• Request a Demo
  • Resources

Key Takeaways from Unified Retailing 2019

The Unified Retailing 2019 Conference hosted by Columbus Consulting yesterday was energizing, as it’s always a fun to meet up with our customers, old colleagues and friends. The speakers were excellent, with frank and interesting conversations around how to win in today’s new retail environment. However, what really struck me throughout the event was the fact that everyoneand I mean everyone—appeared to be dealing with the same type of challenges, such as:

  1. How to support an environment where store sales are dropping, e-commerce is flattening, and mobile continues to grow
  2. How to win in an environment where there are so many store closures, but just as many store openings from digitally-native brands
  3. How to support the shop anywhereexperience consumers demand
  4. How to keep product, experiences and services relevant 

As every speaker discussed different strategies to address each issue, it became apparent over the course of the day these problems haven’t really changed over the last few years. In fact, they’ve only magnified. Despite these struggles, it only solidified my beliefand that of many others in the room—of the following:

If you want to be relevant, you must consider the customer and their preferences first in everything you do.  

Read More

Topics: artificial intelligence, inventory optimization, brick-and-mortar retail, physical stores, machine learning, awards

Lucky Brand's Approach to Successful Merchandise Allocation

The idea behind inventory allocation seems pretty straight-forward: Ensure stores are kept in stock with respect to their ability to sell merchandise. Simple enough, right? Yet, as an allocator, one end-of-season scenario you’re likely familiar with is the aching realization of a missed opportunity — where better inventory allocations in one store could have led to more transactions, fewer markdowns, and improved margins.

Of course, you and I both know the subtle art to successful allocation is far from simple. In fact, a recent U.S. retailer survey estimated inventory misjudgments, including misallocating inventory, account for more than half (53%) of unplanned markdown costs. This issue has prompted retailers, like Lucky Brand, to search for ways to infuse intelligence into their allocation systems and processes.

Mike Relich, COO of Lucky Brand, recently shared his experience leveraging Celect artificial intelligence and machine learning (AI/ML) software to successfully improve retail allocation results. 

Here are the five biggest takeaways:

Read More

Topics: allocation, artificial intelligence, inventory optimization, brick-and-mortar retail, physical stores, machine learning, merchandise assortment

The Flux Capacitor of Retail

What if you could travel into the future?

In the 1980s sci-fi classic trilogy, Back to the Future, Marty McFly brings back from the future the Sport's Almanac, a compilation of sports statistics and scores, with the intention of gambling his fortune on games with a 100% accuracy. 

What if you could fast-forward to next season? What would you bring?

If I had to guess, as a merchant, you’d probably gather all of the transactions across each store. With that knowledge, you could make the best use of inventory by knowing exactly where each product was going to sell.  

If only it were as easy as time travel. While nothing will be as easy as time travel, it can get pretty close with advanced analytics.

Here's why advanced analytics is the flux capacitor of retail. 

Read More

Topics: allocation, merchandise planning, fulfillment, brick-and-mortar retail, machine learning, advanced analytics, merchandise buy, demand prediction

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?

Read More

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

A New Mentality: Advanced Analytics for the 'New Retail'

It’s a telling time for retail. In spite of the brief reassurance from last year’s unexpected boost in sales, there’s still a lot of work to do. A fundamental shift in the way things were done in the past is finally unraveling across the industry, and is best encompassed by one recent announcement from Nordstrom after their Q4 earnings reports:

“Nordstrom will no longer separately report sales made online and in-store when releasing financial results. The Seattle-based retailer announced the change Thursday as it reported its fourth-quarter and year-end earnings. Nordstrom said reporting the sales figures as one allows it to more closely represent the company's focus on brands rather than channels, Chief Financial Officer Anne Bramman said. The change is part of a larger shift away from the legacy store view of its business to an omnichannel view that combines the physical and digital experiences, she said.”The Puget Sound Business Journal

This announcement is powerfully revealing to the position many retailers are in today. Many are at a crossroads where they can either sink or swim against the forceful current of increasingly complex consumer expectations and demands.

The fact a major retailer like Nordstrom is combining earnings from both online and offline only goes to show they’re swimming hard against this current—and a better representation of how they’re delivering to customers is necessary to stay afloat and strategically execute properly.  

Read More

Topics: omnichannel, artificial intelligence, inventory optimization, machine learning

Ready for more?

Request a Demo