Space Planning Solutions Top-of-Mind for 68% of Retailers, Survey Finds

Research from Symphony RetailAI and RSR Research finds that retailers are preparing for a new era in demand and category planning

DALLAS – May 24, 2022 – Symphony RetailAI, a leading provider of end-to-end, integrated AI-powered merchandising, marketing and supply chain solutions for retailers and CPG manufacturers, today announced the findings of its commissioned executive survey, “Retailers’ Views of Modern Planning Tools & Solutions,” conducted by RSR Research. An overwhelming majority of respondents indicated that matters related to space planning are important amidst unprecedented retail upheaval. Macro space planning was cited by 72% of respondents as critical, with assortment optimization at 67%, and micro space matters at 65%, highlighting the increased complexity of the grocery industry today.

The survey asked respondents about their most pressing category planning needs, including macro and micro space and assortment planning. Those polled also had the opportunity to share their organization’s level of interest and overall sentiment related to preferred solution types to navigate current grocery conditions.

Assortment planning is top-of-mind for navigating current industry realities

The survey inquired about the urgency of replacing or updating assortment optimization systems, shelf space systems, or planogram automation in the next 12 to 18 months. Nearly 40% of respondents stated that assortment optimization is the most urgent system to be replaced.

Given current supply chain challenges, it’s not surprising to see those surveyed concerned about having the right products on hand for shoppers. Volatile marketplace conditions, shifting consumer demand, e-commerce growth, and new regulations have increased the complexity of the grocery industry, creating unprecedented challenges and opportunities for retailers to embrace more modern AI-based solutions.

Best-of-breed in the cloud is the go-to solution

Retailers unanimously agree that the planning landscape is changing. There is otherwise little agreement on reasons for change and how to change, but they embrace the value of cloud-based agility for key capabilities. Nearly one-third (31%) of respondents cited a desire to utilize cloud-based solutions for store clustering and planogram automation.

“The grocery industry has never been more complex, and the stakes are high to get category planning processes right to keep pace with change, grow sales and margins and outpace the competition,” said Cheryl Sullivan, General Manager and Chief Product Officer, Symphony RetailAI. “Retailers need AI-based macro space, micro space and assortment planning capabilities to enable the agility and insight they need to stay current with shopper preferences while balancing competitive and financial target priorities to drive both increased customer satisfaction and profitable revenue growth.”

“A great grocery reset is underway worldwide. Volatile marketplace conditions, shifting consumer demand, e-commerce growth and new regulations have increased the complexity of the grocery industry,” said Brian Kilcourse, Managing Partner, RSR Research. “This new era is causing grocers to rethink fundamental retail processes such as assortment and space planning.”

Symphony RetailAI and RSR will discuss additional research findings, along with a new maturity model benchmarking tool to help grocers understand their competitive position, during a webinar on May 31 for “Category Management for the New Dynamic Demand Era,” or visit Symphony RetailAI to learn more.

Survey Methodology

Symphony RetailAI commissioned RSR Research to conduct a survey covering the views of North American retailers on planning tools across different categories such as FMCG, hard goods, and general merchandise. Respondents from retailers with annual revenue above $5B made up 46% of those interviewed; 30% were from businesses with revenue above $1B and $5B, and remaining respondents’ organizations reported revenue below $1B.

About Symphony RetailAI

Symphony RetailAI is a leading provider of end-to-end, integrated AI-powered Merchandising, Marketing and Supply Chain Solutions for retailers and CPG manufacturers worldwide. Harnessing the power of AI, our solutions enhance agility, performance, and revenue growth across the retail value chain from source to consumer. Trusted by hundreds of the world’s leading retailers and manufacturers, Symphony RetailAI serves more than 1,200 organizations worldwide, including 15 of the top 25 global grocery retailers, 25 of the top 25 global CPG manufacturers, thousands of retail brands, and hundreds of national and regional chains. At Symphony RetailAI, it’s about more than transforming retail – it’s about building a culture of contributing to positive change: Symphony RetailAI achieved Great Place to Work Certification in all nine countries for which it was eligible. More at Symphony RetailAI.

About RSR Research

Retail Systems Research (“RSR”) is the only research company run by retailers for the retail industry. RSR provides insight into business and technology challenges facing the extended retail industry and thought leadership and advice on navigating these challenges for specific companies and the industry at large. To learn more about RSR, visit http://www.rsrresearch.com.

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