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Accurate analytics and up-to-date statistics are some of the most valuable assets in a marketer’s toolset. They help you understand consumer behaviors, refine your marketing strategies and make accurate sale predictions. Today, it’s a well-known fact that the consumer journey begins online, but according to the latest statistics, that journey can end in numerous ways, from store visits to phone calls or online conversions.
Read on to discover the most relevant retail statistics from the last few months, and learn exactly what you need to do in order to increase your conversion rate and improve your inventory predictions.

Everything starts with online research

As mentioned above, online research is (in most cases) the starting journey for most consumers, as over 80% of consumers do online research before buying anything. And you shouldn’t be surprised to learn that 77% of consumers do their research from mobile devices.

Video marketing is vital for conversions

For the past few years, marketing experts have been predicting that video marketing will eventually be the most efficient marketing strategy, and now we finally have the data to back this prediction. According to a study conducted by the Aberdeen Group, video content delivers up to 66% more qualified leads as well as a 54%increase in brand awareness. Not only that but 46% of consumers watch more video ads online than they do on the TV. All this data shows that videos are the consumer’s preferred type of content. However, keep in mind that consumer’s attention span is now much shorter than it has ever been. It’s estimated that you now only have about 2.7 seconds to capture the attention of your audience, so use that time wisely.

Modern consumers rely on automatic deal finders

We did mention above that the consumer journey starts online in most cases, but traditional research is proving to be too time-consuming for modern customers who are now turning to apps and browser extensions that automatically find deals for them. 72% of consumers say they do this to save time, while 63% do it because they are more confident to buy a product whose price is recommended by an automatic deal finder.

E-commerce continues its slow but steady evolution

For the past few years, e-commerce sales have been growing by approximately 15-20% per year. Despite this obvious evolution, over 40% of small businesses still don’t even have a web presence, not to mention an online store.

Mobile retail is growing

It’s not only the research that is done via mobile devices, as today’s consumers are finding it easier and easier to also shop from mobile devices. According to a study performed by OuterBox, 79% of smartphone users have made at least one mobile purchase in the last few months. The holidays seem to be the busiest time for mobile consumers. Over the 2018 winter holidays, more than 40% of all ecommerce purchases were made from a mobile device.

Consumers want personalized shopping experiences

Making customers feel valued has always been an efficient marketing strategy, but this is not more important than ever. Based on a survey done by Accenture, 75% of modern customers are more likely to buy from a brand that addresses them by name and uses their purchase history to make shopping recommendations.

Flexible return policies build trust

Trust for online store recommendation continues to grow with consumers, that being said, some purchases are oblivious to the fact that online purchases are not as safe as store purchases. As such, it is no wonder that 60% of online shoppers review a retailer’s return policy before making a purchase, favoring brands with flexible and easy to understand return policies.

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Free deliveries have a high impact

No one likes to pay shipping fees, so it should come as no surprise that 90% of online consumers are more likely to make a purchase that comes with free delivery.

Physical shops continue to lose terrain

For a long time, consumers used to say that they prefer to try something before buying it, but according to the latest data, the popularity of physical shops is decreasing at a dramatic rate, with only 23% of retail consumers still declaring that they prefer a traditional shopping experience.

Search engines reclaim their top position on traffic and conversions

Social media has certainly made an impact in online shopping trends and behavior, however, you shouldn’t count out consumers that are turning back to search engines for both research and purchases. According to the latest data, search engines generate over 300% more traffic than social media posts. Moreover, the second page of search engine results is still the best place to hide a body, as over 75% of people don’t read past the first page.

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.

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.