Retail Merchandiser - March/April 2017 - 105

DATA MANAGEMENT SOLUTION PROVIDER
improve consumers' e-commerce experience and grow e-commerce sales, which
more than 60 percent of all retailers,
manufacturers and distributors rank as
their No. 1 priority for 2017.
Retailers are eager to reinvigorate the
store experience by bringing in more
digital experiences. As a result, they are
looking for manufacturers and other
ecosystem partners who are willing to
use data to collaborate and make quick
and informed business decisions.
An area survey respondents consider
an enormous challenge is inventory
visibility, which hinders both omnichannel execution and profitability. Only 78
percent of retailers have full visibility
into their in-store inventory and only
77 percent have full visibility into their
distribution center inventory.
The percentages are even worse for
distributors and manufacturers as 47

As retailers focus on the future of their stores,
they should include their partners in the
planning and execution, according to the report.

percent of distributors and 45 percent
of manufacturers have no visibility into
their partners' inventory. This lack of
inventory visibility creates ripples far beyond omnichannel execution. Without
accurate and reliable visibility, retailers
often over-invest in slow-moving or
dying products, while starving fresh,
unexpectedly hot items.
Item attributes are another area where
data and the sharing of it play a crucial
role. Retailers originally hoped to speed
product onboarding and trim costs by
getting manufacturers to create and share
item attributes. Now, retailers are looking
to work hand in hand with manufacturers to create item attributes that help
increase product visibility in response
to consumer searches and social media
activity. Such item attributes also enable
retailers to create more personalized
opportunities to connect with consumers.

It's no wonder 43 percent of respondents across the ecosystem expect their
use of item attributes to increase. And
as retailers get deeper into personalized
assortment and product recommendations, the need for expanded item
attributes and more accurate inventory
data - and the ability to share this data
in real time - will continue to increase
as well.
Here are some other recommendations from this year's report:
* Retailers: Collaborate with other
ecosystem players. You must focus
on the future of your stores, but this
doesn't need to be an internal-only
project. By including other players in
both planning and execution, you're
more likely to create stores your
partners - and your shoppers - will
actually support.
* Manufacturers: Pay attention to
retail channel health. With retailers struggling, it is critical to offer
greater inventory visibility and more
item attributes.
* Distributors: Add services. With
retailers ramping up drop-shipping
and manufacturers selling direct to
consumers, you could be squeezed
out unless you find ways to improve
or add services.
* Logistics service providers: Breed
speed. Although speed for speed's
sake isn't the answer, you can
increase your value by helping your
partners achieve the gold standard,
which is every order shipped the
same day it's received.
Those companies that fail to make these
changes will likely be in for a rough
ride, while those that succeed at moving
beyond omnichannel retail will become
the leaders of tomorrow. Which will
you be? O
Peter Zaballos is senior vice president and
chief marketing offer of SPS Commerce, a
retail cloud services platform provider.

March/April 2017

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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Retail Merchandiser - March/April 2017

Contents
Retail Merchandiser - March/April 2017 - Cover1
Retail Merchandiser - March/April 2017 - Cover2
Retail Merchandiser - March/April 2017 - 1
Retail Merchandiser - March/April 2017 - Contents
Retail Merchandiser - March/April 2017 - 3
Retail Merchandiser - March/April 2017 - 4
Retail Merchandiser - March/April 2017 - 5
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