No matter what industry you’re in, the ability to quickly and accurately forecast budgets is key to keeping your business healthy and successful. Nowhere is this ability more important than in the retail and food & beverage sectors. The challenges you face in these industries are unique – you’re the first to feel economic shifts and are expected to not only adapt to trends, but also drive them.
Because retail and food service businesses are uniquely positioned within the market landscape, the need for a reliable budgeting and planning process is crucial. You need to be able to create complex budgets that consider seasonality and evolving sales channels while remaining agile enough to respond to shifting trends and changing consumer behavior. An inflexible planning process that relies on static reports and siloed data isn’t going to cut it. You need an integrated, near-real-time budgeting and planning solution that will allow you to proactively scale and adapt to market changes.
Top Challenges for Modern Retail and Food Businesses
Changing Consumer Behavior
Consumer shopping behavior is changing. Food and retail businesses must account for a growing number of recession-trained and fixed-income shoppers with higher standards and stronger values. This can make it hard to forecast sales and plan inventory levels, and the only way for these businesses to continue thriving is with the help of budgeting and planning solutions that give you real-time dashboarding and analysis with data-driven insights into buying patterns, price and inventory levels, and the competitive landscape.
Seasonality affects both retail and food & beverage, albeit in different ways. In the retail world you can expect ebbs and flows in traffic based on the timing of holidays, school calendars, and tax season, among other factors. In food service, menus are frequently decided by the season and what products are available. Given the impact seasonality has on supply chains, foot traffic, and consumer buying patterns, effective planning and forecasting is even more important to manage things like inventory, staffing levels, and cash-flow.
A budgeting and planning solution that makes scenario modeling easy is a valuable tool for retail and food service businesses to overcome the impacts of seasonality. By creating and analyzing various scenarios, business owners can better understand the potential outcomes of different situations and make informed decisions.
Being able to identify emerging trends and quickly adapt is critical for businesses in the retail and food & beverage sectors that can be heavily impacted by new trends driving consumer behavior. It’s challenging to balance the costs and demands of those trends without accurate and robust forecasting capabilities. Rolling forecasts can help business owners stay agile by providing them with up-to-date and forward-looking financial insights. Businesses can, in turn, respond effectively to emerging trends, capitalize on opportunities, and navigate challenges for sustained success.
Evolving Sales Channels
Most retail businesses today have both e-commerce and in-person sales strategies. And retail isn’t the only industry impacted by the evolution of sales channels. Increasingly, food and beverage businesses are entering multi-channel sales strategies with food delivery services like Uber Eats, Postmates, and Door Dash. While this diversification gives restaurants access to a much wider pool of diners, it can also be challenging to staff and manage inventories for emerging e-commerce channels on top of their traditional in-person businesses.
While providing multiple sales channels makes it easier for consumers to buy, it also adds complexity in the form of multiple delivery methods and accounting buckets. This only increases the need for effective budgeting and planning that uses an integrated database with multi-source connectivity to forecast better under various circumstances.
Supply Chain Complexities
While pandemic-induced supply chain issues have now mostly been resolved, supply chains still present complex challenges for retail and food service businesses to overcome. Most retailers and food service businesses depend on many vendors and suppliers to bring their products to market, so managing complex inventories, supplier relationships, and costs is critical to ensuring business success.
Budgeting and planning software that can leverage machine learning and AI capabilities takes the pain out of supply chain management by automating time-consuming manual tasks like inventory management, cost analysis, and contract adjustment. It’s also instrumental in monitoring market conditions, staying ahead of potential supply chain disruptions, and incorporating contingencies into operating budgets.
Retail and food & beverage businesses produce a ton of data from sales, inventory management, profitability, and more – and it can be challenging to find the story in the numbers. Using budgeting and planning tools with built-in dashboarding and data analysis capabilities will help you take a deeper dive into your data, improving your plans and forecasts with accurate, insightful analysis.
Bizview Helps Food Service and Retail Businesses Overcome Budgeting and Planning Challenges
From assessing and responding to the impacts of changing consumer behavior and evolving sales channels to preparing for supply chain issues and seasonal shifts, Bizview from insightsoftware is a complete budgeting and planning solution. Browser-based for easy access anywhere, Bizview integrates with more than 140 ERPs and EPMs to give you a single source of truth for all your data. This allows you to develop accurate, integrated plans that address the challenges facing your business and help you succeed.
Bizview’s integrated database puts you in control of your planning, budgeting, and forecasting with:
- Driver-based planning
- Scenario planning and modeling
- Rolling forecasts
- Real-time dashboarding and data analysis
- Machine learning and AI capabilities
Understanding and adapting to changing consumer behavior is crucial for retail and food service businesses. If you’re looking for long-term growth, you must invest in technology that gives you data-driven insights into your consumer’s behavior so you can build effective business plans that provide accurate, agile forecasts. Bizview gives you the ability to understand buying behavior, monitor inventory, and adapt business plans in real-time. This is the advantage that will let you thrive in a changing market.
Get the edge on competitors and help drive revenue growth during the inevitable highs and lows of economic uncertainty. Schedule a Bizview demo today.