Current retail planning systems are out-of-date and don’t effectively address today’s requirements for an omni-channel planning environment, according to Boston Retail Partners’ 2015 Merchandise Planning Benchmark Survey. Many retailers are using planning applications designed for old retail business models with a large percentage of these systems installed in the late 1990s or early 2000s. Fast-forward to today, and many retailers are attempting to meet the needs of a 21st century customer while constrained by 20th century technology.
The good news is that retailers realize the issue and 63% of our survey respondents plan to upgrade or replace their merchandise planning systems within two years. This is just one of the many insights identified in the 2015 Merchandise Planning Survey of top North American retailers. The survey results offer insights into retailers’ current planning initiatives, priorities, and future trends as the retail industry continues its omni-channel transformation.
- Planning systems are outdated – 63% of retailers plan to upgrade or replace their merchandise planning systems within two years
- Analytics is the top priority – 58% of retailers indicated that improving analytics is their top priority for the next year
- Advanced analytics are gaining traction – 75% of retailers use advanced analytics for merchandise planning, however, fewer use advanced analytics for store planning (45%), assortment planning (40%) and omni-channel planning (20%)
- Integrated merchandising plans are not working well – While 50% of retailers have implemented integrated merchandising plans (financial plans, promotional calendars, planning teams and assortment plans), most of these retailers indicate they need improvement
- Separate inventory across channels – 49% of retailers still maintain separate inventories for each channel
- Social media use for merchandise planning is opportunistic – While 71% of retailers indicated that they capture customer feedback via social media, only 23% are using social media for product planning
I encourage you to read the report to learn about other key merchandise planning initiatives and priorities for retailers.
Download the complete report: 2015 Merchandise Planning Benchmark Survey
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