The Candid Voice in Retail Technology: Objective Insights, Pragmatic Advice

Uncharted Data: Life After The Merchant Prince?


Every time we conduct an RSR study, there invariably ends up being far more interesting data than we can fit into the report. With our most recent Merchandising benchmark, one of those things relates to opportunities by vertical.

When asked “What are the top opportunities to improve your merchandising efforts?”, respondents’ answers made a lot of sense. In the report, we point to the impact revenue has on a retailers’ viewpoint. The bigger the retailer, the more the need for better customer segmentation. For the smallest retailers? It’s still about markdown optimization and forecasting platforms.

However, check out one of the most interesting differences we found when viewed by product being sold:

When it comes to incorporating customer preferences into the planning process, Fashion Retailers are in a completely different world than their peers. In short – they believe they still have a better understanding of what customers are going to want in the future - more so than customers may even know themselves. And they should! This finding is at direct odds with much of what we learned elsewhere in the report, as retailers of all sizes and stripes have conceded that the merchant prince is, indeed, dead, all too easily replaced by pure technology.

Candidly, I was happy to see this data point. Despite the tremendous capability of today’s predictive merchandising technologies, there is absolutely still a need – especially in fashion – for a tastemaker’s input. The Merchant Prince is dead... Long live the Merchant Prince!

We hope you read the full report.


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Articles & Opinions June 19, 2018
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