Optimizing Assortments to Invigorate Retail: Benchmark Report 2012

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This year, we see a drastic difference in the perceived value of new merchandising tools and retailers’ understanding of how they can be effectively used to improve the product mix they put in front of increasingly-empowered consumers.

Key Findings Include:

  • Most merchants place a similar value on new merchandising tools — regardless of size or sales performance. However, understanding of these tools varies drastically; only one third of mid-market retailers ($50 million – $999 million in annual revenue) report a solid understanding of modern merchandising tools and techniques.
  • While out-of-stocks and inventory performance remain top-of-mind (particularly for large retailers and those who sell fast moving goods), retailers’ concerns about understanding customer preferences — and their own ability to respond to those preferences with new ideas about pricing
    and promotions — have become their top business challenges.
  • 34% of all respondents plan to optimize their assortments against new key customer segments in the coming year. Another 24% plan to include initial price optimization in their processes in 2013, and 22% will incorporate promotion optimization.
  • Winners continue to enjoy gross-margin improvements, but laggards are feeling the pain of over-promotion and inventory imbalances

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