Survey: How much customer insight do merchandisers have?

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Survey: How much customer insight do merchandisers have?

By Dan Berthiaume - 04/09/2019

The “2019 JDA Voice of the Category Manager” survey of 131 North American category management and merchandising professionals in retail and manufacturing reveals that 43% of respondents plan to invest in customer-driven data science in the next five years, a 16% increase from th3 first iteration of the survey in 2017.

About one-quarter of respondents (26%) feel they are very successful when it comes to mining consumer data to generate usable insights, a 50% increase from 2017. Nearly 72% of respondents on average feel that they are somewhat successful.

While 30% of respondents stated that it would take three to six months on average for their company to adjust to new store planning technology, 20% claimed that it would just take one to three months, a nearly 40% increase in two years. More than three-quarters of respondents (78%) believe that implementing new technologies helps retain talent.

The majority of respondents cited path to purchase (60%) and price sensitivity (49%) are the top two consumer behaviors respondents would like to gain additional insight into, which JDA attributes to the rise of e-commerce. Similarly, when asked to identify which processes respondents felt they lacked the most proficiency in, 40% indicated that they are most behind on leveraging artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) for improved pricing and merchandising, and nearly 30% stated analyzing various data sources to gain insight into path to purchase.

The survey also produced some interesting results specific to category manager respondents:

• Category manager respondents plan to prioritize increased adoption of digital technologies (60%) and personalization and localization (54%) in the next year. Automation as a means to do more with less (58%) and consumer insights as a tool to support increased localization, dynamic pricing and improved merchandising (53%) were the top two priorities driving this need for these new technology solutions.

• Sixty-six percent of category manager respondents stated that they plan to supply consumers with health and wellness information in 2019.