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Survey: Retailer use of social media for product development grows 550%


Boston -- The current use of social media data by retailers for merchandise planning is limited, with only 39% using it for product development and only 35% using it for promotional planning.

However, according to Boston Retail Partners’ 2014 Merchandise Planning and Allocation Survey, this is up significantly from its 2013 survey with a 550% increased use of social media for product development and a 190% increased use for promotional planning.

Only 8% of retailers incorporate social media data (including preferences, affinities, and trends) into business intelligence (BI) tools to utilize within the planning process. Other notable findings include:

26% of retailers have real-time visibility of in-store/online inventory, while 65% have some visibility across channels and 9% have no visibility across channels.

Only 8% of respondents have a working cross-channel forecasting method, 24% implemented but still need improvement and the remaining 49% plan to implement in the next three years.

79% of retailers use BI for merchandise planning, 54% use BI for assortment planning and 50% each use BI for store planning and store allocation.

89% of retailers have formal merchandise/financial planning processes, 67% have formal store planning processes and 58% have formal allocation planning processes.

33% of retailers use CRM data to feed their BI tools.

“More merchants are tapping customer insights from innovative sources to optimize their assortments,” said Ken Morris, principal at Boston Retail Partners.
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