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With a myriad of products for consumers to choose from, the cross-channel markets available and the ever-increasing expectation of the consumer, retailers are faced with overwhelming challenges to accurately align product selections with consumer preferences. Retailers can no longer use a cookie-cutter assortment approach simply because stores have similar sales volumes and size. Instead retailers need to align assortments with their unique customer base that are influenced by consumer buying patterns.

Mi9 Retail will share best practices that help retailers create localized, consumer-centric assortment plans that will increase profitability and help drive the bottom line.

This webinar will include a live Mi9 Assortment Planning product demonstration and will show how the solution enables retailers to:

  • How to consolidate disparate planning and inventory management processes
  • Create data-driven, customer-centric assortment plans that are aligned to financial and open to buy targets
  • Leverage site clustering, item placeholder logic and other machine learning techniques to seed assortment plans automatically
  • Create a single picture of the assortment plan including new, ongoing, and leftover product that can be managed in-season and continuing into the preseason planning process
  • Optimize Initial and flow receipt quantities down to the size level in order to maximize sales and margin while being strategic with investment in inventory coming into the supply chain

The post On-Demand Webinar: How to Create Localized, Consumer-Centric Assortment Plans appeared first on Mi9 Retail.

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Live Webinar on May 23rd at 2pm ET

With a myriad of products to choose from and rising customer expectations, retailers are faced with overwhelming challenges to accurately align product selections with consumer preferences. Retailers can no longer use a cookie-cutter assortment approach simply because stores have similar sales volumes and size. Instead, retailers must align assortments with their unique customer base that are influenced by consumer buying patterns. In this article promoting our upcoming webinar, we share our top three best practices to help retailers create localized, consumer-centric assortment plans that will increase profitability and help drive the bottom line. For even more tips on how to optimize the assortment planning process, make sure to register for our webinar at https://mi9retail.com/create-localized-consumer-centric-assortment-plans/

1.       Always Keep Your Financial Objectives in Mind

By creating data-driven, customer-centric assortment plans that are aligned to financial and open-to-buy targets, retailers can truly set themselves up for success. What’s more, better understanding inventory needs and keeping processes simple and manageable can help retailers drive higher revenues and fewer markdowns.

2.       Leverage Site Clustering

Utilizing site clustering strategies enable retailers to move away from cookie cutter assortment offerings that no longer resonate with consumers. By making the most of site clustering, item placeholder logic and other machine learning techniques, retailers can seed assortment plans automatically.

3.       Create a Single Picture of the Assortment Plan

Assortment planning solutions should be designed to support a continuous planning process that joins pre-season and in-season planning aspects together and adjusts on an ongoing basis to properly manage new item introductions, ongoing core items and end of life items.

Interested in learning more? Don’t miss our upcoming webinar that includes a live Mi9 Assortment Planning product demonstration and will show how our solution helps retailers take their assortment planning strategy to the next level.
Assortment Planning Webinar

The post 3 Strategies to Increase Profitability with Localized, Customer-Centric Assortment Plans appeared first on Mi9 Retail.

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We are in the midst of a great transformation in the retail industry. Consumer behavior and emerging technology have dramatically changed the traditional retail model. This is just the beginning. As upstart online retailers mature, their desire to connect to customers in a more personal manner is also evolving. However, the old adage of right product, right place, and right time is also truer now than ever before. Retail 101 is still essential to survival and success. This article presents highlights from a recent BRP special report and shows the importance of investing in a fully integrated planning solution to analyze and utilize data to remain competitive in a rapidly changing retail landscape.

Overcoming Disjointed and Siloed Processes

Modern customers expect to be able to research the products they want on the web, check current inventory status, and then complete a purchase whenever, wherever they feel ready. Although customers take this self-service convenience for granted, the foundation to support it is often cobbled together as an afterthought, which brings about massive management costs and risks for retailers. Ancillary processes like demand planning and space planning suffer when processes and systems are disjointed, as they require data feeds at detailed levels that many legacy merchandise planning systems were not initially designed to deliver. Yet, the report shows that only 46% of retailers currently have formal omni-channel demand planning processes in place.

