In recent years, retailers have been rocked by drastic changes to their sector, forcing transformation and reinvention to meet the changing needs of customers and adapt to new economic and environmental challenges.
The rapid growth in sales channels has prompted retailers to adopt new solutions that allow them to be more productive and efficient and adapt their business processes quickly.
The need for real-time, integrated information, accessible across the organisation, has become key to managing stock, pricing, cash, and margins and essential to staying afloat. A good ERP solution will enable this.
In this article, we discuss the 6 key factors any retailer should consider when developing an optimal ERP for their business.
Continuous Cloud support
An essential requirement these days is to have the ERP system hosted in the cloud, enabling access for all users, anywhere, from any device, to provide real time information. It will also guarantee greater efficiency in maintenance costs. Many on-premises ERPs are becoming obsolete and unsupported, leading to a sub-optimal system with higher maintenance costs and risks of system failures.
Customers need to buy what, when, how, and where THEY want. This can be delivered by an ERP solution that offers a unified and coherent experience across all physical and digital channels.
To achieve this, it is essential that back office and in-store operations interact on a completely unified platform. Having a connected infrastructure is critical for managing inventory and payments in one place.
A great ERP solution for retail will enable product information to be managed quicky and easily, allocating stock to different stores and channels – whether virtual or physical. It also manages payments to be made and checked at sale points in real-time, through the e-commerce functionality.
Integrating your eCommerce sales channels with your ERP system allows you to operate more efficiently in several ways.
The payment experience should be easy, instant, and seamless for all common payment types. By unifying data systems, companies will be better poised to deliver more relevant and optimized eCommerce experiences, enhanced shopper-level personalisation and expand sales opportunities. This results in lower overheads, improved conversion rates, faster processing, and real-time visibility into financial and order data. Critically, it enables management to better manage cash flow and the margins.
To build a trust base with customers, an ERP solution must be able to show critical information in real time – and facilitate management action.
The ability to view inventory in real time is necessary to avoid mistakes in stock control and prevent customers from having a poor experience due to the lack of stock. Above all, a good system will be able to inform management instantly of the financial situation.
For retailers, a robust, scalable ERP system that accompanies the growth and seasonality of business is vital, considering periods, or even specific dates, where sales peak and transactions can suddenly triple. Valentine’s Day or Black Friday promotions can only be successful if orders can be made, payments handled, and deliveries fulfilled on time.
Lost opportunities and custom, even bad PR can be the result of a poor operations management system.
Ensuring that customers are loyal is easier if the ERP system facilitates loyalty programs that increase the lifetime value of your customers, along with offers and discount schemes that increase sales and conversion rates.
Customers value good services and quick responses which is possible with an integrated system that can provide tailored experiences to each customer, at scale, across all customer touch points. This helps deliver greater trust, loyalty and repeat purchase.
In turn, repeat purchasers and loyalty facilitates cash and profit projections which an integrated ERP-CRM system can help deliver.
The advantages of having a cloud-based, scalable, ERP solution that integrates with ecommerce functionality and customer information are immeasurable for competitiveness – and survival – in the retail sector.
Microsoft Dynamics 365 is one such ERP solution, meeting all the key retail functionality requirements, including an integrated solution for back and front-office processes; invoice issue; inventory management; planning; discount schemes; offers; loyalty programs; and e-commerce integration, amongst other critical financial information and data management requirements.
Should you wish to find out more about how a cloud-based ERP solution could better assist your retail business, or if you’re looking to make some improvements to your current system, please get in touch for a friendly discussion.
Dynamo Global is a trusted Microsoft Dynamics Gold ERP Partner delivering valuable ERP solutions to Clients around the world. We know what functionalities can be applied to best suit the retail sector to make a difference to the business. For more information about us, do visit our website