For example, imagine that you’re making winter orders for ice cream and you’re trying to decide how much freezer space to offer two different brands of vanilla: “Bryrs Natural Vanilla” (BNV) and “Haagen Dazs Vanilla 28oz” (HDV). They seem extremely similar to you as ice creams (although you note that the first is actually a 48 ounce container) but which should you purchase more of? You turn to the bird’s-eye view of your Census Division, let’s say “Middle Atlantic” to find out. By taking raw movement in the left-hand figure and decomposing it into the right-hand figure–and a little more magic from BRdata to get you closer to decision-critical data–you learn a few things (among “Middle Atlantic” independents):
- BNV has a non-seasonal trend in November roughly equal to HDV (although HDV is actually a bit higher)
- BNV is expected to sell fewer units in December [BNV: 1,628; HDV: 3,867]
- BNV is expected to sell 8% more units in December than it did in November (while HDV is expected to sell 20% fewer) [BNV: 1,761; HDV: 3,099]
- BNV is expected to sell volume (units * size) at a ratio of 1:1 with HDV (while it sold 0.7:1.0 in November)
Given that BNV is forecasted to increase it’s ratio to HDV, you go ahead and order more of BNV than usual, giving it closer to 1:1 shelf space. Since this is historical data, we can answer the question: how did this decision pan out? While we have of course chosen our specific example for illustrative purposes, we’ll highlight that the average forecast reduces benchmark prediction error by ~15%. In this particular case, BNV sold 1,657 units (+2% over November) while HDV sold 3,232 (-16% over November). If you had used November’s numbers (BNV: 1,628; HDV: 3,867), you would have given BNV 0.7x the shelf space of HDV. Since the actual December numbers were 0.9x by volume, your decision to approach 1:1 shelf space may have paid off in your Store. Of course, we don’t yet know how this decision would fare in January and February.
This type of bird’s-eye view is also available at the level of Categories (
12345678) and Parent Categories (
1234xxxx), allowing you to quickly spot market trends that have been broken down into their component parts: non-seasonal changes in movement, seasonal changes, and other changes. Of course, if you’re interested in learning more (about this bird’s-eye view, or even applying this technique to your own Stores), don’t hesitate to reach out to us.