Efficient Use of Retail Analytics

Accurate planning requires an immense amount of data at various levels to analyze and build models. As such, there is a heavy reliance on business intelligence (BI) tools to extract information and identify trends. The focus of this information differs from a store plan versus a merchandise plan and much of this is still managed manually by many retailers. By knowing that they have the right data integrated across the process, innovative retailers can improve their ability to focus on finding the right products and distributing them to the right places.

Download the BRP Integrated Planning report now to read more about:
  • The many benefits of integrated planning
  • The importance of providing a single version of the truth
  • Case studies featuring retailers who are enjoying the benefits of getting integrated planning right.
  • and much more.
Integrated Planning – Getting it Right

The post How to Get Integrated Planning Right appeared first on Mi9 Retail.

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Allocation offers retailers the perfect opportunity to ensure that the items their consumers want to buy are available in the right store or channel, at the right time. At stake are sales, profit margins and customer loyalty. With a growing emphasis on customer demand, an unpredictable market and the availability of data that provides a granular view into exactly what customers are buying and where, retailers simply must get their allocations right from the start. Companies fighting for market share in today’s highly competitive retail landscape need to execute carefully laid merchandising and assortment plan with allocation strategies that are just as pensive. Investing in a modern allocation solution that takes the guesswork out of pushing inventory to the optimal retail store or sales channel has become increasingly important. In this article, we share the benefits of replacing spreadsheets and other processes with a modern allocation solution.

Use Demand to Drive Smarter Allocations

All too often, consumer demand for product choice, color and size take a backseat in the planning process. Retailers frequently put all of their focus and energy into planning assortments based on last year’s numbers. The consequence? A self-fulfilling prophecy in which product is allocated based on historical information – whether the data served the retailer well or not. Truly optimized allocations are driven by demand potential, rather than historical sales alone. Ultimately, companies that ignore signals of consumer choice pay the price with markdowns and lost sales. In order to combat this challenge, there is an opportunity to drive smarter allocations – with solutions that utilize demand curves for items based on attributes for comparable products or product categories can help retail organizations set the level of expected future sales, as well as minimize the risk involved in launching new products.

Make Allocation Management a Priority to Maintain Your Competitive Edge

It’s apparent that allocation is an important part of the overall retail process. Companies that make smart decisions when it comes to creating demand-driven, localized allocations, move from a push-to-pull strategy and hold some inventory back after their initial allocation will be better equipped to deal with today’s unpredictable consumer and ever-changing retail environment.

Interested in learning more about the benefits of ditching spreadsheets? Watch the recording of our webinar presented by Keith Whaley, Vice President Retail Strategy, at Mi9 Retail now.
Demand Planning Without Spreadsheets Webinar Series – Allocation

The post Unlocking the Secrets to Allocation Success appeared first on Mi9 Retail.

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How to Create Localized, Consumer-Centric Assortment Plans
That Will Increase Profitability and Help Drive the Bottom Line
MAY 23
THURSDAY • 2 p.m. ET
With a myriad of products for consumers to choose from, the cross-channel markets available and the ever-increasing expectation of the consumer, retailers are faced with overwhelming challenges to accurately align product selections with consumer preferences. Retailers can no longer use a cookie-cutter assortment approach simply because stores have similar sales volumes and size. Instead retailers need to align assortments with their unique customer base that are influenced by consumer buying patterns.
Mi9 Retail will share best practices that help retailers create localized, consumer-centric assortment plans that will increase profitability and help drive the bottom line.
This webinar will include a live Mi9 Assortment Planning product demonstration and will show how the solution enables retailers to:
  • How to consolidate disparate planning and inventory management processes
  • Create data-driven, customer-centric assortment plans that are aligned to financial and open to buy targets
  • Leverage site clustering, item placeholder logic and other machine learning techniques to seed assortment plans automatically
  • Create a single picture of the assortment plan including new, ongoing, and leftover product that can be managed in-season and continuing into the preseason planning process
  • Optimize Initial and flow receipt quantities down to the size level in order to maximize sales and margin while being strategic with investment in inventory coming into the supply chain
PRESENTER
Keith Whaley
VP Product Strategy

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

Share This Story, Choose Your Platform!

