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Survey: Merchandisers plan for omnichannel complexity


Current retail planning systems may be out-of-date and not effectively addressing requirements for an omnichannel planning environment.

According to the new Boston Retail Partners’ 2015 Merchandise Planning Benchmark Survey, many retailers are using planning applications designed for old retail business models. Results show a large percentage of these systems were installed in the late 1990s or early 2000s.

For example, 63% of retailers plan to upgrade or replace their merchandise planning systems within two years. Fifty-eight percent of respondents indicated that improving analytics is their top priority for 2016. While 50% of retailers have implemented integrated merchandising plans (such as financial plans, promotional calendars, planning teams and assortment plans), most of these retailers indicate they need improvement. Forty-nine percent still maintain separate inventories for each channel.

Looking at current usage of some advanced technologies for merchandise planning, the study found that 75% of retailers use advanced analytics for merchandise planning. However, fewer use advanced analytics for store planning (45%), assortment planning (40%) and omnichannel planning (20%).

And while 71% of retailers indicated that they capture customer feedback via social media, only 23% are using social media for product planning.

“Stores are under siege from other channels and unfortunately, dealing with outdated and ineffective systems to address the complex planning process that is required in an omnichannel environment,” said Ken Morris, principal, Boston Retail Partners. “All of this negatively impacts the customer experience and, ultimately sales. 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.”

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