With over 25 years’ experience delivering Microsoft ERP solutions, HSO knows retail. With digital and multi-channel now the norm in any retail strategy, the industry landscape has changed, and there looks to be both exciting times and challenges ahead in 2015 for retailers to optimise developing sales channels. At HSO, we have been discussing these opportunities and challenges, and how Microsoft Dynamics AX can lead retailers to success in the next 12 months:
1. Retailers will really get online
Online retailing is hardly a new opportunity, with business practising ecommerce for 20 years. Amazon sold its first item in 1995. However, some of the world’s largest retail powers have really upped the ante recently in terms of ease of use and customer experience of online retail platforms. Could 2015 be the year that Amazon really gets taken on at its own game?
Retailers built around an ERP solution will generally be better placed to compete with such retailers. With Online Store function empowering the online shopping experience, consistency between online and offline will become closer than ever.
2. It’s more of the same for retail
Unlike previous years, there is not expected to be a big retail boom around an emerging fashion trend. Therefore, it is predicted that retail businesses who can operate with the greatest level of efficiency and make incremental wins will be the most successful. Efficient inventory management and distribution across multiple sales channels with ERP looks set to be the solution of choice to maximise sales this year.
3. POS is set to evolve
Point of sale (POS) capability is set to become of greater consideration for retailers in the coming 12 months. With retailers seeking new ways to differentiate haemorrhaging margins, providing a memorable customer experience is essential with technologies such as POS being used to understand shoppers behaviour and preferences by improving data collection and analysis, providing tailored offers and promotional content. Cloud based POS systems in ERP solutions such as Microsoft Dynamics AX will provide retailers with the ability to deliver highly tailored experiences in real time, resulting in customer delight.
4. Consistent messaging across the board
The retail industry will become further engrained within the world of digital, with spending on digital marketing campaigns via social media, SEO and PPC continuing to grow. However, retailers are recognising inconsistencies in terms of messaging and personalisation between these modern media sources and more traditional online elements such as websites and email. Retailers can overcome this problem by using the Marketing Automation module featured within Microsoft Dynamics AX, using it to schedule and deliver tailored marketing content.
5. Retail gets mobile
Mobile applications may not be a new feature of the retail industry, but they will become much more valuable to those operating in the sector. Mobile apps will no longer be used for simple functions such as product browsing and ‘find a store’, but become fully integrated aspects of the sales channel for payment transactions and loyalty programs. Microsoft Dynamics AX can be used to develop new, innovative mobile apps to provide retailers with enhance functionality and develop new methods of transacting and offering a leading customer experience.