The post Webinar: How to Create Localized, Consumer-Centric Assortment Plans appeared first on Mi9 Retail.

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Most – if not all – modern-day customers have fully embraced omni-channel shopping and expect the ability to switch between channels seamlessly. What’s more, consumer demand for instant gratification has increased the need for stock to be available in the right place and at the right time, every time. Improving demand planning means that stores do not get overloaded with inventory during periods where they experience troughs in demand and/or customer traffic. Here’s how to ensure that you pick the perfect solution to meet your business’s unique needs.

Always Satisfy Consumer Demand

Retailers should invest in a best-of-breed platform that incorporates anticipated consumer demand to ensure inventory strategies are aligned with customer-centric data model or forecast. An allocation solution that is integrated with forecasting, data analytics and assortment plans provides ultimate flexibility in determining how to best position inventory based on demand.

Distribute the Appropriate Amount of Stock to the Correct Selling Channels or Locations in a Timely Manner

Modern allocation solutions use allocation rules to model performance criteria to determine the best placement of stock and quickly allocate inventory to locations where they have the best chance of selling to maximize selling potential.

Use Product Models to Determine the Best Placement of Stock

Understanding store-level selling patterns is a granular exercise. Letting the system do the work enables more accurate and timely allocations with higher in-stock performance and reduced markdowns on misplaced inventory. Modern allocation solutions utilize product models that help allocators account for selling patterns down to a store level.  Product models index stores against each other to help determine which stores have the greatest affinity to sell the product or products that are being allocated.

Interested in discovering how Mi9 Retail can help you solve other common demand planning challenges? Click the image below to watch the Allocation overview video and learn more about the key features and benefits of the Mi9 Allocation solution and see it in action.

The post How to Select the Right Allocation Solution for Your Business appeared first on Mi9 Retail.

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To succeed in the digital era, retailers have no choice but to adopt an omni-channel retail strategy and provide customers with multiple fulfillment options. To successfully transition to fully-optimized inventory and deliver exceptional customer service and convenience, retailers must focus on “one version of the truth” by evaluating their capabilities, assessing customer data points, and creating a plan for this single vision. Here are three secrets to successful inventory optimization:

1.    Make Inventory Visible

The days when retailers could get away with items being out of stock in the size or color desired by the customer are over. Inventory is the lifeblood, the driving force behind generating revenue, profit, and the correct level of inventory investment. If inventory is not carefully controlled, a retailer will spiral out of control and into irrelevance very quickly. You cannot deliver effective inventory management if you don’t have clear and full inventory visibility. The challenge is moving away from a siloed approach towards an omni-channel approach that delivers one version of the truth at any point in time, across all sales channels.

2.    Don’t Start Small, Start Simple

When embarking on this type of shift, retailers need to start simple and not let the best (fully automated) be the enemy of the good. One of the key steps to rolling out any successful inventory optimization transformation program is to get key stakeholders engaged. If retailers are going to provide ship from store effectively and efficiently, then the whole business needs to sign up to this strategy.

3.    Align KPIs to the Retailer’s Strategy Summary

Retailers need to align key metrics to motivate store staff to deliver online fulfillment from store stock. What’s key is giving credit for sales. To reduce conflict across your channels, it may pay to rethink the way you assign credit for sales.

Want to learn more? Download our latest guide written by Columbus Consulting and sponsored by Mi9 Retail now to discover how to deliver the other foundation blocks for successful inventory optimization.

Inventory Optimization White Paper

The post 3 Secrets to Successful Inventory Optimization appeared first on Mi9 Retail.

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Keeping up with rapidly changing consumer behaviors requires replacing legacy merchandising systems and disparate planning systems with modern solutions that can adapt as the retail landscape continues to evolve. Traditional rules-based forecasting solutions that were primarily based on intuition simply don’t cut it anymore. AI-powered demand management solutions look at facts, historical data and market trends to help retailers improve forecast accuracy and make optimal business decisions.

To maximize profits, you need to have the right quantity and mix of inventory on hand at all times. What’s more, you must be able to deliver the right products at the right place, the right time, and the right price by taking the right action from the right merchandise planning solution.

