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The Art of Decision-Making: What Retailers Need to Know in 2024

The Art of Decision-Making: What Retailers Need to Know in 2024

Will we finally discover the true state of consumer confidence and spending ability in 2024?

Retail is always changing, with people’s buying habits, technology and world markets all playing a role. After the pandemic, things got even more complicated. Government stimulus checks, supply chain disruption and inflation distorted the picture for retailers trying to forecast demand. Commentators have been predicting a recession, but it hasn’t happened yet. Consumers don’t seem very optimistic, but they’re still spending.

It’s a confusing landscape for decision-makers who need to predict what people want to buy in order to improve sell-through, maintain optimal inventory levels and avoid discounting too much. So how can retailers make better decisions on what to invest in, develop and drop in 2024 and beyond?

How consumers are changing the game for retail decision-makers

Consumer trends shape daily retail decisions, and retailers need to be able to translate the impact of these larger forces into granular decisions about products, merchandising, sourcing and more. In 2024, retailers should watch trends such as:

  1. Personalized experiences. Consumers seek a personalized, seamless experience across all buying channels to stay brand loyal. Retailers will be zooming in on loyalty programs, engagement and omnichannel experiences in 2024.
  2. Direct-to-consumer models are challenging traditional marketing channels, and the supply chain of the future will demand smarter self-regulation decisions in order to deliver the products consumers want on time. End-to-end visibility will be the primary requirement for effective supply chain management.
  3. Regional variations. Consumer preferences will pressure brands to develop more regional products aligned with the nuances of their lifestyles, making planning, assortment management and supply chain decisions even more pressing.
  4. Health and the environment. Growing concerns about health and environmental sustainability are reshaping the world of retail, and particularly impact the food and beverage industry.
  5. ESG concerns and reporting. Consumers increasingly gravitate towards purpose-driven brands responsive to Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) concerns.  Most companies are now integrating ESG goals into their culture and daily operations, and pressure to comply with these guidelines will continue to intensify.

Decision-making challenges

With trends like these in mind, and a mountain of data on product performance, margins and more, retailers need to find ways to reconcile and analyze this information in a way that enables them to make better decisions.

Decision-making is a very complex process that doesn’t have a one-size-fits-all solution. Every business has its own decision-making style, whether top-down or collaborative. As organizations grow, decision-making becomes more intricate, involving diverse roles and information requirements.

Data silos and gaps in communication create challenges. All too often, the data that teams are basing decisions on is inaccurate, out of date, incomplete or hard to digest. Manual work, spreadsheet-based systems and the absence of one central ‘brain’ for data hinders accuracy and adaptability. Timelines get delayed, and team morale suffers.

Why invest in better decision-making?

When the rate of change inside an institution becomes slower than the rate of change outside, the end is near.”

Jack Welch

Not having the right tools to assess data properly and connect teams for decision-making has knock-on effects in every area of your business.

Of course, the flipside of this situation is that improving decision-making results in significant benefits and financial impacts, including:

  • Reductions in overproduction and inventory
  • Lower raw material costs and increased profit margins
  • More innovation and promotional opportunities
  • Improved organizational motivation and retention
  • Reclaimed time previously spent on non-value-added tasks

Increasingly, retailers are recognizing the importance of structuring and supporting their decision-making processes, and investing in the tools they need to make truly informed decisions using the most accurate and relevant data available.

Today, technology has evolved to accommodate the complexities of group decision-making, making it faster, more effective, more accurate and altogether less painful!

Our latest eBook, The Art of Decision-Making in 2024 Retail, explores key considerations for retailers who want to enhance decision-making in their organizations and dives into the exciting visual collaboration technology that is transforming decision-making for major brands and retailers.