Better Data Management to Boost Your Retail Business
When your retail strategy includes employees that are empowered by data and analytics, you can begin to improve every part of their day - leading to a better final customer experience.
To do so requires that your data management solution is effective and efficient and in a form, that can be accessed quickly and easily by the key employees in your retail business. Such data accessibility can be profitable too, with retail companies taking full advantage of their data having the potential to raise an additional $94B in revenue over companies that don’t .
In this post we look at several major data management considerations for retail, including the key differences between ERP and EAI, choosing the right ERP and a brief look at business intelligence.
ERP & EAI
Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) and Enterprise Application Integration (EAI) are two popular solutions to data management woes, but in very different ways. For many large retailers, this means that it is less of a question of ‘which’ to use, but more about how to implement them in the most effective manner.
An ERP is a software application that works by integrating major business functions that span across core operations. This is where the collection and organization of all your data occurs. An EAI however is the framework that takes these systems and allows them to communicate, integrating the data between different information systems that often tend to get ‘siloed’ otherwise. One important benefit, in addition to the core importance of communicating data, of an EAI is that it allows companies to make the most of their IT investment, which can be huge in initial cost-saving measures.
Fear of disruption?
Sometimes companies are hesitant to implement these two very important activities because of the risk of data loss or disruption. This can be avoided by choosing the right partner for your implementation efforts and having them available for employee support before, during, and after the implementation. Having a clear idea from the beginning and sticking to it, though it may seem obvious, will prevent hours of headaches down the line.
One major prerequisite for all of this is selecting the right ERP for your industry that can help you from a general operational standpoint and also tools that can help you to face some of the problems that are specific to your business. For retailers, some examples of features that should come standard include:
- POS management
- E-commerce utilities such as destination-based taxation and real-time inventory updates
- Contact center capability
- Marketing - content and campaign management
- Social monitoring
- Store operations - statement reconciliation and pricing management
- Supply chain and logistics
- Sales force automation
- Financial management
- HR - payroll and related tasks
- Business intelligence
These functions working together are essential for any retail business that expects to be able to create the right buying experience that will result in loyal and engaged customers.
Making Data Usable
Having all the data in the world is useless if it can’t be turned into something that produces actionable results. Business Intelligence (BI) is the process of taking this data, giving it context and arriving at one version of truth - and doing it an understandable way through visualizations, graphs and charts – also known as dashboards.
For retail analytics, BI can be integral in a number of ways; particularly, in customer investigation to help enhance the buying experience. It can also be used to understand the relationship between the different capacities across locations, such as shopper patterns and other essential measurements. As BI is an ongoing process, particularly with regards to data updates within an EDW, having the right ongoing support from consultants can completely change your employee experience and thus your final results.
Better customer data management leads to a better customer experience and can have a positive impact that is felt tenfold across your entire business, so making the transition to a solution that makes it all available is well worth the time and effort necessary. Do not let the fear of disruption be what keeps your business from making this very essential transition, as choosing to delay may only lead to a more complicated environment at the end of the day.
To find out how better data management can give your entire retail business a boost, 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.