How to Transform Retail Operations with Dynamics 365
When we talk about transforming retail operations, what we’re referring to is the process of merging business functions to enable the seamless and simplified processes. This means that all necessary functions serve to benefit each other and to empower growth and evolution - ultimately resulting in a better buying process and a more satisfied customer. To do so, it is important that your business has the best tools and platforms to reach these goals; and for many, an ERP solution is an ideal choice.
By integrating their operations, retailers stand to improve in ways that will ultimately increase their bottom line by reducing expenses and facilitating processes that can lead to higher profits. It can also promote communication, transparency, and elimination of waste; all of which can indirectly lead to lower expenses and higher profits. The out of the box functionality that comes with Microsoft Dynamics 365 <link> in particular can enable this to happen right from the start - meaning your daily activities and long term goals are optimized and ready for success. It works by taking all the highly varied but equally as necessary functions of retail business and bringing them together within in a single platform and a single database.
There are a number of essential functions that can be integrated with the help of such a platform:
CRM: If you want to be able to give the best possible experience to your customers, you’ll need all the relevant data (such as purchase history, preferences, social interactions with your brand…) that you can get. Dynamics 365 facilitates this integration by pulling data from sales, accounting, and marketing functions and makes it available for every interaction that your employees may have with a certain customer.
Supply Chain Management (SCM): When we look at the complexity of a retail supply chain, it’s not surprising that we want better insight into what’s going on and how it is positively or negatively affecting other facets of our business. By integrating supply chain operations with other essential functions, such as merchandising or financial planning, we can start to see patterns and better anticipate needs for the future.
Business Intelligence (BI) & Reporting: One of the best parts about having a central database that contains every bit of information across multiple operations that you could possibly need? The capacity for creating ad hoc reports that can fulfill just about any question you may have; enabling you to see patterns and make better decisions from them. Additionally, intelligence capabilities based on machine learning can help to give context and actionability by taking data and integrating it to help improve your ongoing operations
Merchandising: Want to have the right products in the right place at the right time? Then you’ll need to get integrating. Having centralized management of sales, product, and promotional efforts across all of your sales channels and keeping clear records of it can eliminate the time spent by employees chasing down information while also ensuring its accuracy. This is particularly true in the multichannel, ecommerce-heavy environment that we are existing in today. Being able to relate the information you’re getting from your merchandising efforts and supply chains can also help to improve the overall process between supplier and store by highlighting patterns and conclusions that wouldn’t be visible with siloed operations.
POS: Having your POS integrated as part of your ERP platform makes for a much better customer service experience - for both your customers and your employees. Not only does it eliminate manual data entry and recording keeping, it shares this information with relevant stakeholders in other operations - such as merchandising and supply chain. This means that if there’s a sudden shift in demand, other necessary parties can be alerted immediately and make all the necessary changes to support the shift. For those who choose a solution such as Dynamics 365, which includes two varieties of POS, one of which is based in the cloud, having the capacity to make sales around the store and get information off-site can be integral for exceeding your goals.
A Note About Implementation
The ERP platform implementation process necessary to support the integration of different operations can be daunting - so choosing the right partner is key to a smooth transition. Your vendor should have experience in the retail industry in particular in addition to the platform that they are implementing. This will help to give your business a better long term perspective on what will be necessary as it continues to scale upwards. Integration is a process that won’t be completed overnight, but the results of your efforts will be well worth it.
Transforming your retail operations into a single, integrated platform instead of many disparate departments is essential for remaining competitive. ERP platforms such as Dynamics 365 can be the ideal option for ensuring this transformation is successful through their intrinsic functionality. However, to be sure that you get the most from your solution from the beginning, it is essential to choose a vendor and a product that already have the specific needs of retailers at the forefront. This can help to minimize additional disruption and development at the time of your transition.
If you’re interested in integrating your operations for a better retail business, make sure to write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org for your complimentary 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.