Merchandise Planning and Allocation Survey for Retail Optimization
Retailers are wrestling with a myriad of business and IT issues. Adding to the already long list, their current planning systems are out-of-date and don’t effectively address today’s requirements for an omni-channel planning environment. Many retailers’ existing planning systems that were developed and installed in the late 1990s are still being used twenty years later. As e-commerce and mobile commerce have become mainstream and customers have come to expect to shop anywhere at any time, new challenges have eclipsed the abilities of these planning applications, which can’t support the complex analysis required to optimize planning decisions and ultimately meet customer demand.
That’s why more than half of retailers are planning to upgrade or replace their planning applications within two years. Boston Retail Partners’ 2015 Merchandise Planning Benchmark Survey explores the current state of retail planning and identifies retailers’ priorities as they attempt to meet the needs of a 21st century customer, despite still being burdened with 20th century technology constraints. The report highlights retailers’ priorities, processes, tools and strategies, and reveals windows of opportunity available to retailers as they evolve into enhanced business models that support the growing need for unified commerce.
While the desire is strong, it’s not easy to replace legacy systems, realign processes, expand associate visions, and completely overhaul traditional processes. Topic areas covered in this year’s survey include:
- Planning in an omnichannel world
- Seamless channel integration
- Organizational rationalization
- Enhanced customer insight
- Advanced analytics
- Pricing strategy
- Technology tools/application effectiveness
Research shows that a majority of retailers recognize that technology is an important component of success, in addition to aligning the organization and its processes. Truly offering customers a seamless experience across all channels requires an enlightened, unified approach.