Current business and supply-chain models assume that the store is the endpoint of a transaction. Without the acknowledgement of multi or omni-channel retail, traditional business activities will be challenged in their accuracy, such as demand forecasting.
Many retailers’ demand forecasting capabilities are built around a store-centric demand model. And the response to a demand forecast survey shows that retailers still struggle with “legacy” store issues related to exceptional inventory, extremely fast or slow movers and intermittent items. Going from a relatively simple store-centric demand model to a wildly complex omni-channel one ain’t peanuts.
As a result, there continues to be much debate about the right way to forecast demand, which involves understanding the omni-channel world if any resolution is to be found. Simply, the best way to deliver on your promise to meet demand is to understand the technology your consumers are using to learn about and purchase your products, outside of your store.
Whatever the next big frontier is, it goes way beyond the store-centric demand model. It is a wise decision to take advantage of the multiple technology-driven channels your customers are accessing, whether it be to spread information about your business or to sell products beyond your checkout counter. The next step will be to calculate all of this into a revised demand forecasting strategy.