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Keep fashionistas happy with 3 demand forecasting steps

Stylecaster1 predicts 2021 fashion trends will include faux leather everything, statement coats, baguette bags (inspired by the Fendi baguette), chic loungewear, shackets (not exactly a coat), and chunky-soled shoes.

Even if a fashion retailer already has these hot items in its merchandise assortment, does that mean they are ready with the right amount of retail inventory on hand, in the right location to keep customers happy? 

Our Oracle consumer research revealed that 47% of respondents listed out-of-stock merchandise at the top of their list for a lousy shopping experience. Additionally, 63% are unwilling to wait for an item to be back in stock before trying another brand or going elsewhere. A lack of inventory is the fastest way for retailers to lose loyal customers. So what can be done?

Let’s look at a few steps that retailers can take to improve demand forecasting to ensure the proper retail inventory is available to wow customers with those baguette bags and faux leather pants.

Step 1 - Tackle these four forecast areas – promise those puffy sleeves won’t get in the way

  • Seasonal assortments Planner Tip A: Decouple demand drivers with historical estimations of seasonal demand separate from causalities.

  • New assortmentsPlanner Tip B: Use smart starting points for an initial base rate of demand and lifecycle curves.

  • Pricing and promotionsPlanner Tip C: Accurately anticipate demand drivers in aggregate of all possible promotions.

  • Weather-driven demandPlanner Tip D: Combine it with a modern attribute-based demand decomposition approach to drive a radical change to the predictive model using demand forecasting. Read more on weather-driven demand.

Step 2 - Understand what compels consumers to act - especially on buying that statement piece

The same research showed that inventory and promotions continue to influence customer decisions. As new customer journeys and shopping experiences emerge, execution is everything. Consumers will not tolerate out-of-stock inventory, so the retailers with accurate insight into their merchandise will be able to pivot to meet customer demands quickly, whether that’s in-store, BOPIS, curbside, or another channel. 

Step 3 - Use a single source – similar to relying on your capsule wardrobe

Retailers should be driving the enterprise with a single forecast that includes everything from replenishment and allocation to pricing and promotion decisions to gain a single view of the customer. 

Oracle Retail’s planning suite user experience includes a contextual and interactive view of key performance indicators, notifications, exceptions by role and business process, and intuitive launch points of business activities — all through a user-defined dashboard. The ability to anticipate and proactively manage operations allows retailers to increase margin by focusing teams on adding value where it is needed the most.

View the guidebook for a step-by-step example of setting up a pre-season online plan for a women’s casual and fast fashion department using Oracle Retail Merchandise Financial Planning's intuitive drag and drop user interface. Guidebook offers tips on how Oracle Retail Demand Forecasting enables fashion retailers to simplify and improve forecasting and inventory planning management capabilities.

Don’t miss out on keeping enough faux leather stock on hand this year.

View the guidebook for a step-by-step example



1. Stylecaster 2021 fashion trends article

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