local application.
[01701 The device may configure the user interface with indications of the
product subgroups
that are user-selectable for editing the user-editable mapping criteria of the
product
subgroups (704), such as the subgroup mapping transition center user interface
200A, 200B
as depicted in FIGS. 8 and 9. The device may receive one or more user inputs
indicating one
or more user-selected product subgroups from among the product subgroups
(706), as
illustratively depicted in FIGS. 8, 9, 12, 13, 14, and 15. The device may
configure the user

48


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Docket No.: 201105883
interface with user-selectable options for editing the user-editable mapping
criteria of the
product subgroups, and for assigning priority values to the user-editable
mapping criteria
(708), as illustratively depicted in FIGS. 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, and 22. The
device may receive
one or more user inputs for each of the user-editable mapping criteria (710),
as also depicted
in the examples of FIGS. 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, and 22.
[0171] The device may then generate a combined set of mapping criteria for the
one or more
user-selected product subgroups based on the one or more user inputs for each
of the user-
editable mapping criteria and one or more non-user-editable mapping criteria
stored in a
mapping rules data store, wherein the one or more non-user-editable mapping
criteria
comprise a persistence criterion that places a high priority on persisting
product subgroup
mapping positions from a previous product subgroup map for the product
subgroup (712).
The device may also generate a product subgroup map for the one or more user-
selected
product subgroups based on the combined set of mapping criteria for the one or
more user-
selected product subgroups and a set of physical store layout data for at
least one store (714).
The device may then provide a graphical output of the product subgroup map for
the product
adjacency group (716), such as product subgroup map 116B for the "Pets"
adjacency group
in the example depicted in FIG. 37. The device may then generate a report for
the product
subgroup map for the product adjacency group (718), such as any of the
transitioning
reporting depicted in and described in connection with FIGS. 31-33, for
example.
[0172] Aspects of the present invention are described herein with reference to
flowchart
illustrations and/or block diagrams of methods, apparatus (systems) and
computer program
products according to embodiments of the invention. It will be understood that
each block of
the flowchart illustrations and/or block diagrams, and combinations of blocks
in the
flowchart illustrations and/or block diagrams, can be implemented by computer
program
instructions. These computer program instructions may be provided to a
processor of a
general purpose computer, special purpose computer, or other programmable data
processing
apparatus to produce a machine, such that the instructions, which execute via
the processor of
the computer or other programmable data processing apparatus, may create means
for
implementing the functions/acts specified in the flowchart and/or block
diagram block or
blocks.

49


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[0173] These computer program instructions may also be stored in a computer
readable
medium that can direct a computer, other programmable data processing
apparatus, or other
devices to function in a particular manner, such that the instructions stored
in the computer
readable medium produce an article of manufacture including instructions which
implement
the function/act specified in the flowchart and/or block diagram block or
blocks. The
computer program instructions may also be loaded onto a computer, other
programmable
data processing apparatus, or other devices to cause a series of operational
steps to be
performed on the computer, other programmable apparatus or other devices, to
produce a
computer implemented process such that the instructions which execute on the
computer or
other programmable apparatus provide or embody processes for implementing the
functions
or acts specified in the flowchart and/or block diagram block or blocks.
[0174] The flowchart and block diagrams in the figures illustrate the
architecture,
functionality, and operation of possible implementations of devices, methods
and computer
program products according to various embodiments of the present disclosure.
in this regard,
each block in the flowchart or block diagrams may represent a module, segment,
or portion
of code, which includes one or more executable instructions for implementing
the specified
logical function(s). It should also be noted that, in some implementations,
the functions
noted in the block may occur out of the order noted in the figures. For
example, two blocks
shown in succession may, in fact, be executed substantially concurrently, or
the blocks may
be executed in a different order, or the functions in different blocks may be
processed in
different but parallel threads, depending upon the functionality involved.
Each block of the
block diagrams and/or flowchart illustration, and combinations of blocks in
the block
diagrams and/or flowchart illustration, may be implemented by special purpose
hardware-
based systems that perform the specified functions or acts, or combinations of
special
purpose hardware and computer instructions.
[0175] Aspects of this disclosure may be equally applicable and implemented in
any browser
or operating system, and using any other APIs, frameworks, or toolsets.
Aspects described
herein for transmission, decoding, and rendering of data for video output or
video content,
which may be considered interchangeably herein with media output or media
content that
also includes audio output or audio content, may make use of any protocol,
standard, format,



