Despite a rocky economic start, a presidential election and the false hype surrounding an impending retail apocalypse, 2017 ended on a high note. Holiday sales for the months of November and December rose 5.5% over the same period the year before – exceeding the National Retail Federation’s forecast of a 3.6% to 4% increase.
Additionally, the 2017 holiday growth was not limited to a few select retailers or specific verticals – nor were consumers holding back on making big-ticket purchases in home electronics, furniture and appliances.
Now that 2018 is underway, the NRF projects that total retail sales growth for the year will jump between 3.8% and 4.4% compared to 2017. Online and non-store purchases (vending machines and kiosks, for example) will increase between 10% and 12% - although eMarketer puts that figure at nearly 16% with online sales reaching $526.1 billion in 2018. It’s clear that experts have high hopes for the retail industry in 2018, fueled by economic insights such as anticipated labor market growth and lower unemployment rates.
Retailers would be wise to use the upswing to their advantage and invest in technology to make their business as efficient as possible, while helping them better understand who their customers are, what they want and when, and how best to serve them.
Susan Reda, Editor-in-Chief at STORES Magazine, summed it up best in her annual article on what to expect in the year ahead. She suggests that “the path to consumer nirvana in 2018 will consist of unique experiences, transparency, operational efficiencies and a vigilance to reducing pain points in the shopper journey.” This means retailers will have to work hard to find ways that allows them to establish a connection with their evermore demanding, fickle and brand agnostic customers to stand out against the competition. It also means that personalization is high on the list of areas to enhance, and that the overall customer experience must be a major priority in 2018 and beyond.
At JustEnough, we believe customer centricity starts with a better understanding of demand and how to forecast for it, continuously introducing exciting new products with optimized inventory planning, as well as appealing to shoppers with highly tailored and targeted assortments that consider store layout and size. It’s about capturing and acting on data-driven insights that can help transform the way retailers connect with their customer, and thus garner greater market share.
Interested in learning more about our end-to-end, fully integrated retail solutions? Please contact us today to discover how we help hundreds of retailers around the globe resolve their most critical business challenges and thrive.
Be sure to check out the Q2 2017 installment of our quarterly newsletter, InDemand. Each quarter, we feature the newest customers to join the JustEnough family, recent go-lives, thought leadership, relevant media coverage and key developments impacting the retail industry. Below is a brief recap of the articles included in this latest issue:
- Tommy Bahama Goes Live With JustEnough Merchandise Financial Planning
In May 2017, JustEnough Software announced that Tommy Bahama, an island-inspired lifestyle brand, went live with our industry-leading Merchandise Financial Planning solution, which helps top retailers around the world better set sales, margin and inventory targets and manage their open-to-buy budgets. The JustEnough team worked closely with Tommy Bahama on the solution design and implementation timeline to ensure a smooth, on-time installation with minimal disruption to the business. Read more here.
- New Customer: Best Buy
Best Buy offers expert service at an unbeatable price to consumers, small business owners and educators who visit its 1,600 stores throughout the U.S., Canada and Mexico. In 2016, Best Buy embarked on a project to replace its legacy system with a modern advertising and promotion management solution. Best Buy ultimately selected an enterprise-wide, onsite license of JustEnough Promotion Management for its flexible approach to the advertising and promotion planning process. The JustEnough solution is expected to go live in early 2018.
- Going Live: Vans and The North Face
Vans and The North Face, both of which belong to the VF Corporation brand portfolio, selected JustEnough Allocation, Inventory Planning, Replenishment, Demand Forecasting and Profiling solutions in 2016. Recently, Vans and The North Face went live with JustEnough Allocation, which leverages allocation rules to model performance criteria and ultimately determine the best placement of stock. The remaining JustEnough solutions will continue to be deployed at both companies over the next year.
- Coming Back For More: Ackermans
Ackermans, a South African-based value retailer, has leveraged the JustEnough Demand Forecasting and Replenishment solutions for more than 10 years to address inventory management needs and reduce stock-outs. Ackermans recently selected JustEnough’s best-in-class Allocation solution to replace a legacy in-house solution; the implementation will begin this summer.
