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Retail Assortment Planning: Not What It Used To Be

by Robert Hetu  |  October 9, 2017  |  Submit a Comment

Recently I published the 2017 Magic Quadrant for Retail Assortment Management Applications and one thing is clear, this is not your mama’s assortment planning process. To support unified retail commerce, retailers are investing in new, analytically driven applications that will allow them to be very prescriptive with assortment in and across channels. Unified retail commerce requires increased support from physical stores for fulfillment and returns, making the management of assortments by store and channel a major challenge. This research¬†helps Gartner clients¬†transition to unified retail commerce through use of advanced assortment applications.

With a track record of erratic sales results and some notable acquisitions and collaborative partnerships by Alibaba Group (Alibaba), Amazon, Walmart and others, it’s clear that the hypercompetitive retail landscape has not slowed. Physical retailing is far from dead as companies like Aldi, Costco, Dollar General, Dollar Tree, H&M, Lidl, Sephora, The TJX Companies, and Ulta Beauty plan to add approximately 3,000 stores collectively. Amazon and Alibaba are expanding physical footprints, as are new online brands like Casper and Warby Parker. Customers’ expectations of a unified retail commerce experience continue to challenge multichannel retailers as they pursue digital business transformation. Digital business transformation in the retail industry includes the usage of cloud, mobility, social engagement, algorithms and the Internet of Things (IoT). Taking advantage of the store base is critical for a digitalized retail experience that delights customers, but this requires a significant refinement of the assortments offered by channels and quality execution.

Big data, combined with advanced analytics, algorithms and deep learning approaches, is required to create store-specific assortments that are aligned to specific customer behavior segments. As a result, this research places increased focus on advanced analytics capabilities, including:

  • Complex-event processing
  • Data/text mining
  • Forecasting
  • Graph analysis
  • Machine learning
  • Multivariate statistics
  • Network and cluster analysis
  • Neural networks
  • Pattern matching
  • Semantic analysis
  • Sentiment analysis
  • Simulation
  • Visualization

Congratulations to all 17 vendors that met the participation requirements:

7thonline, Analyse2, Board International, Celect, IBM, Infor Retail, JDA, JustEnough, Logility, O9 Solutions, Oracle, Periscope by McKinsey, Relex, SAP, SAS, Softvision, TXT Retail

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Category: merchandising-process  retail-trends  

Tags: advanced-analytics  assortment  rama  unified-retail-commerce  

Robert Hetu
VP, Analyst Retail
7 years at Gartner
29 years IT Industry

Bob Hetu is a Research Director with the Gartner Retail Industry Services team. His responsibilities involve tracking the technology markets and trends impacting the broad-based retail merchandising and planning areas. Mr. Hetu is an expert in the areas of brand, vendor and assortment management, merchandise planning, allocation, and replenishment. Read Full Bio

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