Retailers must begin readying themselves for Christmas by optimising their replenishment and pricing, says Blue Yonder

Blue Yonder, the leading provider of cloud-based predictive applications for retail, is today advising retailers to prepare for Christmas by speeding up their decision-making in the supply chain to ensure stock availability. Optimising replenishment and pricing to meet customer expectations is of critical importance for success during the Christmas period.

According to the Centre for Retail Research, UK customers spent £75.96bn on Christmas shopping last year. Yet, this busy retail period was marred by price cuts as customers sought out the best deals for the season. The big winners were online retailers, with sales rising by 11% during the festive period.

Matt Hopkins, retail industry principal, Blue Yonder, said: “To compete during this very busy season, retailers are implementing omni-channel strategies and promising that shoppers will be able to get how and where what they want. However, their ability to meet brand promise has been curtailed by lack of investment in supply chain decision-making. This has led to an inability to deliver a seamless customer experience across their portfolio, opening a canyon between promise and performance. Retailers – especially during the busy festive period – will alienate their customers where they can’t deliver in the right timeframes, and at the right price.

“However, retailers need not fear as most already have all of the information needed to deliver on customer expectations at their fingertips. From internal data such as historical sales figures, to external data on competitors, prices, holidays, weather and trends, there is a wealth of information that can help brands excel during the holiday season. Retailers need to learn to use this information with advanced machine learning algorithms to help eradicate the execution gap and deliver on customers’ high expectations during the holiday period.”

Recent research by Blue Yonder of two thousand parents with children under 16 shows that retailers have much to lose by not planning correctly for the Christmas shopping period, as not getting the right toy left 50% of parents feeling disappointed and put off by retail brands, with 23% stating they would not shop with the brand for two months and a further 28% stating that they would never shop with the retailer again.