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Oliver Wight EAME Blog

Retail in the 21st Century: Part Two

28 November 2018

In part one of the ‘Retail in the 21st century’ blog series, we explored the challenges facing the modern retail landscape; the rise of e-commerce, consumer attitudes, competitors and increasing costs. With such challenging conditions, organisations need to evolve from the traditional ‘brick and mortar’ model, to a omni-channel operation which is led by integration and driven by innovation. The question is, how?

The Solution
The answer lies in Integrated Business Planning (IBP). IBP is rebooting retail; it enables organisations to meet fluctuating demand, adapt to fast-moving trends, manage campaigns and promotions and attract customers through its cross-organisational approach. With its emphasis on integration, IBP is ideal for a sector which needs to unify the customer experience. And, by providing a 24-to-36-month forward view, organisations can replace reactionary, short-termism with proactive, long-term decision-making.

Optimising Supply Chain
A slick supply chain is especially relevant in today’s device-driven market, as fulfillment options become increasingly competitive amongst those offering e-commerce. Having the right merchandise in the right place, at the right time – both online and in-store – is crucial for both a retailer’s performance and reputation. A disconnected supply chain will result in dissatisfied customers, lost sales and surplus inventory – there needs to be a concrete go-to market strategy in place, and that’s impossible without an integrated end-to-end supply chain. This means managing the supply chain in an organised way from the centre, based on a global view of demand.

The global giants have recognised the profit potential of cross-organisational collaboration. By facilitating visibility throughout the entire supply chain, they can reduce waste and inventory, improve availability and drive the optimisation of sales.

From top floor to shop floor
IBP provides the platform for retailers to innovate, creating opportunities to drive sales up and costs down, and allocating resources to the most productive activities, in the most profitable way. Not only does it facilitate the prediction of new trends, but it enables retailers to respond positively to changing conditions with plenty of time, by providing a critical link between the strategic business plan and the current reality.

By adopting IBP, retailers can plan according to real customer demand over the medium-to-long-term, which enables suppliers to also proactively organise production in line with actual demand, rather than having to react to short-term, unexpected changes from the retailer.

Demand sensing
To gain an edge over the competition it is important to not only meet customer demand, but predict it, and doing this profitably means doing it quickly and efficiently. When it comes to product leadership, the absolute best-in-class organisations take this a step further by creating and shaping needs the consumer never knew they had. Understanding the customer is key – organisations need to know their customer and create a single view of their consumers. This can be achieved by using big data and advanced analytics to create an integrated and personalised customer experience – demand sensing.

Demand sensing is the fine-tuning tool organisations need for executional excellence, provides real-time consumer insights to enable organisations to immediately detect and respond proactively to changes in demand within the execution window. By leveraging analytics and the latest mathematical algorithms, it creates an accurate picture of changing demand, based on the current realities of customer behaviour. Demand should be led by those closest to the customer – the Sales & Marketing team, with supply chain and finance kept firmly in the loop.

Optimisation of systems and services needs to ripple all the way throughout the organisation, from demand forecasting and planning, to product development, merchandising and supply chain to ensure prof table growth and generate loyalty and digital engagement. IBP equips retailers with the tools to strategically share excellent customer service, capability readiness, contingencies for uncertainty, value-chain prof t-to-serve and collaborative competitiveness across the supply chain.


This blog was based on an extract from our white paper, “Retail Rebooted: How to remain competitive in the 21st century’. You can download it for FREE here.