Posted on November 18, 2016 by
BOSTON—While retailers know omnichannel retailing is key to doing business today, many report their current planning tools are incapable of supporting such a unified commerce environment, according to a study conducted by Boston Retail Partners.
Retailers understand that merchandise needs to be available across channels, however, this makes planning exponentially more complex and challenging, according to the BRP’s 2016 Merchandise Planning Survey. Seventy-one percent of those surveyed don’t have formal omnichannel demand-planning processes, while 38 percent plan brick-and-mortar stores as an individual channel. Meanwhile, only 44 percent have integrated-planning teams, but 86 percent need improvement.
“While unified commerce is the desired model to which most retailers strive, planning organizations are struggling with the current lack of system, process and organization integration to support the necessary model,” said Gene Bornac, vice president at BRP. “The good news is that retailers recognize that there is a problem and there are a number of very good tools available to address the current planning needs. The bad news is that getting the budget and resource commitments to upgrade systems is a huge challenge.”
Today’s retailers wrestle with a myriad of business and information technology issues as they strive for an efficient and effective omnichannel environment, BRP said. The common issues include: current organization structure is not set up to plan and support an omnichannel environment; planning applications are ineffective and not integrated; and the current environment can’t support the complex analysis of the high volume of data required to optimize planning decisions and meet customer demand, the survey said.
Forty-four percent of those surveyed said that improving analytics is a top priority, and 41 percent said they plan to upgrade their omnichannel demand-planning systems within two years.