Creating Consistent Buying Experiences with an ERP Solution
Some say that we’re living in the time of the ‘experience economy’ - where people are more interested in accumulating memories than possessions. While there may be some truth to that, it doesn’t change that we still have a need for consumable goods to feed, clothe, and help us with our other essential daily tasks. However, there is an important takeaway for retailers derived from this idea; that of providing a lasting experience, not just a product for our customers. To provide such an experience that makes us stand out from the crowd and other retailers, we must first be consistent. One way to achieve this is by incorporating an ERP that works by centralizing our key operations on a single platform and database, while also collecting data that can later be utilized for better decision making and ultimately, a better customer experience.
Today we’re exploring the ways that an ERP solution drive greater consistency throughout the buying process and in our operations.
81% of buyers thoroughly research their product online before buying it. Subsequently, it is entirely possible that your customers may first view their product on your website before deciding to purchase it at a physical location. For this reason, it is necessary to have consistency in not only the products and their prices across locations (exception: site or store specific promotions) but also in terms of marketing, branding, and the overall tone and image of your retail business. An ERP can be useful in achieving this consistency because it automates many key functions of your businesses - and processes that are automated are more consistent. This can mean consistent management of product information and branding across your social networks and ecommerce locations, such as a mobile site or app or in recording POS data - or anything in between.
During the Sale:
Have sales or products listed on your social media but can’t find them on your website? Not an ideal customer experience. Unless there’s a major promotion that is an exclusive to one of your channels, the buying experience should be as uniform as possible across locations. In other words, it is essential that your core buying functions are consistent, but they should be optimized to suit the channel where they are located. However, the key takeaway should be that no matter where your customer buys from, they should get the same experience, same branding, and the same level of excellent customer service. Additionally, an ERP can be extremely helpful here in securing one of the most basic aspects of consistency: stock and inventory availability - because really, if you don’t have the right products in stock, does the rest of it really matter?
It’s much easier and worthwhile to keep an existing customer than it is to attract a new one, as you need to work just a little harder to retain them. This means that we need to give them more than just a consistent communication. We need to give them an even more consistent and regular engagement. Some ways that an ERP can support this include:
- Personalized shopping recommendations based on their previous purchases
- Bespoke text and email campaigns
- Improved customer service owing to better information
Your efforts won’t go unappreciated by your customers, making them more likely to share their experiences and become advocates of your brand among their own communities.
A consistent buying experience begins with consistent processes and operations. An ERP can simplify this through automation of repetitive tasks while also removing the inefficiencies that often arise when a business becomes ‘siloed’ between its key operations. An ERP solution also ensures consistency of your data by preventing duplicates and errors in entry and thus enabling simpler reporting; eventually leading to better decision making, fully closing the circle.
Creating a consistent buying experience has a ripple effect across your business and by working to ensure that each phase of the buying experience is aligned with the overall brand and its goals and ideals, you can create a happier and more loyal customer. The consistency enjoyed by your employees in their operational efforts will also result in better internal processes; ultimately improving your buying experience and bottom line.
If you’re interested in learning more about how to make a straightforward and trustworthy buying experience for your customers, write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org for your free consultation.
Disclaimer: The views expressed here are solely those of the author in his private capacity and do not in any way represent the views of Systems Limited, or any other entity related to Systems Limited.