For retailers, the benefits of artificial intelligence are endless and can help them:

  •       Overcome obstacles standing in the way of optimized merchandise planning effectiveness
  •       Shift from cumbersome and difficult-to-manage spreadsheets to effective data analytics tools to do the heavy lifting when it comes to number crunching and focus on the areas that truly drive business growth
  •       Understand and manage demand in a complex retail environment, where a typical customer journey is now crossing multiple channels
  •       Remove the impact of misallocating products and move inventory across channels or between stores to optimize their business targets
Interested in learning more? Download our buyer’s guide on retail demand management to explore how AI-augmented solutions are the key to maximizing revenue and cutting costs for your organization.
Retail Demand Management Buyer’s Guide

The post How to Harness the Power of AI to Optimize Your Supply Chain appeared first on Mi9 Retail.

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On April 4, Mi9 Retail sponsored and attended Unified Retailing 2019, held in New York City. The conference, hosted by Columbus Consulting International, brought together retail’s brightest minds to connect and learn how to profitably balance unified commerce with the customer experience. The topics attendees were most excited about included:

Advanced Analytics

Before investing in a unified commerce platform, retailers should ensure that the retail solutions they want to deploy were developed with advanced analytics at the core. Dismantling data silos has become the key to running a more efficient and profitable business.

Customer Centricity

At the show, discussions revolved around rapid technological change, rising customer expectations and increasing competition. Tech-savvy consumers no longer interact with brands in a linear manner but instead tend to use multiple channels and contact points. Omni-channel is the new normal, making it critical for retailers to invest in tools that enable them to create the channel-less experience their consumers demand.

What’s more, Amazon has become the standard for customer personalization and the key to success is to get all customer data into a single database to conduct big data analysis. Getting a deeper understanding of customers and their shopping habits is essential to both meet and exceed their expectations. Retailers should also consider embracing the 4 Es of retail (“Emotion”, “Engagement”, ‘Expertise”, “Exclusivity”) to offer the stellar customer experience today’s shoppers expect.

Supply Chain Transformations

Retailers should not underestimate the importance of optimizing their end-to-end supply chain. With so many customers now embracing new fulfillment options, such as Buy Online Pick-Up in Store (BOPIS) and Buy in Store, Ship to Home (BISSTH), today’s supply chains have become increasingly complex. To efficiently predict and fulfill customer demand, retailers must utilize modern demand management solutions and have a seamless supply chain management process in place used consistently across the organization.

Interested in learning more? Download our latest guide now to discover how artificial intelligence can automate and unleash the power of insights in the demand planning process, enabling retailers to keep up with rapidly changing consumer behaviors and ultimately drive more value and growth.
Retail Demand Management Buyer’s Guide

The post Trending Topics at Unified Retailing 2019 appeared first on Mi9 Retail.

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The soul of a retailer lies in its stores. It can be seen and felt. It is what makes the brand an exciting place with a distinctive atmosphere. The eyes to the soul are the store windows – or the retailer’s website. The retailer’s heart is the buying and planning division, which pumps merchandise through the system and into stores or orders from many channels.

The most important part of this living system is its lifeblood, or inventory. Today customers expect a free-flowing, buy anywhere, fulfill anywhere, return anywhere marketplace in which purchases may originate in one channel, be completed in another, and returns are handled in a third.

To successfully transition to fully-optimized inventory and deliver exceptional customer service and convenience, retailers must focus on “one version of the truth”. This can be achieved by evaluating capabilities, assessing customer data points, and creating a plan for this single vision.  Mi9 Retail and Columbus Consulting have identified five building blocks to help retailers build a strategy for their organization:

  • Make inventory visible
  • Focus on customer convenience & experience
  • Don’t start small, start simple
  • Make it easy to maximize customer experience and personalization
  • Aligning KPIs to the retailer’s strategy
Download the white paper to learn how to deliver these five foundation blocks for successful inventory optimization.
Inventory Optimization White Paper

The post How to Increase Sales and Fulfillment Across Multiple Channels Through Inventory Optimization appeared first on Mi9 Retail.

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