The upcoming year within the world of retail will be sure to continue the evolution of retail software; I will put to you two interesting retail software trends that look like they will become a vital feature of the retail landscape in the upcoming year and beyond.
- Omni-Channel Planning
As retailers work towards the Omni-Channel model of a seamless holistic customer experience across channels, many have allocated budget to implement a single commerce platform and upgrade customer touch points for point of sale, e-commerce, mobile, catalogue, wholesale and franchisee
However it seems most planning applications have not received the same attention, research highlights that 71% of retailers do not have formal Omni-Channel planning processes. However according to Boston Retail Partners research 44% of retailers questioned indicated that improving analytics is a top priority and 41% plan to upgrade their Omni-Channel demand planning systems within two years.. Our own experience from speaking with many of today’s retailers at multiple Breakfast Briefing’s is that one of the biggest challenges identified was dealing with multiple channels and how to plan them effectively considering all the variables that come into the minds of a buying team during this critical exercise.
Watch this space for further updates on the key challenge retailers face in managing the many facets of Omni-Channel Planning and how we are addressing them through our own retail planning software – Island Pacific SmartPlanning
- Social media-based planning
Social Media impacts every aspect of the majority of consumer’s lives today. The high visibility and impact and the investable power of social media means that for certain retailers it needs to be considered for merchandise planning. Social media is becoming a dynamic mode of retail however retailers are now searching and looking to identify a way to, if possible, use that data effectively to make product decisions.
While social media can be an incredible listening tool, retailers are still working on understanding how this applies to their business. BRP identified that only 6% of retailers currently leverage social media in the planning process and just over 50% looking to leverage it within five years, retailers are still hesitant on how this data can support planning. One of the challenges that need’s to evolve over time is quantifying social media data into product decisions.
When looking at the upcoming year and focus of many retailers in the Planning arena. Two big trends are coming through. Firstly customer focus and the servicing of that customer regardless of channel and whilst operational efficiency have been a priority. Retailers are now looking towards planning systems to help them deal with the fast moving pace of Omni-Channel retailing. Hot on the heels of Omni-Channel planning is looking at how social media can be factored into the planning process .