According to an article written by Erik Sherman of Inc., “Winning Retailers” (those outperforming the industry averages for annual same-store) tend to put a strong value on retail forecasting systems.  The findings for this article were based on a 2012 study completed by a retail consulting firm, RSR Research.

Erik notes this as interesting shift:

 In the past, forecasting systems were largely seen as supply chain management tools, where the focus was on reducing operational costs. Now such systems and techniques have become important to expand sales opportunities, moving from a strictly bottom-line focus to a top-line one. As RSR says, “Advances in hardware computing power make sku-level forecasts not only feasible, but imperative.”

Customer analytics also ranked strongly, with “about 34% of the respondents planning to optimize product assortments for key customer segments this year.”  The study also focused on differences between the “Retail Winners” and “Laggards” (low growth firms). The below chart highlights some of these differences: 










For the full article: