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Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Retailers Struggle with Inventory Visibility Amidst Consumer Behavior Changes

Retailers are facing increasing challenges in maintaining accurate inventory data, with 30% of retailers and in-store associates lacking accurate inventory information, according to recent research conducted by Manhattan Associates.

At the 2023 European Exchange customer conference, Manhattan Associates Inc. revealed the findings of its latest international omnichannel research. The study emphasizes how retailers are digitizing their in-store operations to enhance customer experiences and preserve market share, especially as 89% of consumers have altered their shopping habits due to rising living costs.

The Changing Face of Retail:

  • 54% of retailers reported that customers can buy in-store and return items online (compared to 50% in 2022).
  • When a product is out of stock in-store, 48% of retailers offer buy online and return in-store options (compared to 46% in 2022).
  • Retailers, on average, have an accurate indication of inventory across their entire operations only 70% of the time (a decrease from 74% in 2022).

Henri Seroux, SVP EMEA at Manhattan Associates, emphasized the importance of accurate data, stating, “If you don’t know where a third of your inventory is, or what it is that you have, that’s a lot of stock that is either not being sold, marked down or at worst thrown away,”

Frictionless Commerce Meets Frictionless Engagement:

  • 84% of consumers begin their buying journey online.
  • 16% of retailers still report that in-store and online operations are separate functions.
  • Email (47%) remains the preferred channel of engagement for consumers, followed by in-person contact with store teams (43%).
  • Social media is the preferred channel for engagement among 40% of consumers, with younger consumers (25-34 age group) showing a preference at 55%.

Natalie Berg, retail analyst and founder of NBK Retail, noted that as the role of the physical store evolves, store associates must also adapt, armed with the right technologies and accurate data to create brand loyalty.

Protecting Pockets & The Planet:

  • Only 45% of consumers consider sustainability when choosing where to shop, down from 50% the previous year.
  • Younger generations prioritize a retailer’s sustainability efforts more than older consumers, with 55% of 18–24-year-olds considering it important.
  • 17% of consumers aged 24-35 said they would actively avoid retailers if they were not environmentally conscious, compared to 10% of those over 55.

Henri Seroux concluded that while affordability remains a priority in the current economic climate, unifying omnichannel commerce and supply chain efforts is crucial to address the longer-term environmental impact of unchecked consumerism on the planet.

Sam Allcock
Sam Allcockhttps://businesslancashire.co.uk/
Sam Allcock is a highly regarded digital entrepreneur with over 20 years’ experience in online marketing for some of the World’s biggest brands. He has extensive knowledge and experience in SEO and digital marketing. He is based in Cheshire but has an interest in all things going on in the North West and enjoys contributing local news to the site.
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