RSR Research Study: The Realities of Trying To Alter Decades of Retail Practices in a Single Year

March 4, 2021 3:00 AM EST

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MIAMI--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- Retail Systems Research, LLC today released its findings from its 2021 Benchmark Report, Managing Through Disruptive Times With Data Driven Speed And Adaptability. The report, based on a survey of 160 retailers, found that it is simply unfair to ask retailers to have adapted in as many ways as the market demanded of them between Q1 and Q2 2020.

"What worked until very recently no longer works," reports Brian Kilcourse, managing partner at RSR Research and co-author of the report. "How the buy (supply-facing) side of the retail business model is designed and how well it is synchronized with the new sell (customer-facing) side of operations has become front-and-center for retailers.”

Key findings of the research include:

  • Regardless of their size, what products they sell, or where they are located, retail respondents noted they were entirely unprepared for a world where every product is bought online.
    More than one out of every two retailers who participated in the research cites the ability to meet growing online demand as their number one business challenge. The fact that long-established and highly efficient trade routes were completely shut down for months on end – coupled with a full upending of worker and product safety protocols – only further compounds these problems.
  • When it comes to the opportunities they perceive, retailers want help predicting what products they’ll need on hand.
    Because the uncertainly of the past year removes the ability to forecast based on historical data, those whose sales are already outperforming the industry average place a much higher emphasis on the value of data coming in from external sources. In fact, 77% of these Retail Winners cite “being able to produce highly accurate and granular forecasts” as the highest value thing they can do to better align supply with demand, and that means turning to next generation intelligence tools for help.
  • The very first roadblock retailers self-identify is their own systems.
    Quite simply, old technologies cannot support the agility they so desperately need. Equally as outdated? The reporting systems riding on the backs of these technologies that are meant to inform users on the state of the union. This is a dangerous combination, and respondents are virtually split (46% select each as their top inhibitor) as to which one is worse.

Managing Through Disruptive Times With Data Driven Speed And Adaptability contains analysis of the business drivers, opportunities, and organizational constraints surrounding supply chain and planning operations within retail. It also offers baseline recommendations for navigating this brave new world for retailers.

The report is part of RSR Research's ongoing efforts to provide market intelligence on retail technology trends, is sponsored by Relex, and can be downloaded for free here.

To learn more about RSR, visit

RSR Research, LLC
Linda Wolfe, 774-284-4679

Source: Retail Systems Research, LLC

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