By Diana McHenry, SAS
In Integrated Solutions for Retailers' recent survey of retail executives' 2011 technology investment priorities, 39.2% of those surveyed indicated merchandising technology as key. Merchandising technology came in second only to marketing and promotions technologies (at 55.1%) as a critical investment for the coming year. With that trend in mind, it's reasonable to ask why the time-honored "art" of merchandising is now being reevaluated through the microscope of science and technology.
Economic shifts, retail mergers, acquisitions and growth, and the consumer-driven technology explosion are all factors influencing retail companies to view merchandising more analytically. It's not competitively sound to make merchandising decisions based on hunches and traditions; the world has become far too complex for that. Merchandising today must be tempered by a significant injection of fact-based science to work at optimum levels and provide retailers with bottom-line results. Anything less puts a retail business in a perilous position.