- JustEnough In The News: RIS News
In May, RIS News published a byline by JustEnough, which offers six strategies to help retailers improve in-season planning and address exception management variation. Making exception management a critical aspect of their end-to-end planning and execution process gives businesses the ability to understand why an item is selling above or below expectation – and thus avoid the costly pitfalls of having too much or too little stock on hand. Check out the JustEnough byline in RIS News here.
- Our Solutions
Want to learn more about JustEnough’s innovative product offering? Check out two new solution brochures, which were featured in this issue of InDemand:
- OnCloud vs. OnSite:
At JustEnough, we understand that retailers need simple solutions to help them increase sales and margins and grow customer satisfaction with a seamless shopping experience – all while reducing stock-outs, markdowns and overall inventory costs. We offer both OnCloud and OnSite installations of our solutions. Whichever option you decide is right for your business, the best-in-class functionality and ease of use they offer remains the same. Learn more here.
- Cloud Computing Capacity:
Our OnCloud offering leverages the power of compute node scaling, also known as n-tier architecture. In response to rising demand, the JustEnough platform can automatically add nodes to provide more processing power to get work done in as little time as possible. As such, users benefit from exceptional reliability, scalability and performance. In addition, our OnCloud partners now also include Google Cloud Platform and Amazon Web Services, in addition to Microsoft and Rackspace Hosting. Read more here.
- Innovative Thinking: Six Steps to a Seamless Software Implementation
Smart retailers recognize that implementing new software can supercharge their businesses. But they also dread doing it, knowing that the devil is in the details when it comes to introducing unfamiliar technology to their teams and making it part of their infrastructure. However, a retailer that prepares properly before embarking on it can make sure that the implementation ultimately achieves what it wants. In this newest thought leadership article, JustEnough offers six tips to help companies navigate a smooth software implementation. Learn more here.
Click here to access the Q2 2017 issue of InDemand. Previous editions can be found here. Contact us today to learn more about JustEnough’s integrated, end-to-end suite of planning solutions support many of the world’s leading retailers.
In May, RIS News and Consumer Goods Technology (CGT) published findings from their joint “Analytics Study 2017,” an annual look at how retailers and consumer goods companies are faring in their effort to build insights-driven organizations. In today’s blog post, we’ll explore the findings from the report, which – unsurprisingly – found that most retailers and CG companies are struggling to improve their analytics in the face of rapid marketplace change. In fact, roughly one-third of retailers and CG companies alike indicate they have only basic analytics in place, and only 26% of retailers and 27% of CG companies say they are doing basic reporting.
While it appears that small to mid-size CG companies are generally further along in analytics, the three overarching obstacles all organizations face are: finding ways to collect better data; cleaning and managing the data; and onboarding the right tools, talent and processes to make better, data-driven decisions. Overcoming these obstacles means addressing the following challenges, according to the report:
- Hiring the Right Talent:
Both CG companies and retailers struggle with bringing together the right professionals with skill sets that help them get a handle on their data. There are two parts to the equation, the first being that the companies do not have enough of the right people to analyze the data. The second is that even if all the data is being collected, retailers and CG organizations may not have the right talent in place to translate it into actionable insights. Despite this setback, the study found that onboarding the right people remains a low priority in 2017, with 68% of retailers and 83% of CG companies indicating they have no immediate plans to hire a chief analytics/insights officer to help close the talent gap. Nor are most retailers (57%) and CG companies (62%) planning to hire statisticians anytime soon.
- Addressing Decentralization:
Currently, both CG companies and retailers place oversight of analytical resources within the departments that use them instead of viewing them as a shared service. This can result in an increase in shadow spending, with 48% of CG companies and 26% of retailers reporting that they purchased analytics software outside the IT budget in 2016. As such, a centralized analytics approach with unified spending not only ensures all departments are working off the same set of data, it can result in a financial gain for the company.
