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Merchandizing and Supply Chain Management Trends for Meeting Omni-Channel Customer Expectations

Merchandizing and Supply Chain Management Trends for Meeting Omni-Channel Customer Expectations

This IDC Retail Insights report explores the industry trends influencing the development of merchandizing and supply chain management (SCM) technology best practice. It aims to highlight how these developments can also be harnessed to help retail merchants and brands meet the increasingly complex demands arising from omni-channel customer expectations.

Enterprise resource systems (ERP) systems have evolved over the years to run a variety of transactional business processes. It should be acknowledged that ERP business use cases are almost infinite, and there is very little consensus among vendors in this space as to what a "standard" platform consists of. But for the purposes of this report, with its industry vertical focus, merchandizing, supply chain, order, and inventory management tend to be the main functional requirements of what were traditionally referred to as supply-chain-focused ERP systems in retail.

The challenges retailers face in these functional areas can be operationally characterized as ones of speed, agility, and complexity, where the systems managing the supply of goods to stores and for customer delivery or pickup often struggle to keep pace with technology-enabled consumer expectations. This is because customers expect maximum levels of availability and convenience across a variety of digital and physical touch points, where the retail industry must adapt to evermore constrained and timely windows of opportunity in which to respond to these demands. It is therefore understandable that retail companies are more ready to identify themselves as customer-centric (rather than cost- or product-centric) organizations. But they must not overlook how important the contribution to the smooth running of distribution and fulfillment processes in the back office managed by the SCM system is to achieving this goal.

Please Note: Extended description available upon request.

In This Perspective
Situation Overview
Delivering Omni-Channel Experiences
Technology Overview
Delivering Inventory Visibility
Market Trends
Modernizing Supply Chains
Increasing Accuracy and Visibility
IDC Guidance
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Related Research
Figure: Retail Inventory Management Spending, 2012-2017

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