In the face of fierce competition, retailers must align planning decisions with demand—especially amidst the advent of online mega retailers that combine competitive pricing with an extremely efficient supply chain. Retailers need to know how they can offer competitive pricing and flexibility in fulfillment while still maintaining solid margins. All this is coupled with the traditional short product life cycles / seasonality, expected high quality at the lost possible price points.
As omni-channels emerge and boundaries are blurring, consumers are demanding online ordering options, endless inventory, multiple modes of ordering/delivery/pick-up and free returns across all channels. In addition, more product categories are migrating online, including tools, appliances, and furniture.
With social media integration, retailers have never had more information about their customers but most struggle to figure out what it all means and are feel increased pressure to turn to analytics. In addition, today’s shoppers are using their smartphones to check competitors’ prices. Determining how to best take advantage of this technology is a tricky puzzle they must solve.