The ROI of Optimization: A Case for the Board

In a retailer’s perfect world, knowledge of what your consumer wants to buy (along with when and where they want to buy) would be instantaneous and inventory lead times would be nonexistent.

A retail utopia.

Unfortunately, this isn’t how it works. Instead, merchants are tasked with predicting enormous (sometimes erroneous) investments to: 

  • Determine the optimal assortment/mix of product to sell
  • Determine the optimal store location to allocate each product
  • Determine the optimal fulfillment path for online orders

As a merchandiser, you’re on a perpetual quest to provide the right product your consumer base demands.

So many variables come into play as you try to accomplish this.

Furthermore, it can be very difficult to make the best merchandising decision when the data required to make future decisions isn’t accessible or, best case, spread out across various systems.

As a result, retail professionals globally are looking to invest in advanced analytics optimization technologies. Whether your organization is searching for ways to buy less inventory or improve fulfillment efficiency for online orders—the case for AI-driven inventory optimization is a no-brainer for many once they gain a clear understanding of its ROI.

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Topics: allocation, predictive analytics, merchandise planning, fulfillment, inventory optimization, data, advanced analytics

Solving for Today's Retail Order Fulfillment Dilemma 

The future of retail relies heavily on fulfillment.

Over the past decade, delivery expectations have surged. Two-day and one-day shipping is emerging as the new norm. Retailers continue to move towards shorter delivery times, yet most cannot deliver products profitably within three to five days.

At NRF earlier this year, our CTO, Vivek Farias, made a bold prediction: within the next ten years, two-hour delivery is going to be table stakes.  

Retailers are at a point where the failure to provide options for quick delivery comes with the risk of losing a sale. This shouldn’t come as a surprise for those in the industry, yet looking at the actual stats is always mind-boggling: 

  • About 72% of consumers factor in two-day delivery to help decide whether or not to make an online purchase.
  • About 45% of consumers factor in one to two-hour delivery to help decide whether or not to make an online purchase.

Given this data, maybe Vivek’s prediction isn’t so bold. 

It’s completely reasonable, and retailers need to prepare for deliver on these expectations in order to survive.

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Topics: omnichannel, fulfillment, ship-from-store, inventory optimization, supply chain

3 Retail Technology & Data Trends to Watch for in 2018

There’s no easy way to trulyknow how the future will pan out. We anticipate certain outcomes from what we know—like the fact the Patriots won over five Super Bowl championships or that your women's cold-shoulder sweaters sold 500 units last season.

With this historical data at hand, it would seem logical to place our bets on past performance.

And, as you know, merchants are constantly making bets.

Yet, while placing our bets for another New England Super Bowl win isn’t entirely a gamble (what can I say, we’re Boston-based ¯\_(ツ)_/¯), anticipating consumer demand for the fall or spring season six to eight months in advance is.

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Topics: retail technology, e-commerce, fulfillment, artificial intelligence, online shopping, consumer trends, data

The BIG Show Countdown (NRF 2018 Must-See Sessions)

It’s almost time.

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Topics: retail technology, fulfillment, artificial intelligence, brick-and-mortar retail, consumer insights, NRF2018

The Stranger Things of Retail in 2017

I think we can all agree it’s been a crazy year for retail, filled with disruption, e-commerce pressures and record store closings. Not to mention strange partnerships, major acquisitions, and numerous bankruptcies. 

As the year comes to an end, the ups AND downs in the retail industry over the past 365 days are clearly up for review. Let’s take a deeper look at what happened in 2017, along with the implications for 2018 and beyond.

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Topics: fulfillment, artificial intelligence, ecommerce, brick-and-mortar retail, consumer insights

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