As a whole, it’s fair to say that 2020 has been a year of extremes. On a global level, the impact and reaction to the pandemic has led to a wide variety of economic and social outcomes, some of which we are experiencing in real time. Within the extremes and the government (or corporate) responses to them, we have attempted to grab any piece of normalcy we can within the confines of our homes. More specifically, retail therapy is booming.
Online shopping, once something that was a simple alt-tab away for the working world, is now an essential shopping tool and an even more essential revenue stream for businesses of all sizes. While most retail shopping locations were shut down completely and then allowed to operate at a fraction of their normal capacity, that didn’t stop the workforce from turning their iPads into POS systems. Amazon, while not disclosing their actual sales numbers, revealed that “[i]ndependent businesses selling on Amazon surpassed $4.8 billion in worldwide sales from Black Friday through Cyber Monday, Amazon said, noting that the figure was up 60% from last year. It added that 71,000 small and medium-sized businesses had seen sales above $100,000 in this holiday season.” Even a postponed Amazon Prime Day in mid October had a massive impact on businesses worldwide, as it boosted up traffic to non-Amazon retail sites by 17% and propped up conversion rates another 13%.
While some businesses floundered during the initial lockdowns, others took advantage of the uncertainty to make a splash and disrupt their industry’s paradigm. The obvious example is Zoom, who somehow cut through Google Hangouts and Apple’s FaceTime (to say nothing of UberMeetings or BlueJeans) to become the de facto standard meeting/trivia/happy hour software of choice. But smaller companies found alternate avenues to success as well. Self care DTC start ups, ranging from CBD to aromatherapy to beauty products, have leapfrogged retailers and grown at exponential rates as they ship products across the country. To no surprise, despite the economic uncertainty the United States experienced, eCommerce sales have simply rocketed back up in the second half of 2020 with little chance of slowing down, stimulus plan willing.
As the Black Friday / Cyber Monday shopping bonanza comes to a close, so too does 2020. For business owners, that leads to major decision making as they approach the new year. For those that struggled through 2020, questions about merchandise and position planning come immediately to mind as they plot their bounce back. For those that found an avenue for success, being able to sustain it and grow their lead becomes the new challenge. Being able to forecast into 2021 accurately requires not just clean data of 2020, but also the ability to parse through it and make clear decisions on what were trends, aberrations, abnormalities, and identify the gaps in the data.
As we mentioned recently, the latest updates to the Oracle Predictor Engine are almost a tailor fit for the challenges that businesses will be experiencing in 2021. Auto Predict is a powerful tool, but it can now allow forecasting teams to parse through large swaths of data without being hampered by the gaps or exceptions that commonly bog down even the most simple forecast. If 2020 taught us anything, it’s that the unpredictable can happen at almost any time. By utilizing Base Prediction, Best Case, and Worst Case prediction versions, a forecasting team can generate multiple outcomes based on both contemporary data and variances.
Predictive Planning is a key part of all of the Promethean Analytics’ solutions and, with our client-first approach, can be brought to your team in a way that makes sense. For companies that are looking to understand inventory and marketing needs in 2021, the Merchandise Planning Solution can help merchandise planning teams generate accurate demand forecasts that can reduce stock outs or overstocks in the new year, all while planning for black swan events or traditional promotional opportunities. For other institutions that are trying to understand how their headcount could change, our Position Planning Solution can provide deep insights into the corporate structure and use scenario planning to provide deep looks into a dynamic workplace.
As always, just reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org for more information or a demo of our Solutions. In the next few weeks we will be revealing more key learnings from 2020 – stay tuned.