Crystal Ball 2.0: The State of Retail Demand Forecasting, Benchmark 2011

by Deepak Sharma on Thursday, May 05, 2011

RSR Research's latest report, "Crystal Ball 2.0: The State of Retail Demand Forecasting, Benchmark 2011," RSR’s first annual benchmark on the topic, finds that retailers believe demand forecasting capabilities to be critical to their operations but struggle to incorporate demand forecasting insights deeper into their businesses.

These findings are based on a survey of 83 retailers between January-April 2011.

"Retailers have made significant investments in optimization technologies, particularly around price and labor, and demand forecasts come hand-in-hand with those capabilities,” said Brian Kilcourse, Managing Partner at RSR and a co-author of the report. “But the forecasting engines that create those inputs into optimization tools can often be completely different in terms of assumptions, time horizons, models. It adds sophistication to retailers’ capabilities, but also creates some challenging complications - building up internal siloes instead of knocking them down.”

"With more channels to manage and more leading indicators to demand, such as social media and consumer intent, retailers need all the help they can get in forecasting and managing demand," adds Nikki Baird, the report’s co-author. "The challenge isn’t that the crystal ball is cloudy but retailers just have too many forecast engines, each with a slightly different prediction than the next. Companies have yet to figure out how to reconcile them all."

"Crystal Ball 2.0: The State of Retail Demand Forecasting, Benchmark 2011" contains analysis of the business drivers, opportunities, and organizational constraints surrounding demand forecasts, as well as recommendations for creating successful demand forecasting capabilities. The report is part of RSR Research's ongoing efforts to provide market intelligence on retail technology trends, and can be downloaded here: