Nearly three-quarters of surveyed retailers risk stock shortages because they don't have real-time sales and inventory data.
Lack of real-time sales data is hindering the ability of many Australian retailers to keep pace with online demand, according to a survey commissioned by business management software company Pronto Software.
While Pronto Software has a vested interest in the survey topics, the results are nevertheless interesting.
The survey of 172 retailers, carried about by the Australian Retailers Association (ARA), found that 71 percent of respondents had not “embraced” integrated front-end and back-end systems.
And about half of respondents didn’t have access to real-time data about sales and inventory insights, which could help them prevent stock shortages when demand spikes.
Those retailers aren’t meeting customers’ expectations, argued Pronto Software Managing Director Chad Gates. “The days of relying on staff to have knowledge of whether something is in stock are gone – especially with expanding product lines. Customers increasingly expect bricks and mortar stores to mimic the visibility and speed they have when shopping online,” he stated.
Pronto Software pointed out that retailers have often used loyalty programs to collect data about customers. Yet, the survey also found that only 22 percent of respondents offered loyalty programs that are integrated and available across multiple stores. That lack of integration won’t help the 43 percent of respondents that intended to use reporting and analytics.
Social media spending
Retailers are continuing to increase their social media activity, with 62 percent of respondents investing, or planning to invest in social platforms in the next year.
But only 15 percent of respondents were pursuing a marketplace-only strategy. “Retailers say that integrating with marketplaces, such as Amazon, can be difficult, given that by their very nature, they are designed to benefit the customers,” said Russell Zimmerman, Executive Director, Australian Retailers Association.