Shining A Light On The Retail Demand Chain

by Randy Fields, Bruce Christiansen and Sage Horner

According to a study by Retail Feedback Group in October 2012, when shoppers can’t find what they want…

50% will purchase at a competitor, up 64% from six years ago.
• 38% won’t purchase the item at all, an increase of 30% from six years ago.
• 12% will switch brands, down 20% from six years ago.

Visibility is defined as the state of being seen and is synonymous to clear view. For retailers and their trading partners, visibility in the consumer demand chain STARTS at the shelf and supports better decision making at each node back up the demand chain…ultimately putting the right product, at the best location with the appropriate inventory level and at the lowest cost.

Visibility enables an objective approach to sales and inventory planning that makes retailers and suppliers the shoppers’ vocal advocate. Visibility answers the question –“what is best for your consumers?” Versus – “what is best for your trading partners?” Or even—“what is best for your internal operations environment?”

The bottom line is that Visibility helps companies drive sales, grow customer loyalty and ensure transparent product sourcing and handling throughout the extended supply and consumer demand chain.

Perhaps a better way to look at the issue of visibility is to see what happens when you don’t look at the extended supply chain. Not having visibility to inventory in the supply chain can result in dramatic swings in stock levels, from overstocks to out-of-stocks and back. Not having visibility to the store shelf and the consumer leads to a decrease in customer loyalty, the corresponding loss of brand relevance in the customers mind and an increase in “secondary shoppers” who tend to be less profitable. And, not having visibility to promotional effectiveness and other merchandising activities can quickly turn a popular item, brand or store into a dinosaur.

Leslie Hand, a research director IDC Retail Insights, recently wrote that the “Optimization of the supply chain goes hand in hand with another important prediction IDC Global Retail Insights sees for the coming year. We believe retailers will invest in technologies that enable visibility, visualization and virtualization.

Central to this growing effort to build visibility into the food supply chain from farm to fork is the desire for grocers to strengthen their brand, which today includes an increasing amount of store-brand and private-label product that thrust grocers into the role of manufacturer or at least product developer and steward.”

At Park City Group, our portfolio of technologies and solutions enable an “illumination” of your supply chain. We help drives sales, maximizes return on inventory investments, realize supply chain efficiencies and assist you in building customer loyalty.

We invented third party scan-based trading and remain the premier system. We created USE – Universal System Exchange™ – to ensure that all retail and supply chain systems can quickly and accurately talk to other. We developed a series of industry leading standards and business metrics, and built a consultative solutions team all with the goal of truly understanding all trigger points for shopper activity. Partner with PCG and we’ll combine of our industry leading technology and veteran merchandising and supply chain expertise to customize collaborative solutions that will differentiate you from your competition, grow customer loyalty and create win-win-win’s for Retailer, Manufacturer and most importantly THE CONSUMER!

Next time we’ll discuss how visibility is helping to drive sales, improve the customer experience and make the use of promotional funds more efficient. We’ll show how retailers and suppliers are making investments in their ability to see and understand their extended supply and demand chains, and then work to use that knowledge to build a 360 degree view of the shopper and their operations.

Contact us today and we’ll listen to your challenges and then help you develop and execute a plan to Sell More, Stock Less and See Everything: Email us at, or call (435) 645-2205.

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