Boston, MA (PRWEB) October 11, 2012
It’s an exciting time in the world of retail planning. The continued growth of the web along with the proliferation of additional customer touch points creates both new opportunities, as well as new challenges for merchandise, channel, and assortment planning. Today’s Omni-channel customer expects to seamlessly purchase items in the color and size they want across every channel. This puts added pressure on retailers to uphold their brand and provide the optimal assortment while maximizing the return on inventory investment. Boston Retail Partners’ recent survey, 1st Annual Merchandise Planning and Allocation Benchmark Survey: Planning for the Future, delves into some of the ways retailers are managing this and details new tools and methodologies to facilitate the planning process.
“Today’s retailer needs to provide a store specific, tailored assortment to satisfy their Omni-channel customers, regardless of what channel eventually services the sale,” said Ken Morris, Principal of Boston Retail Partners. “This is a tremendously difficult task to accomplish using traditional assortment planning methods. The future of planning sees the ongoing evolution of Business Intelligence and Exception Management as tools to help deal with the sheer volume of data that needs to be analyzed to provide the successful end-to-end planning required at a micro-merchandising level.”
Business Intelligence (BI) is key because it offers retailers the ability to gather, store, analyze, and report on large amounts of data needed to make overall business decisions. Traditional BI lives outside of planning in a data warehouse but some planning software vendors are beginning to integrate components of BI into planning which provides a more predictive approach in generating plans. While the top retailers surveyed currently use BI to assist with planning, there are still opportunities to access BI information within the planning application.
Exception Management is critical because the success of end-to-end planning and execution is dependent on the automation of detailed level processes and the ability to manage the results by exception. While most of the retailers surveyed currently utilize online reporting, they do not utilize exception reporting which is necessary to be able to plan at low levels of detail.
Read about these areas and more within the retail planning process in the 1st Annual Merchandise Planning and Allocation Benchmark Survey available at http://www.bostonretailpartners.com.
Boston Retail Partners is an independent management consulting firm dedicated to the retail industry. We specialize in strategy, selection, and implementation of point-of-sale systems, omni-channel solutions, merchandising systems, supply chain solutions and information technology. Our clients choose us because of our unique combination of industry focus, knowledge-based approach, and rapid, end-to-end solution deployment which helps them achieve their business potential.