Savvy retailers know their current planning tools are not capable of supporting the unified commerce environment necessary to satisfy today’s customers, according to a new report from Boston Retail Partners (BRP). The firm’s 2016 Merchandise Planning Survey reveals that retailers understand that merchandise needs to be available across channels—but this makes planning exponentially more complex and challenging.
Today’s retailers wrestle with a myriad of business and IT issues as they strive for an efficient and effective omnichannel environment. The common issues include: current organization structure is not set up to plan and support an omnichannel environment; planning applications are ineffective and not integrated; and the current environment can’t support the complex analysis of the high volume of data required to optimize planning decisions and meet customer demand.
“While unified commerce is the desired model to which most retailers strive, planning organizations are struggling with the current lack of system, process and organization integration to support the necessary model,” said Gene Bornac, vice president at BRP, in a news release. “The good news is that retailers recognize that there is a problem and there are a number of very good tools available to address the current planning needs. The bad news is that getting the budget and resource commitments to upgrade systems is a huge challenge.”
The new study of top North American retailers offers insights into retailers’ current state of merchandise planning and their priorities and challenges as they strive to meet the needs of today’s omnichannel customer. Key findings from the survey include:
What are retailers doing today?
- 71% do not have formal omnichannel demand planning processes
- 38% plan brick-and-mortar as an individual channel
- 44% have integrated planning teams but 86% need improvement
How can retailers overcome today’s obstacles?
- 44% indicate that improving analytics is a top priority
- 21% indicate that disparate systems and process challenges are the biggest planning obstacles
- 41% plan to upgrade their omni-channel demand planning systems within two years
What integration issues are retailers facing?
- 63% have integrated the planning organization across channels but 75% need improvement
- 70% have integrated planning business processes across channels but 83% need improvement
- 53% have integrated planning systems across channels but 77% need improvement
Source: PRWeb; edited by Richard Carufel