Published: 04 January 2001
Analyst(s): Carol L. Simmons, Greg Buzek
Merchandising systems have quickly become the core of the retail distribution system process in recent years. Once relegated to the opening of purchase orders and tracking the receipt of merchandise, most systems today span the distribution channel, forecasting what should be sold, timing discounts, and allocating merchandise to move quickly. Additionally, the rules are changing for the channels of procurement (B2B Exchanges vs. EDI) and how the merchandise is sold to the end consumer (Internet vs. Traditional Outlet). The effective use of a strong merchandising system has moved from the function of cost control to the strategic advantage for many retailers, not only helping to sell their products, but also helping them to determine what merchandise they should be selling, and from whom the merchandise should be sourced. With challenges coming from ever-expanding discount chains, Internet-only retailers, and changing consumer tastes, retailers worldwide are looking to exploit new, advanced merchandising systems to grow their businesses more profitably.
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