CA 02798627 2012-12-17

Docket No.: 201105883
codec, compression format, HTML element, or other technique or scheme for
encoding,
processing, decoding, rendering, or displaying an audio output or a video
output.
[0176] Various techniques described herein may be implemented in hardware,
software,
firmware, or any combination thereof. Various features described as modules,
units or
components may be implemented together in an integrated logic device or
separately as
discrete but interoperable logic devices or other hardware devices. In some
cases, various
features of electronic circuitry may be implemented as one or more integrated
circuit devices,
such as an integrated circuit chip or chipset.
[0177] If implemented in hardware, this disclosure may be directed to an
apparatus such as a
processor or an integrated circuit device, such as an integrated circuit chip
or chipset.
Alternatively or additionally, if implemented in software or firmware, the
techniques may be
realized at least in part by a computer-readable data storage medium
comprising instructions
that, when executed, cause a processor to perform one or more of the methods
described
above. For example, the computer-readable data storage medium may store such
instructions
for execution by a processor.
[0178] A computer-readable medium may form part of a computer program product,
which
may include packaging materials. A computer-readable medium may comprise a
computer
data storage medium such as random access memory (RAM), read-only memory
(ROM),
non-volatile random access memory (NVRAM), electrically erasable programmable
read-
only memory (EEPROM), flash memory, magnetic or optical data storage media,
and the
like. In various examples, an article of manufacture may comprise one or more
computer-
readable storage media.
[0179] In various examples, the data storage devices and/or memory may
comprise
computer-readable storage media that may comprise non-transitory media. The
term "non-
transitory" may indicate that the storage medium is not embodied in a carrier
wave or a
propagated signal. In certain examples, a non-transitory storage medium may
store data that
can, over time, change (e.g., in RAM or cache). Machine-readable code may be
stored on the
data storage devices and/or memory, and may include executable instructions
that are
executable by at least one processor. "Machine-readable code" and "executable
instructions"
may refer to any form of software code, including machine code, assembly
instructions or
assembly language, bytecode, software code in C, or software code written in
any higher-

51


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level programming language that may be compiled or interpreted into executable
instructions
that may be executable by at least one processor, including software code
written in
languages that treat code as data to be processed, or that enable code to
manipulate or
generate code. Various techniques described herein may be implemented in
software that
may be written in any of a variety of languages, making use of any of a
variety of toolsets,
frameworks, APIs, programming environments, virtual machines, libraries, and
other
computing resources, as indicated above. For example, software code for
implementing
various aspects of this disclosure may be written in Java, C, C++, Python,
Ruby, Scala,
Clojure, or any other language.
[0180] In various examples, a merchandise presentation planning web
application may be
written in Java and be configured to provide content in JavaScript in the
user's browser on a
client computing device. For example, the web application may include
functionality to
generate HTML in Java and JavaScript, and to access JavaScript libraries for
supporting
DOM and AJAX functions in the browser of the client computing device. In other
examples,
all or portions of the web application may also be written in Python, Ruby,
Clojure, or any
other programming language. In other examples, a merchandise presentation
planning
application may run directly on the client computing device.
[0181] The code or instructions may be software and/or firmware executed by
processing
circuitry including one or more processors, such as one or more digital signal
processors
(DSPs), general purpose microprocessors, application-specific integrated
circuits (ASICs),
field-programmable gate arrays (FPGAs), or other equivalent integrated or
discrete logic
circuitry. Accordingly, the term "processor" as used herein may refer to any
of the foregoing
structure or any other structure suitable for implementation of the techniques
described
herein. In addition, in some aspects, functionality described in this
disclosure may be
provided within software modules or hardware modules.
[0182] Various examples have been described. These and other examples are
within the
scope of the following claims.

52

A single figure which represents the drawing illustrating the invention.

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Admin Status

Title Date
Forecasted Issue Date Unavailable
(22) Filed 2012-12-17
Examination Requested 2012-12-17
(41) Open to Public Inspection 2013-02-22
Dead Application 2016-04-27

Abandonment History

Abandonment Date Reason Reinstatement Date
2015-04-27 R30(2) - Failure to Respond
2015-12-17 FAILURE TO PAY APPLICATION MAINTENANCE FEE

Payment History

Fee Type Anniversary Year Due Date Amount Paid Paid Date
Special Order $500.00 2012-12-17
Request for Examination $800.00 2012-12-17
Filing $400.00 2012-12-17
Maintenance Fee - Application - New Act 2 2014-12-17 $100.00 2014-12-03
Current owners on record shown in alphabetical order.
Current Owners on Record
TARGET BRANDS, INC.
Past owners on record shown in alphabetical order.
Past Owners on Record
None
Past Owners that do not appear in the "Owners on Record" listing will appear in other documentation within the application.

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