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#5 Technology Ideas to Lead Transition in Retail Planning Predicting the trends is how retailers develop new services and iron out old practices

By Tinku Singh

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The market has witnessed a great deal of evolution since its humble beginnings as a barter system and with the advent of digitization and regulations, the growth graph is escalating to newer zenith with retail at the forefront. The rate of competition and consumer sensitivity has increased to such an extent that retail has no option but to adopt newer practices. Old mom and pop- store methods go for a toss as speed, agility and efficiency are the qualities expected of today's retail businesses. To attain this, technology is retail's safest bet to success and here's how retailers are utilizing it:

Reduced inventory costs

Earlier woes regarding inventory control are running redundant as technology is contributing heavily to this case. A modern-age inventory system is now a basic tool for retail management. It allows retailers to assess the merchandise in hand, providing instantaneous data analysis tools to keep track of business. Once launched online, every aspect of the stores' performance is at the fingertips. Retailers can select and view products by cost, price, margin, first or the last date sold, date received or UPC codes.

Improving customer satisfaction

Satisfying the customer has never been this important as it stands at present, with a hike in consumer involvement in every aspect of retail. Hence it is important to enhance consumer experience to ensure loyalty and word-of-mouth promotion. But how does one accomplish that? What else but through the judicious incorporation of technology to empower practices and campaigns. Through analytics and rapid feedback, consumer satisfaction is ramped up to an enviable level as retailers garner visibility and faith.

Automating control

Control is the essence of running any operation but often in the lazy track of things, retailers forgo this essential element. In a spur of overzealous purchase, retailers often lose track of a surmounting inventory which is difficult to dispatch. Electronic inventory control can eliminate over-ordering and under-buying by referring to each store's sales history to calculate the optimum stock levels for each item. Now retailers can keep a track on their purchasing habits and tailor their work accordingly. These systems take past sales cycles, such as seasonal variations, into account. You may also query the system to determine what the order should be if sales rise or fall.

Keeping track of margins

The value of the good/service is determined by the price provided to it- a definite deciding faction to shape up purchase decision. Price fixing and tracking margins end up being a critical component that retailers have to run an eye over. The modern control system can suggest pricing and markdowns within your pre-set parameters, helping track margins based on the prices allotted. Now, retailers will never lose track of the margins, with enhanced parameters to demarcate the difference. Now retailers can establish different pricing across geographic regions, for instance, and for preferred customers such as employees or major buyers.

Improved forecasting

Unlike what we know, forecasting is integral to any retail business. Predicting the trends is how retailers develop new services and iron out old practices. Here, automated statistical forecasting systems create far more calculated and accurate demand forecasting. Forecasting systems can reach the desktop of every line manager, bringing chain-wide input (if appropriate) into the process through interactive Web-based applications. Forecasts can then be further adjusted, taking every aspect into account, while working in tandem with a central database, inventory control and sales systems to convert opportunities into demands.


Present-day retailers have taken the reigns of driving the future of their business, in their own hands. Evolution at strategic, tactical, and operational levels is taking place without compromise on usability, flexibility, ease of model changes, or speed and technology is the largest contributor to this development.

Tinku Singh

Group President& Chief Strategy officer (CSO), SRS Group

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