Positioning of the right products and its spread across the shelf , at the right times can influence shopper demand. However retailers do realize that it depends on a number of variables under the demand forecasting umbrella. This includes marketing, demand in general, geographic and seasonal impacts, visual appeal, gathered and perceived information, etc. With the right information and processes, retailers and suppliers can work together to target the shopper at the point of action, with highly effective promotions. By pursuing a path to consistently influence shopper demand, retailers can target sustainable growth.
Some Key Aspects that Retailers should take care of include:
- Improving product visibility, managing categories and stock inventory based on the influenced demand
- Avoiding out-of-stock situations and also minimizing over stocking due to unrealistic assessments
- Ascertaining that suppliers and manufacturers have the right information to meet the changing shopper demand
- Ensuring that suppliers and manufacturers streamline the retail supply chain and use the shared insights to make the necessary product/category changes
Even after all these, the hidden uncertainty in the perceived demand may bring down the expected sales. This is exactly where retailers need to bring in greater certainty to their demand estimates by installing efficient analytical tools which will drastically reduce ambiguity of demand assessment. Let’s now look at what needs to be done to directly influence shopper demand and improve your profit margins:
Simply put it’s the quality and frequency of data that is shared between retailers and their suppliers that heavily accounts for improved and accurate shopper demand analytics. This calls for establishing analytical processes and relying on predictive tools to give you more accurate product, category and shopper insights; gauging stock replenishment options, speed-to-shelf, category performance analysis, trends, and demographic preferences. Remember those analytics and sharing insights is now more of a strategic proposition rather than a technological implication across the supply path.
Getting More Intelligence
Get information from the supplier network and check for common information and patterns which can be more dependable. Effective and functional analytical tools can not only disseminate this information but also identify ways to improve every stage of the retail supply chain. This will result in faster reaction times to changing shopper demand, thus improving inventory management and minimizing time-to-shelf.
Suppliers should focus on the data coming from the retailers to get improved visibility at the bottom end of the supply chain, they can also pass back analyzed information so that retailers can work on them to create more integrated Omnichannel shopping experiences. Information can help suppliers deliver geography and store-specific products tailored to meet local demands.
Efforts should go in to garner supplier confidence by sharing in-store information and providing greater visibility of in-store realities to the suppliers. This will ensure that the right products fill your aisles and the suppliers coordinate more effectively to ensure greater shopper experience. And, for this to happen, the information window which you open up for the suppliers is really crucial, as it becomes the anchor through which they will look at the shopper. If it matches with their perceptions then you will have faster response towards the whole merchandising process. This is again where analytics plays a crucial role, as it helps you stay relevant and directly influence demand.
Data compatibility is another aspect that needs to be worked on to get tangible results. Retailers have their own way of noting and passing information which may not be synchronous with the supplier’s data collection and storage methodology, leading to loss of data and valuable insights. This is where a process of providing pre-packaged retail insights to the suppliers through a common portal can bring down a few barriers. Standardized processes can be set up cloud platforms which enable easy utilization of actionable information in real-time.
Predictive analytics has grown to a stage where retailers are in a position to inform shoppers about their daily and upcoming needs making shoppers look up to retailers as their personal commodity and budget managers. So it’s not just about accurate analytics for doubling your profits but also about taking the responsibility as a personalized merchandise manager to every shopper.
This will result in sustainable growth for both retailers and suppliers.
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