- Expanding data sharing capabilities:
This year’s study shows that both retailers and CG companies both agree that inventory, promotion performance and POS data is the most widely shared, and that weekly or daily sharing is most common. The report suggests that while the sharing of these well-established data types is becoming an industry standard, the focus – and the biggest challenge – for retailers and CG companies is figuring out how to use data to better understand their customers. Despite the widely acknowledged benefits that data sharing can have – from better demand forecasts to lower inventory levels to better on-shelf availability –some retailers are still skeptical about sharing data or prefer to charge their partners a fee for access to it. Fully 70% of retailers do not share online customer behavior data, and just over half do not part with loyalty/CRM, pricing and online sales data.
There is hope for CG companies, however: a McKinsey survey mentioned in the RIS News and CGT report found that CG leaders in their categories are far more likely to receive full-basket and shopper-panel data from their retail partners – and some even receive loyalty-card and coupon-redemption information. This speaks volumes about the power that digitally empowered consumers wield when it comes to disrupting traditional approaches to managing the supply chain. Although retailers and CG companies are undoubtedly working hard to keep up with a moving target, they are continuously challenged to adapt to new demands.
In my next blog post, we’ll further explore how far retailers, in particular, have come over the last year in overhauling their analytics approach. Spoiler alert: they’ve made progress across the board, especially in terms of data management, data quality and analytics tools. In the meantime, check out the full RIS News and CGT study here. Contact us today to learn how our data-driven, fully integrated suite of planning solutions supports many of the world’s foremost retailers.
This week, we announced via press release that retail powerhouse Tommy Bahama has gone live with our Merchandise Financial Planning solution in a JustEnough-led implementation. The solution allows top retailers around the world better set sales, margin and inventory targets, as well as manage their open-to-buy budgets.
Tommy Bahama is well-known for being an island-inspired lifestyle brand, which has evolved from a wholesale-only operation to an organization comprising just under 170 domestic and international retail stores, restaurants and a robust e-commerce site. But the demands of a multi-channel retail organization led Tommy Bahama to the conclusion that it needed to replace outdated systems with proven technology.
The organization turned to JustEnough to help it resolve this issue. Ultimately, Tommy Bahama selected our fully integrated Merchandise Financial Planning, Allocation and Assortment Planning solutions on a cloud-based model to help it better manage by exception, move inventory throughout the supply chain, and deliver planning and process consistency across multiple channels.
Tommy Bahama elected to partner with the JustEnough implementation team on a phased installation, starting with Merchandise Financial Planning. We worked closely with Tommy Bahama’s planners to develop a solution design. After a smooth, on-time installation with minimal disruption to the business, Tommy Bahama went live with the solution in early spring.
You can read more about Tommy Bahama’s Merchandise Financial Planning go-live here. Contact us today to learn how our best-in-class suite of planning solutions support many of the world’s foremost retailers.
Last week, we issued the Q1 2017 installment of our quarterly newsletter, InDemand, which highlights new thought leadership, articles about customer successes and key developments impacting the retail industry. In case you missed it, below is a brief recap of what was included in this latest issue:
- New Thought Leadership: How to Improve In-Season Planning
Despite efforts by retailers to build and execute bulletproof pre-season merchandise plans, the market is variable and customers are fickle. In a new JustEnough byline, we discuss how exception management, supported by a variety of business intelligence tools and reporting mechanisms, can help organizations better navigate and react to variances in the plan. Read more here.
- New Customer: Cole Haan
Cole Haan has 120 stores in the U.S. and another 80 in Japan that are serviced by a newly established global Planning & Allocation department. Cole Haan sought more modern solutions to support its planning team and take the place of a failed planning system that forced the company to revert back to the use Excel. Cole Haan selected JustEnough Allocation and Merchandise Financial Planning for their ease of use and advanced functionality. Solution design is currently underway for Allocation, which expected to go live before the 2017 holiday season. The Merchandise Financial Planning deployment is slated for late 2017. Capgemini, a JustEnough partner, will perform the implementations.
- Implementation Success: Tommy Bahama
Tommy Bahama selected JustEnough Merchandise Financial Planning, Allocation and Assortment Planning for their ability to manage by exception, leverage inventory throughout the supply chain, as well as deliver planning and process consistency across all product divisions and channels. Tommy Bahama embarked on a phased solution rollout with JustEnough, beginning with Merchandise Financial Planning on a cloud-based model. The JustEnough team worked closely with the retailer on solution design and an implementation timeline. After a smooth, non-disruptive and on-time installation, Tommy Bahama went live with the solution in early March 2017.
- JustEnough In The News: The Record
The winter 2016 issue of The Record, the best of enterprise technology on the Microsoft platform, featured a JustEnough byline on creating customer-centric assortments, as well as a sidebar highlighting the success outdoor retailer Katmandu has realized using JustEnough technology to support its 160 brick-and-mortar stores and e-commerce business. Access the winter 2016 issue of The Record here.
- Research Reports
InDemand featured two new JustEnough-sponsored research report, including RIS News’ “Retail IQ: Driving Revenue and Increased Engagement With Advanced Promotions Management” report, which featured a Q&A with JustEnough’s Dan Pahomi on page 6; and Boston Retail Partners’ “2016 Merchandise Planning Benchmark Survey,” an annual survey that explores the current state of retail planning. View these reports, as well as access other JustEnough-sponsored research, here.
- Industry Recognition: Supply & Demand Chain Executive’s 2017 Pros to Know
Keith Whaley, JustEnough’s Vice President of Retail Strategy, was named in Supply & Demand Chain Executive’s prestigious 2017 Provider Pros to Know list. Keith was selected from a pool of more than 300 applicants for his expertise in supporting omni-channel inventory planning and management across multi-tiered supply chains at some of the world’s biggest brands that leverage JustEnough. Read the press release here, and be sure to check out Keith’s blog post.
Click here to access the Q1 2017 issue of InDemand. Previous editions can be found here. Contact us today to learn more about JustEnough’s integrated, end-to-end suite of planning solutions support many of the world’s leading retailers.
Unified commerce is a concept on the mind of most of today’s retail executives. It’s a step beyond omni-channel, endeavoring to serve consumers when, where and however they prefer to make a purchase by taking systems once siloed based on different channels and merging them onto a single data set.
According to a recent IHL study published in RIS News, 86% of software spending in retail organizations is going toward the five pillars of unified commerce: store systems, merchandising/supply chain, business intelligence/analytics, sales and marketing, and e-commerce systems. Advanced organizations understand these functions must be aligned to compete in today’s dynamic and swiftly changing retail environment.
Over the next few weeks, we’ll dive deeper into the findings of the 2017 Unified Commerce Landscape report, which correlated sales growth against 15 various commerce strategies being used by more than 90 retailers across the U.S. and U.K. When asked about their priorities, the research found that retailers of all levels of success are focusing on three key areas in 2017: improving customer loyalty, creating a seamless shopping experience and creating a “wow” experience at the store.
The key difference between retailers that demonstrated strong sales growth and those that didn’t is the balance between those three above-mentioned priorities. Retail “winners,” as the report describes them, are thinking about these areas simultaneously and in a more balanced way. IT spend is another indication – retailers that are willing to make investments in systems to improve the overall customer experience tend to be those that are on the more successful end of the spectrum. Among general merchandise retailers, there is another area of consideration this year: providing actionable analytics to store associates to help them make better decisions at the point of customer interaction.
If we look closer at the impact IT spend has on sales growth, the report indicated that retail winners across all segments spent nearly 70% more on IT as a percentage of revenue in 2016 compared to their less-successful counterparts. IHL also pointed to differences when it comes to planning for budget growth: retail winners across all segments are increasing their total IT spend at a rate of 87% faster than the laggards. Among food, drug, convenience and mass merchant retailers, that figure jumps to a whopping 107%. Finally, retail winners across all segments are hiking up their store-level IT spend at a rate of 133% faster than the laggards.
Next time, we’ll explore the systems that constitute the building blocks of unified commerce. In the meantime, read the full report here, and contact JustEnough today to learn more about our integrated, end-to-end suite of planning solutions support many of the world’s leading retailers.