Some retailers launched online deals well in advance of Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
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Another tactic that helps support demand forecasting systems is simply holding back some inventory. “Some of our clients know how to allocate products across their stores, but they’ll hold 20% at their distribution centers to wait and see where demand is going, then ship that 20% to the strongest locations,” says Namita Dhallan, group vice president of product management at JDA.
At Cooking.com, the best demand forecasting technology can only go so far. “We use our demand forecasting system for managing how our business normally runs,” Handlen says, “but it still takes a guess about how much to buy after a product is featured on the ‘Today Show.’”