The Seven Deadly Sins of Retail

The retail industry of today is a hyperactive and ever-changing environment, ripe with emerging technologies, competition, and an opportunity for those able to navigate through the waters of uncertainty. Retailers today not only need to be able to see through the smoke of change to determine the best path forward but also need to avoid the most common mistakes that have marked the end for past retailers. Here are seven deadly sins to avoid in today’s retail environment.

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Topics: data overload, artificial intelligence, inventory optimization, ecommerce, brick-and-mortar retail, innvoation, data, advanced analytics, technology adoption, customer preference, speed, accuracy, demand prediction, markdowns

Is Retail Going the Way of the Dodo?

Innovation and adaptation drive success in all competition-based systems. In the natural world, animals that evolve to have competitive advantages like size, speed, or cunning will exploit those competitive advantages to set themselves apart from others, fighting for shared resources. Those who do not adapt and find methods to outperform rivals they compete against ultimately face starvation and extinction. In the retail world, new competition and changing consumer habits are making it harder for retailers to survive. What can retailers do to evolve and keep from going the way of the dodo?

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Topics: artificial intelligence, inventory optimization, ecommerce, brick-and-mortar retail, retail apocalypse, advanced analytics, technology adoption, markdowns

The Biggest Takeaway from NRF 2019? Optimize Everything.

The word “optimize” was littered across the expo floor at NRF 2019.

From shelf space to e-commerce basket sizes to your in-store workforce – every process across the retail value chain seems to be begging for optimization. “Frictionless,” “efficient,” and “seamless” were the all-encompassing descriptors used to entice interest and engagement among attendees perusing the aisles for technology solutions, ideas, or (let’s be real) free giveaway swag. 

The need for optimization is unequivocal as retail organizations are tasked with executing costly decisions on a daily basis at a tremendous scale. Yet how to approach this problem is less than certain when there are numerous opportunities to improve decisions at each stage of the retail process. Whether your current struggle hinges on production, inventory, store operations, or last mile fulfillment — whatever the challenge may be — the technology available today will enable retailers to glean insights into the mountainous amount of data they have. 

Based on our observations at the big show in NYC, it’s apparent retailers must prioritize investments in tools like artificial intelligence (AI) and advanced analytics to make the optimal decisions to meet the ever-evolving needs of their customers.

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Topics: allocation, retail technology, retail trends, artificial intelligence, inventory optimization, brick-and-mortar retail, fulfillment optimization, advanced analytics, demand prediction, NRF2019

Why the Biggest Problem with AI is Human

Every brand in retail is talking about AI. We’ve read the reports, the articles, and the survey results about all the different pain points AI can solve for retailers. From all the chatter around groundbreaking innovations and the changing retail industry, brands understand this need for technology in order to adapt. 

And there isn’t a shortage of technology solutions out there either—retailers have a ton of options. 

Understanding this need, the need for tech, then why is it so difficult to actually adopt? Why are retailers still struggling to keep margins afloat and adapt to the digital consumer? 

What’s the biggest problem with AI in retail?

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Topics: artificial intelligence, inventory optimization, machine learning, data, advanced analytics, digital transformation

Why It's So Difficult to Introduce New Products to Your Assortment

“One of the biggest challenges that companies face is predicting demand for new products over time. Overestimate it, and risk warehouses full of excess inventory. Underestimate it, and your customers could leave empty handed—or you might be left with a hefty bill for expedited delivery.”Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University 

Innovate or die trying. 

The phrase is almost as overused as “retail apocalypse,” yet a concise depiction of what retailers face constantly when we think about the video-gone-viral level of speed behind the changing retail landscape and unpredictable nature of demand. 

As if determining the optimal assortment wasn’t already difficult enough, introducing new products to your strategy when some fashion trends barely last is a risk merchants must take. 

When it comes to new products, retailers are getting burned (more often than not) when a quick pivot or adjustment to changing demand is unmet. Today, these losses hurt big time, especially considering retailers are clenching onto their purse strings more tightly than ever.

Why is it so difficult to accurately predict consumer demand for a new product? And, more importantly, how can we overcome these difficulties? 

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Topics: inventory optimization, consumer habits, consumer trends, data, advanced analytics, demand prediction

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