The rapid evolution of technology combined with fast-changing consumer behavior means consumers, not retailers or manufacturers, are the driving force in today’s economy. They create the appetite for products, and shop for them using the very latest tech, making the traditional models of supply and demand redundant. So how can retailers and manufacturers ensure they get the right products in front of the right customers at the right time? Firstly, businesses must radically re-evaluate their approach to forward planning.
In our customer centric economy, both brands and retailers must perfect the art of sales planning. The challenge is to accurately predict future demand of both existing and new products.
Agility and adaptability are key. Armed with the right insights, businesses can predict consumer demand, and position themselves to meet the expectations of increasingly demanding consumers. We have three basic principles of forecasting:
To be accurate, forecasting needs to be a continuous process. Customers don’t stand still, and neither should your forecasting. For some industries, a daily flow of live information can deliver competitive advantage. Durables, which have no “expiry” dates are ideally suited to monthly insights. Updating forecasts monthly means they remain relevant and reflect the latest market situation. Market events such as sales promotions are reflected in these timely predictions.
The accuracy of your forecast will depend entirely on the quality of the data upon which it is based. Shipment data or expert interviews, which have traditionally formed the basis of forecasts, have little to offer by way of accuracy as they are typically biased and don’t reflect actual demand.
Basing forecasts on real sales data has a transformative effect on the reliability of the predictions. Objective, up-to-date data combined with ongoing monitoring represents best-in-class forecasting.
The ideal forecasting solution offers scalability and flexibility, from overall country and product group coverage to price band and channel. You want both big picture and more detailed information. Using point-of-sales data enables you to enjoy the best of both worlds. This breadth of data provides the opportunity to uncover the growth opportunities, even in the most challenging markets, for instance in static or declining sectors.
We believe that forecasting needs to have enough flexibility to offer the correct level of detail required to uncover the hidden growth opportunities.
With technology and consumer behavior changing at such a rapid rate, success depends upon the ability to anticipate and respond to future consumer demand. Empowered with this information, businesses that are agile and flexible have the best chance of fulfilling those demands. Continuous, accurate and objective forecasting data will be key to success.
Choosing the right forecasting can be the difference between success and failure.
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