Over the last few weeks, I have been highlighting the findings of a survey conducted by Boston Retail Partners (BRP) that identified the top merchandise planning priorities for 2016. This JustEnough sponsored report indicates retailers’ desire to further enhance their planning systems to cater to today’s omni-channel environment and become more customer-centric in their overall planning strategy.
The last two blogs covered the number one priority – Improving Analytics, as well as assortment-related priorities. Today I’ll highlight two priorities focused on merchandising.
Enhance Merchandise Planning
While 91 percent of retailers surveyed report they have a formal merchandise planning process in their organization, they are looking to break out of the linear (annual, quarterly, monthly, weekly) and disparate planning cycles. Many retailers are utilizing legacy merchandising systems that do not provide the capability for agile planning processes. More than one-third of the retailers surveyed said enhancing merchandise planning was a top priority as they need merchandising tools that can account for alternate metrics and hierarchies and allow them to make real-time adjustments throughout the season based on performance. With 63 percent of retailers planning to upgrade or replace these systems in the next two years, retailers acknowledge the critical need for enhanced capabilities to meet their omni-channel customers’ demands.
Decrease Merchandise Decision Lead Times
Consumers now have almost instant access to the latest trends from the runway with “fast fashion” and want to wear those trends as soon as possible. Retailers with more agile systems that allow for better, faster decision making can keep lead times shorter and reduce the need to commit to all their stock in advance of each season. They’re able to respond to changes swiftly to introduce new lines. As a result of quicker inventory availability, consumers are beginning to expect this from non-apparel retailers as well. The pressure to have the right inventory at the right place, channel and time is mounting for every retailer.
JustEnough Can Help You Enhance Merchandise Planning and Improve Decision Making
JustEnough’s Merchandising Planning solution allows for the incorporation of key metrics into the planning process - including inventory, channels, sales, time periods and customer preferences. The result is that retailers achieve an optimized balance between categories and assortments to maximize sales and margins. With JustEnough, users can plan multiple brands, channels and currencies - all in one view. Contact us to learn more about how we can help you improve your merchandise planning capabilities.
The Top 10 Merchandise Planning Priorities
The report identified ten merchandise planning priorities listed below. I will continue to outline the rest in upcoming blog posts:
- Improve Analytics – 58%
- Reduce Markdowns – 36%
- Better Integrate Assortments and Space Planning – 36%
- Enhance Merchandise Planning – 33%
- Enhance Assortments – 22%
- Decrease Merchandising Decision Lead Times – 22%
- Improve Execution Response Time – 22%
- Improve Product Availability – 19%
- Improve Demand Forecast Accuracy – 19%
- Improve Demand Planning Capabilities – 19%
Download the complete report here.