Whitepaper: Building the Retail Future on Firm Foundations

What customers expect from a retailer today is fundamentally different five or ten years ago. They expect to pick up their mobile phone and find that retailer online. They expect to see them on social media. They expect that if they find the product they want is out of stock in store, they can purchase it online, and have it delivered the next day.

Scoping the Challenges

Retailers increasingly understand the drivers of this new omni-channel environment but many have not yet implemented systems to seamlessly manage it. Lack of coordination between parts of businesses means we often see different departments, from sales to marketing to online, working competitively. It’s a lack of coordination that will inevitably result in unproductive manual efforts. 

One of the main consequences of this failure to synchronise activities is poor stock management. Retailers often maintain separate ring-fenced stock pools and picking and distribution processes for their physical store and online environments. It’s a short-sighted approach.

Optimise Stock Management

A HSO survey shows that the moment of truth often arrives when an item is shown as out of stock online, an experience common to 92% of consumers. Here, if retailers suggest that the stock is available in store for collection as an alternative option, research shows the sale can be saved.

45% of consumers buying clothes, for example, said they would be prepared to travel to a nearby store if the item was out of stock online, enabling retailers to rescue a large volume of sales simply by adopting a more coordinated approach to their online and in-store stock.

Coordinated retail ERP

A more joined-up stock management approach will have significant value. To make it happen though, retailers need to move away from traditional siloed approaches to stock management and implement technology that supports a single view across the physical and online worlds.

To address this retailers increasingly need to look at putting in place technology that allows them to coordinate stock management – in truth, the retailers who ultimately succeed will ensure this process is seamless for the customer who in fact, should never be told that a product is out of stock.

ERP meets that need, enabling retailers to achieve a 360° stock view across the whole operation, while at the same time obtaining real-time updates on the stock held. As none of the stock is ring-fenced but instead distributed on a ‘first come, first served’ basis, this approach allows businesses to satisfy orders across all channels more easily. This allows them to manage the implications on forecasting future sales and predict long-term stock replenishment.

Microsoft Dynamics AX

Microsoft Dynamics AX ERP can be key for retailers, enabling them to provide better customer service. Again, it comes down to the ability to integrate systems to deliver a holistic view.  Ultimately, this knowledge also means that the business can start to promote related products, upsell and cross sell and provide a quality of customer service that is better all round.

Read the Whitepaper here

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