In just a few decades, the primary information challenge for decision makers in retail businesses has changed completely. Instead of a lack of accurate business information, retailers find themselves inundated with too much raw, unstructured data that is difficult to decipher unaided. Thankfully, ERP technologies have become widely available and increasingly affordable, giving businesses of all sizes the ability to collect, analyze, and interpret large volumes of business data and take decisive action.
ERP platforms coordinate the efforts of each department and business process to ensure that they work together efficiently and effectively across the supply chain and during each phase of the customer journey. By choosing an ERP system that offers functionality for your specific industry, you can help your staff achieve better results in fewer steps and maintain focus on fulfilling orders and delivering value.
This article describes the ways that ERP systems enhance five processes that are essential to retail business:
Real-time information from ERP platforms makes your business more agile. Your organization’s budgeting and cash flow management becomes more accurate and easier to control. You’ll be able to take advantage of early payment discounts on vendor invoices, automatic payment tracking, and much more.
More and more retailers are adopting cloud-based ERP systems, which offer simple centralization across retail locations and keep organization-wide operations synchronized at all times. ERP solutions designed for retail businesses also offer easy integration with POS systems, so that you can track each transaction in real time. These enhancements enable faster, more accurate decision making.
Retail business should choose ERP platforms that offer:
- In-depth customer profiles that track order history across all channels
- Analytics and BI reports that let you view sales by hour, location, store department, cashier, etc.
- Stock levels and other important inventory and replenishment metrics
- Employee time registration
The positive impact of an ERP-enhanced understanding of operations can be seen in the way retailers schedule their workforce. With an ERP solution that quickly identifies peak hours for in-store traffic and customer communication, you can easily schedule personnel to accommodate temporary demand spikes. ERP platforms also assist organizations in setting up role-based permissions and creating a personalized and intuitive employee experience.
Customer Resource Management and Engagement
Not only should you maintain accurate customer records across all points of interaction to help your company deliver a superior customer experience, but you should also use these records to gain a better overall understanding of who your customers really are. ERP platforms compile buyer profiles that track each transaction, social network interaction, and much more, and help retailers redesign their product offering, supply chain, and marketing strategies to closely match the preferences of their customers.
E-Commerce and M-Commerce
In the past, successful retail brands began offering their customers more ways to shop, like mail order, telephone shopping, and then online stores and mobile apps. Today, retail leaders understand that just offering more channels isn’t enough – each channel must also offer a consistent experience and support cross-channel fulfilment (like “pay and pick up”, or “return anywhere”). Using an ERP platform facilitates the implementation of order fulfilment across channels and simplifies the centralized management of product information, pricing, merchandizing, marketing, and performance analysis for more consistent operations. Implementing an ERP system will help you quickly identify how well each channel is performing, and why.
Businesses that use ERP systems develop a deeper understanding of their retail channels and business processes, which contributes to more accurate forecasting and more responsive decision making. To discover how ERP solutions can enhance your retail operations, please contact Visionet Systems.