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When it comes to operating retail sales at a high level in 2019, sales forecasting is critical to your business. Whether you run your business as a brick and mortar or operate strictly online, forecasting technology is a must-have if you want to keep up with your competitors in today’s age.
In the past, we have labored long and hard with sales and inventory forecasting through endless paperwork, spreadsheets, and of course, the cost of the labor to do the forecasting. More recently BI was helmed as an efficient means in which retailers can conduct sales forecasts tasks, however, that still only delivers intelligence based on business hindsight.
Today, businesses that are leading the pack have integrated smart forecasting technology allowing them to operate at with greater efficiency and speed while simultaneously cutting labor costs down dramatically.
So why is Sales Forecasting such an essential part of the retail industry today? Essentially, when done right it will deliver the following benefits for your organization.

  • Improved decision-making about the future
  • Reduction of sales pipeline and forecast risks
  • Alignment of sales quotas and revenue expectations
  • Reduction of time spent planning territory coverage and setting quota assignments
  • Benchmarks that can be used to assess trends in the future
  • Ability to focus on a sales team on high-revenue, high-profit sales pipeline opportunities, resulting in improved win rates

Here are three tips you can take advantage of today if you’re debating the value of new sales forecasting technology:

Leverage The Data You Have

You may think that you need to start collecting and organizing a ton of different metrics before you can really start to forecast your future sales trends effectively. Don’t worry, you don’t need to do a ton of work before getting started. You can use what you have today.
That being said, the greater the data you have, the more accurate your future sales forecasts will be, and you must weigh this against the result you need with the forecasting itself.

Clearer Data, Less Noise

When it comes to utilizing forecasting technology, you will get the best results when you have the right data. The great thing is with our solution Sales Prediction by Curve, you will be assisted in exactly what data is essential for the algorithms to provide clear forecasts.
Additionally, with frictionless sales forecasting, you don’t need to worry about the “behind the scenes” forecasting technology. The sophisticated solution was designed with retailers and sales teams in mind.
In other words, making data available to you should be the primary goal, while understanding the technology behind it shouldn’t set you or your team back.

Data Can Only Take You So Far

Having access to sales forecasts and product demand data is imperative, as described above, however, having a clear plan on how to effectively utilize your sales trends is equally important.
To effectively create a sales forecast action plan we recommend starting with the right set of questions:

  • What are you going to focus on?
  • What are you going to change?
  • In practical terms, what steps are involved?
  • What territories and targets are you going to give each salesperson or team?

Keep in mind that the main purpose of sales forecasting is to provide information that you can use to make intelligent business decisions.
For example, if your forecast indicates a 30% increase in sales of products or services you may wish to begin searching for larger business premises and/or increase additional stock on your hot items. Conversely, a forecast of excess stock or low sales can allow you to mitigate the effect by taking advance measures such as reducing expenses or reorienting your marketing efforts.

In Conclusion

For leading retailers, sales forecasting is not only crucial to surviving, but also to thrive. Not only will it allow you to predict upcoming sales trends accurately and efficiently, but it will allow you to manage product demand.
Over the next decade, the difference between businesses that advance to the next level and those that fall behind will be greatly based upon the businesses that adopt new technology systems in their business.
You can still get an upper hand on the competition by allowing forecasting technology to push your business forward today.

According to a report published by eMarketer in 2016, the trade and commerce sector will experience double-digit growth until 2020. During this period sales are expected to increase by over $4 trillion.
It’s clear that only a handful of industries can boast about such a beaming future. To make sense of our rapidly changing industry, we’ve compiled for you some of the most disruptive and potentially beneficial trends in e-commerce that marketers and consumers can expect to see in the very near future.
Greater Integration of Machine Learning and AI
Given the increase in marketing and business automation, it is inevitable that the commercial sector will continue to be influenced by a deeper level of artificial intelligence and machine learning in the years ahead.
In fact, machine learning is already integrated into today’s leading e-commerce retailers. In the upcoming years, however, additional e-commerce retailers will increasingly utilize the many benefits that machine learning offers in order to maintain their competitive edge.

Additionally, product recommendations, upsells, product bundles, as well as inventory forecasts, are also poised to become even more accurate and helpful. As a move away from keyword and human-based recommendations occur, merchants with a wider range of signals for product purchases history will become evident. In essence, retailers will have the power to know what the customer wants, before the customer does.

REACH YOUR SALES AND INVENTORY GOALS WITH CURVE

Voice search
It’s becoming increasingly difficult to talk about retail search without mentioning the advent of voice search. In the near future voice will be one of the leading drivers of online sales innovation, specifically with consumers on the go.

