Study: Successful retailers ‘get’ merchandise analytics

BY Dan Berthiaume

Top-performing retailers are much more likely than their peers to understand the value of advanced data in merchandising, according to a new study.

Results of “Mastering The Art Of Merchandising In The Technology Age,” a survey of 143 retailers from Retail Systems Research, indicate that a significantly higher percentage of retail winners say they understand merchandising tools and techniques. The study defines “retail winners” as respondents whose same-store/comparable channel growth rate is above the industry average of 4.5%. Forty-three percent of respondents were classified as winners, while 47% had average or below-average growth rates.

For example, 74% of winners and 40% of all other respondents said they have a “solid understanding” of markdown optimization. Similar discrepancies exist in rates of understanding for integrated merchandise planning, allocation and replenishment (68% vs. 44%), optimization of lifecycle price, assortment, size, and forecasting (68% vs. 41%), and promotion optimization customer analytics (65% vs. 38%).

Retail winners are also quite a bit more likely to think a variety of data-driven merchandising technologies and strategies are “very important” to retail success than other respondents. Key discrepancies follow:

• Localized assortments (81% vs. 49%)
• Integration of business, demand, and supply chain management (79% vs. 56%)
• Dynamic pricing (76% vs. 51%)
• Performance management and analytics (71% vs. 49%)
• Retail forecasting (69% vs. 52%)
• Localized planograms (56% vs. 31%)

Furthermore, retail winners are more likely to disagree with negative statements regarding different aspects of data-driven merchandising. For example:
• All of the industry’s reliance on data is destroying the art of retail (56% vs. 46%).

• Our systems are not capable of the levels of localization that consumers are now demanding (55% vs. 22%).

• Our company is reluctant to consider changing what it considers our core capabilities (53% vs. 41%).

• Competitors like Amazon have so successfully simplified value to mean price and availability that nothing else matters (39% vs. 34%).


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