Customers that spend more also use more channels to shop. “Omnichannel” shoppers effortlessly switch from browsing your product catalog on a laptop to completing their purchase using a smartphone, and then to sharing their experience via social media. These tech-savvy consumers can be up to 8 times more valuable than ones that use a single channel. After implementing omnichannel capabilities, some retailers have experienced over 6 times more sales in less than a year.
Omnichannel retail requires organizations to consolidate data from each of their retail channels to create a universal repository of critical information. However, many businesses use separate ERP and eCommerce platforms to manage their internal and customer-facing business processes. While adopting an omnichannel approach to retail, most of these businesses use a separate connector application to keep both platforms in sync. This option is usually less efficient, more complex, and more expensive to maintain than using a single, unified platform.
Introducing Microsoft Dynamics 365 Commerce
Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Retail has evolved into Microsoft Dynamics 365 Commerce, which offers an impeccable omnichannel experience that unifies your back-office, in-store, call center, and website experiences. Its Connected Store empowers retailers with real-time observational data to improve in-store performance by analyzing customer movement and the status of products.
Dynamics 365 Commerce is deeply integrated with other modules of Dynamics 365 like Inventory Management, Order Management, Procurement, Warehouse, Supply Chain, Finance and Operations to form a seamless, unified system. Businesses that use these modules together don’t have to manage their online store separately. Any products present in their Dynamics 365 assortments can be mapped to their online store or brick-and-mortar locations. There’s no need to manually rekey or synchronize product information into a separate system for each channel.
Using Dynamics 365 Commerce also reduces costs and complexity associated with the technology footprint. You don’t have to interact with separate vendors for ERP and eCommerce. You don’t need separate technology experts on your payroll or separate managed service providers. It’s one family of business applications, which results in lower maintenance costs, no platform connectors or sync tools, and fewer points of contact when you need assistance. The highly integrated nature of Dynamics 365 Commerce is what makes it unlike any digital commerce solution that has come before it; none of its competitors can boast this level of seamlessness.
Here are a few of Dynamics 365 Commerce’s omnichannel capabilities, which will make your conversion rates, customer engagement, and customer satisfaction skyrocket:
Dynamics 365 Commerce makes it easy to update your product catalog and pricing. You simply make changes to product prices and descriptions in a central location, and all in-store POS terminals and online product pages reflect those changes automatically. You can easily set up cross-sell and upsell opportunities at every customer touchpoint. For example, if your sporting goods business is about to launch a new line of snowboards, you only have to enter the product information once, and all the new SKUs become available in all channels.
Microsoft Dynamics 365 Commerce lets customers add your products to their wishlist via your online store. The platform’s omnichannel capabilities can inform customers when their wishlist items are on sale or clearance via SMS, email, online store, call center rep, or in-store POS. You could also recommend products that are similar to their wishlist items.
Businesses that don’t have a robust omnichannel platform sometimes fail to apply the same promotional pricing to the same product in a different channel. This can have a severe impact on customer churn. Dynamics 365 Commerce improves brand consistency, increases customer retention, and reduces product management effort by applying discounts and promotions uniformly across all channels. You’ll never have to spend time price matching products your in-store products with your own online store.
Loyalty and gift cards
Imagine you’re having trouble deciding what to get your nephew for Christmas, and you’re down to the wire. Thankfully, his favorite store offers online gift cards! They’re a great way to give your nephew the freedom to pick a present he’ll like. Dynamics 365 Commerce lets your customers purchase and redeem gift cards via whichever channel they want. Online codes work in-store and vice versa.
Similarly, many retailers have loyalty programs that allow customers to rack up reward points that they can spend on products or exclusive gifts. However, omnichannel collection and redemption of points is a must-have feature; maintaining separate points totals or lists of rewards for each channel is a sure way to upset your customers. Dynamics 365 Commerce makes sure that points that you earn from online purchases can be redeemed for in-store items and the other way around.
Order payment and fulfillment
Suppose you’re driving from Boulder to visit your parents in Phoenix, and you decide to pick up a new putter for your golf-enthusiast dad. The store in Denver doesn’t have the product in stock, but their Phoenix location has one left. How can you make sure it isn’t sold by the time you get there?
With Microsoft Dynamics 365 Commerce, customers have access to more combinations of ways to pay for and receive their purchases than ever before. You have the potential to sell your products online, in a physical store, via mobile app, call center, or mail order. Customers can use your website or app to locate the closest stores that have a specific product in stock. They can pay for items via one channel and receive them via a different channel. They can also return goods to a different location or using a different channel than the one they used to make the purchase.
Thankfully, the golf equipment company uses Dynamics 365 Commerce, so you can pay for the putter in Denver and pick it up when you get to Phoenix.
Omnichannel fulfillment also simplifies inter-store transfers. If a customer wants to pick up an out-of-stock product from a specific location, a store representative can order it from another store. It’s even possible to streamline your supply chain by using your retail locations as small-scale distribution centers that receive products from nearby suppliers and ship them to online shoppers in the area. This approach has the potential to significantly reduce order fulfillment times and warehouse and transportation costs.
With Dynamics 365 Commerce, it isn’t just sales information that’s consolidated across channels; each customer’s support requests and interactions with customer care representatives are also logged centrally. This omnichannel support history helps your customer care team deliver the kind of service that attracts life-long customers. They’ll know everything that the customer has discussed earlier, whether they got in touch via text chat, in person, or over the phone.
Your team will have complete visibility into the status of each of the customer’s orders and support requests. Customers will rarely be asked to repeat themselves, the call will require fewer transfers, and you’ll be able to resolve issues more quickly.
Suppose a customer calls your support line about receiving a dinner set with the wrong floral detailing. Your customer care rep checks the customer’s online order, verifies that the wrong product was shipped, and then locates the correct SKU in a store near the customer’s shipping address. The support rep can then let the customer decide to either wait a few days for delivery or pick the product up from the store. If the customer chooses in-store pickup, the customer care rep can have the item put aside for them.
If you want to deliver an amazingly seamless omnichannel customer experience, Dynamics 365’s powerful features and strongly integrated system will enable you to achieve your goals much faster.
Visionet is a strategic partner for Microsoft Dynamics 365 Commerce and our team has been part of the Dynamics 365 Commerce journey since its private preview. Our expertise in the Digital Commerce space and our in-depth knowledge of the Dynamics 365 Commerce platform will accelerate your journey in achieving omnichannel capabilities.
Visionet can create a fully functional proof-of-concept store in Dynamics 365 Commerce using your product catalog and your existing site’s user experience in just one week to showcase the powerful capabilities of the platform! Get in touch today for more information.