With an increase in the adoption of smart home appliances such as amazons echo and Googles Home, retail purchases are witnessing the incorporation of voice search,
Voice search, particularly in the smart speaker market, is not just a matter for convenience and neatness anymore, but it is the next stage for customer loyalty. For instance, the sales completed via Amazon Echo units also provided retailers with many new selling opportunities, with upsell rates of more than 60% for some product lines.
Faster shipping and better delivery logistics
One of the very few remaining differentiators when it comes to e-commerce sectors is the time and quality of delivery logistics that a retailer carries out. As we all know, Amazon is the indisputable king of e-commerce delivery and seems to remain firm on its throne for the coming future. Even more intriguing is the data on Amazon’s fastest deliveries- just eight minutes for a forehead thermometer and a mere nine minutes for 5 pints of ice cream.
We’re not too far away from a time when we can expect Amazon and other e-commerce retailers to step up their logistics game and offer their customers lower delivery times and better services.
Unprecedented growth in mobile checkout systems and IoT
These days, without mentioning the use of mobile checkouts and payment systems, anticipated e-commerce trends would not be complete. Mobile payment has been one of the most brilliant changes to the way people shop since e-commerce has skyrocketed. The mobile payment market has increased steadily since 2015, and now there are ten different systems available today. These also include Apple pay and Google pay as well as proprietary offerings from different banks including Chase and Softbank.
With ongoing innovations and new technologies being introduced daily, the e-commerce sector has and will continue to witness one of the fastest evolutionary shifts that the industry has ever seen.

There is nothing worse for an online business than running out of stock or alternatively being stuck with unsold inventory. Both of these scenarios will potentially impact your bottom line.
Regardless of how great your marketing plan is, or how well your eCommerce website may be converting, if you fail to plan ahead, your customer will find an alternative, no question about it.
Sales and inventory forecasting delivers the insights to easily identify obsolete stock in order to promptly liquidate it – thus lowering directly lowering the costs associated with keeping it on your shelves.
For these reasons and so many others, sales and inventory forecasting are extremely important, and the fact is that it really isn’t as complicated as some may assume. Using a combination of sales history and future trends in sales, Curve’s machine-leading based sale prediction solution can supply today’s top retailers with future sales forecasts, based on a variety of point for every product.
An important benefit to leveraging Machine Learning for sales forecasting accuracy is the ability of Machine Learning to ingest data and present that information at a granular level. Today’s leading retailers and marketers are using machine learning to understand, anticipate and act on their sales faster and with more clarity than their competitors.

WHO SHOULD USE SALES PREDICTIONS

Sales forecasting is for everyone anyone who has a stake in a retail or eCommerce business and takes interest in predicting its future sales. At Curve, we assist eCommerce and brick-and-mortar merchants make informed business decisions, using our machine learning sales forecasting technology.

SALES FORECASTING AND INVENTORY MANAGEMENT BY CURVE

SALES PREDICTION BENEFITS

  • Optimal Stock – Avoid being out of stock or having too much stock.
  • Advanced Analytics  – Get weekly, monthly and quarterly sales forecasts.
  • Sales Predictions – Totals per category or per individual SKU.
  • Location-based Data –  Forecast your sales by stores or sales channel.
  • Cut time and Cost – Automate time-consuming sales prediction tasks.

To Recap, best practice demand forecasting helps a business succeed in having the right product in the right place, at the right time. Curve helps you forecast sales by time frames and variables such as geographic locations, individual SKUs and much more. Sales forecasting is an essential business technique that delivers a visual representation of where your business is heading. It’s not just a fancy top-level solution, but can be used by everyone who has a stake in the business. If you haven’t done so yet, schedule a free demo with Curve today. 

Over the past few years, both online and direct-to-consumer brands have been disrupting the retail space. But as you may have read, Things aren’t so cheerful for ASOS who have recently lowered their growth expectations, signaling that online retailers may be going through a turbulent phase.
ASOS shares have now fallen by more than 60% so far this year, this comes as a big surprise as until recently there was a clear divide between high street retailers and online-only operators. Bricks-and-mortar stores were reporting poor sales, but online sellers seemed to be doing fine.

It isn’t clear yet if the weakness ASOS is experiencing reflects changing consumer habits. While millennials have embraced online-only and mobile shopping, the younger Gen Z is 23% more likely to visit shopping malls compared to other groups.
Despite a difficult end to the quarter, Asos managed to deliver a 14 percent increase in total sales on a reported basis (13 percent on a constant currency basis), and a 16 percent increase in total orders placed, compared to the same period last year.



That being said, the current backdrop of economic uncertainty across several major markets, together with weakening consumer confidence, which Asos said has led to the weakest growth in online clothing sales in recent years, caused the retailer to lower its expectations for the year.
HOW IT ALL COULD HAVE BEEN PREDICTED

Taking this rapid shift into consideration, ASOS and other online retailers alike could have forecasted this massive drop in online shopping trends, and that’s through the use of Curve’s Sales Prediction and Analysis.
Curve’s predictive technology dissipates the e-commerce fog by providing accurate sales forecasts, support ticket predictions, as well as predictive insights on inventory management that saves e-commerce organizations valuable time and money by enabling them to efficiently plan their inventory, marketing initiatives, and resources.
Situations such as the 60% sales drop could have been predicted by integrating Sales Prediction by Curve, delivers a comprehensive forecast of entire product sales future by day, week and month, as well as optimized product service bundles.

DISCOVER MORE ABOUT SALES PREDICTION BY CURVE

Despite fluctuations in the e-commerce industry, this sector is expected to become the largest retail channel in the world by 2021, according to Euromonitor International, outpacing sales through retail outlets like supermarkets, independent grocers, apparel and footwear retailers, among others. E-commerce will account for 14% of total retail sales in that year.