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Analytics Is A Retailer Must-Have – But Only The Right Analytics

Cat’s out of the bag, analytics is steadily rising on top of every other retailer’s list of priorities, but are they going to maximize their opportunity here – or waste it?


You’ve probably seen this New Boston Retail Partners Report (BRP) on the main merchandize priorities retailers have right now.

What’s the issue here? Well, according to independent retail experts, brands are being disappointed to find many of their current planning applications are “ineffective.” What’s worse, says the research, their tech is unable to equip them with the level of in-depth analysis required to make their planning decisions as profitable as possible – and simultaneously meet the high demands of today’s savvy customers.

“Many retailers have relied on outdated legacy planning systems and practices that can’t support the complex planning requirements of today’s omni-channel environment,” comments Gene Bornac, vice president, Boston Retail Partners, on his team’s findings.

No wonder that upping their game on analytics is emerging as a big priority for forward-thinking organizations in the sector. Indeed, 63% will upgrade or replace their merchandise planning systems within two years, the BRP team found – and 58% of retailers put analytics as their top planning priority. 

24×7 access to data that adds real, jargon-free value

Probably, the first rank of retailers know the power advanced analytics give them, and are already using the potential of real-time business intelligence/data science.

But is the technology being brought on-stream to do that sufficient? When you consider the fact that a typical supermarket stocks thousands of SKUs – and an e-commerce portal racks them up by the million – then anything that doesn’t operate at scale just isn’t helping you address the problems BRP have put the spotlight on.

The best data technology, by contrast, would help you understand and optimize for demand, trends, products, price architecture and regional behavioral differences. So, if dairy-free products are today’s hit record, for instance, then your brand should be first to know about it, pricing and sourcing accordingly. Meanwhile, volume, pricing and revenue goals with automated price adjustments must also be factored in to put you in the best position here.

Brands and retailers need to have 24×7 access to historic price and visibility fluctuations of individual items to make decisions. So look into refreshing your planning capabilities in the light of this study – but don’t settle for anything less than a first-class, truly scalable, platform when you do.