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Press Release -- November 18th, 2016
Source: Earthlink

Unified Commerce Not Yet A Reality

Numerous struggles exist on the path to creating an omni-channel environment, BRP finds.

While an omni-channel approach might be a goal to strive for, few retailers are there today.

According to Boston Retail Partners (BRP), savvy retailers know their current planning tools are not capable of supporting the unified commerce environment necessary to satisfy today’s customers. According to the BRP 2016 Merchandise Planning Survey, retailers understand that merchandise needs to be available across channels, however, this makes planning exponentially more complex and challenging.

Today’s retailers wrestle with a myriad of business and IT issues as they strive for an efficient and effective omni-channel environment. The common issues include: current organization structure is not set up to plan and support an omni-channel 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.

“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.”

BRP’s 2016 Merchandise Planning Survey of top North American retailers offers insights into retailers’ current state of merchandise planning and their priorities and challenges as they strive to meet the needs of today’s omni-channel customer. Key findings from the survey include:

What are retailers doing today?

  • 71% do not have formal omni-channel demand planning processes
  • 38% plan brick-and-mortar as an individual channel
  • 44% have integrated planning teams but 86% need improvement

How can retailers overcome today’s obstacles?

  • 44% indicate that improving analytics is a top priority
  • 21% indicate that disparate systems and process challenges are the biggest planning obstacles
  • 41% plan to upgrade their omni-channel demand planning systems within two years

What integration issues are retailers facing?

  •    63% have integrated the planning organization across channels but 75% need improvement
  • 70% have integrated planning business processes across channels but 83% need improvement
  • 53% have integrated planning systems across channels but 77% need improvement

The 2016 Merchandise Planning Survey report provides retailers the following insights:

Understand key industry trends in merchandise planning

Identify how your merchandise planning capabilities and processes compare to your competition

Discover practical ideas and opportunities to improve your planning

To download the complete 2016 Merchandise Planning Survey, visit:

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