Today’s modern shopper has sky-high expectations when it comes to customer service and product availability, leaving retailers and manufacturers with little room for error. Getting merchandise assortments right the first time is crucial to ensuring shopper satisfaction, as well as profitability. Yet nearly 70 percent of the Voice of the Category Manager survey respondents feel they are behind on leveraging predictive analytics to improve their pricing and merchandising decisions.

There’s no doubt that leveraging data-driven consumer insights can drive effective merchandising assortments, but it’s important to remember that creating customer-centric planograms is only part of the assortment localization process. Making sure those planograms are implemented at the store level is just as critical. While most survey respondents (86 percent) believe that in-store planogram compliance is essential for success, 37 percent of respondents report that they still do not measure it.

While implementing localized assortments at the store or store-cluster level can yield significant improvements in shopper satisfaction, companies also need to be prepared to adjust their corporate compliance processes as needed.

Nearly half (47 percent) of respondents report that assortment localization has changed how corporate compliance is handled at the individual store level. Of those, 28 percent report that if localization fits within broader corporate compliance rules, individual stores can make their own decisions, whereas 19 percent say that they now provide multiple compliance-approved options from which store managers can choose.

Additionally, 48 percent of respondents report that localization has caused a bigger need for support at the headquarter office. Of those respondents, 87 percent say they have added 10-20 percent more support.

In the next five years, respondents anticipate that localization efforts will result in more changes to corporate compliance. Many respondents predict that stores will need more resources to provide additional options from headquarters (38 percent) and that businesses will begin to break down into smaller regions to allow for local customization (28 percent). Twenty-seven percent expect there to be more flexibility and decision making at the store level.

To read the rest of the Voice of the Category Manager survey results, download the executive summary or view our infographics for a deep dive into the manufacturer’s and retailer’s perspectives.