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Survey: How much customer insight do merchandisers have?


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.
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