Anaplan for Retail & its Success Strategies
As consumers’ tastes and buying habits shift, supply chains are becoming more complex, and economic unpredictability is increasing. Anaplan is a digital planning platform that allows teams to quickly adapt to continuous change with an integrated planning interface. Integrate a reliable, single source of truth to provide you with insight into the edge of your business.
Anaplan solutions consultants forecast that tracking changing signals in real-time will help your teams stay on top of evolving market conditions.
You can define collaborative solutions and coordinate production, sales, marketing and planning more effectively than ever before. As a result, you can:
- Real-time forecasting and modelling to drive strategic performance
- Discipline and accountability at all levels of operation and finance
- All operations should be more flexible and resilient in the supply chain
- Workforce recruitment and management for maximum efficiency and performance
In addition to sales, marketing, and supply chain, merchandise plays an important role. Retail merchandising focuses on the four Ws: what to sell when to sell, where to sell, and who to sell to.
It is crucial for retailers to know the four Ws for sales, marketing, and supply chain in order to balance customer satisfaction, available inventory, and customers’ future demands in a timely manner. Although the four W’s are widely known and well established, many retailers struggle to execute them successfully.
An accurate definition of the four Ws requires retailers to define a product strategy, a cross-channel strategy, and a customer strategy. These three strategies help retailers meet demand while focusing on their customers – a concept called Merchandising 3.0 (more on this term later).
Planning just for products or cross-channel won’t suffice. It often happens that retailers relying on only products for merchandising succeed only online or in brick-and-mortar sales.
Alternatively, if a retailer relies solely on cross-channel selling (combining online, in-store, and other channels), they risk having their products fall flat with their customers. This compromises its brand identity, leading to market share losses. Retailers can stay competitive by implementing a well-designed cross-channel marketing strategy. Staying ahead of the curve is crucial in an industry that is changing as fast as consumers are changing their minds.
Retailers should incorporate a customer strategy into their Merchandising 3.0 initiatives. When this strategy is absent – for instance, when department stores and well-known brands are at odds over promotions like discount pricing – it is obvious. If a retailer offers discounts while the supplier doesn’t, or vice versa.
Pricing conflicts could be avoided if inventory (Merchandising 1.0), sales channels (Merchandising 2.0), and customer data (Merchandising 3.0) were optimized.
Merchandising 3.0 requires retailers to adopt five strategies to succeed
- Inventory balance:
Lighten up and make it fast-paced.
Large department stores like Nordstrom, Macy’s, and Kohl’s always restrain their inventories. This strategy is used to avoid late-season discounting that reduces gross margins, but a lean stocking strategy is risky if goods aren’t in stock or if buyers misjudge fashion trends.
As online competitors eat into brick-and-mortar store sales, it has become more difficult to strike a balance between marketing needs and logistics costs. There has been a three-fold increase in online retailers sales compared with the overall retail industry. The cost of stores may be higher when retailers keep inventory lean, but it can pay off: Shoe retailer DSW Inc. raised its earnings outlook after reporting better earnings thanks to tighter inventory.
It can be difficult for companies that are both suppliers and retailers, such as the British luxury brand Burberry Group, to balance their differing roles. A partnership with other department stores and its own branded stores will allow the company to develop a new sales strategy that will depend on its inventory. Maintaining and bolstering Burberry’s upscale image is the key
The company is cutting costs and minimizing discounts; a few U.S. department stores reduced their prices.
The relationship between suppliers and retailers is getting shakier as e-commerce continues to grow, and gearing up for conflict is the lean supply chains for fast-fashion companies, which are pushing consumers towards lower-cost products.
- The merchandising volatility balance:
Adapt to external influences.
Three volatile factors, wages, employment conditions, and climate, should be taken into account by retailers whenever possible. For retailers who rely on a strong winter sales season, an unusually warm winter means fewer people buy cold-weather gear. In response to climate-related changes, JCPenney has adjusted its products.
In order to compete with online sellers like Amazon, the retailer has added more appliances to its selection to offset weather-related categories (such as apparel).
- Filling channels in balance:
Customer-centricity is key.
Online shoppers like Walmart and Target are able to pick up their orders in brick-and-mortar stores when they place orders online. Walmart has added more staff to its pickup counters and allows same-day store pickups for more products. A brick-and-mortar company hopes to turn its brick-and-mortar business into an advantage over online competitors by offering customers the ability to pick up goods in person rather than pay for shipping. Customers’ habits and preferences favour brick-and-mortar stores, too. We still prefer to shop in physical stores 75% of the time.
Retailers have struggled with managing inventory for both online and brick-and-mortar sales. Customer-centricity and cross-channel mixing are the keys to long-term retail success.
- Supply chain alignment:
Negotiate pricing with manufacturers.
As the price of commodities like palm oil, crude oil, and aluminium rises, producers and distributors face increasingly tough challenges. The second-largest consumer goods company in the world, after Procter & Gamble, blamed high commodities prices in its earnings report. Lysol makers Unilever and Reckitt Benckiser (which makes soap) face increased raw material costs and uncertainty in consumer demand as raw material costs rise. Similarly, both Reckitt and Unilever recently reported increased revenues, but mainly from higher prices rather than from growing demand.
A key component to maintaining profitability is alignment with suppliers since commodity price fluctuations impact retail prices. A business can also benefit from innovation: For instance, Macy’s is incorporating RFID tags into all its merchandise. Macy’s can more effectively manage its inventory and better align merchandise to its supply chain.
- Integrate technology into retail planning:
Embrace digital transformation.
By integrating technology across all business lines of retailers, it is possible to improve business forecasting accuracy and facilitate better decision-making. In their planning processes, retailers can benefit from digital transformation by understanding the financial impacts of trade-offs.
Today, retailers can impact the future of their business at strategic, tactical, and operational levels without sacrificing usability, flexibility, ease of model changes, or speed. In comparison to the disconnected array of systems most retailers rely on today for planning, integrated technology can better assist retailers in assessing the impact of business decisions.
Anaplan implements a cloud-based platform that enables retailers to plan, optimize, and respond to customer demand while meeting overall retail planning objectives by seamlessly aligning across the business.