Symphony Retail AI announced the findings of its "Customer-Centric Category management Survey of Retailers." The survey breaks down the current state of category management in the U.S. and Europe, revealing opportunities for leveraging customer insights.
The findings highlight the willingness of retailers pursuing a customer-centric approach and present a clear gap between intention and execution. The gap can be addressed by artificial intelligence and efficient strategies that drive sales and loyalty.
75 percent of U.S. retailers report improvements from localized shopper insights
The survey found that U.S. retailers rely on localized shopper insight to drive shopper-centric assortments more pervasively than their European counterparts. In fact, 75 percent of U.S. retailers report significant to above average improvement in customer-performance metrics, compared to 54 percent of European retailers. This can be attributed to the fact that 73 percent of U.S. retailers implement location-based clustering as a best practice compared to 70 percent of European retailers believing centralized store planning and merchandising as a best practice.
US Retailer operational efficiency struggle to keep pace with improvement in customer performance
U.S. commitment to improving customer performance has come at the expense of operational efficiency, an area in which only 54 percent of retailers claim strong improvements. Although 46 percent of European retailers report strong operational improvement, the gap between the customer and operational performance is only 8 percentage points.
Planning is U.S. retailers’ top priority for customer-centric category management
Alongside pricing and promotions, planning is by far the largest priority for U.S. retailers, with 77 percent calling it "extremely" or "very important" to their customer-centric approach. However, planning is not always well-defined. Poor operational efficiency outcomes reflect a need to simplify execution to maintain the ROI of a more localized assortment from a customer perspective.
Artificial intelligence can aid collaboration and autonomy in planning
The survey also revealed a potential shift in the relationship between retailers and CPG manufacturers. With 70 percent of both U.S. and European retailers admitting they struggle to collaborate effectively today, artificial intelligence can reveal unique insights that enable each stakeholder to make mutually strategic manufacturing, sourcing and merchandising decisions. On the contrary, AI may reduce the retailer’s need to rely on partners for product or insights, allowing them to create a more transactional marketplace. Retailers that prefer a more autonomous approach to category planning may find that AI technology enables them to strengthen their commitment to this position.
Symphony Retail AI enables category planning for the future of retail
In order to address a vast set of new opportunities, Symphony Retail Ai developed a speech assistant built on an AI and machine learning foundation, CINDE, (Conversational INsights and Decision Engine). CINDE is the first and only digital analytic assistant specifically designed for the demands of grocery and hard goods retail. The platform empowers category managers with an immersive data visualization in a prescriptive analytics solution that supports a customer-centric retail approach.