How to Optimize 4 Key Retail Functions with MS Dynamics 365
If you’re a retailer, you already know that the different operations necessary for the successful functioning of your business are varied and that they often rely heavily on each other. As your business continues to grow, keeping these operations running at their optimum can get increasingly complex and ultimately cause silos between departments. When this happens, employees are hobbled in their attempts to communicate and share essential data, causing issues that may ultimately result in lost sales.
For many retailers, ERP solutions, such as Microsoft Dynamics 365, can be the answer to these needs and much more - so today we’re looking at four key places that stand to benefit from such an integration.
Daily Store Operations
Long gone are the days of traditional cash registers. Today, with the use of POS systems, we’re able to process sales in multiple payment formats, record and track orders, support promotions, and manage inventory. Taking advantage of the functionality offered by solutions such as MPOS by Dynamics 365 eliminates this by integrating your POS under the same platform as the rest of your options. This means, for example, that if there is a surge in demand for a certain product, this information would travel through the POS and end up in a central database, where it could automatically order and ship more of this product to the locations needing it most. Additionally, the ability to process sales transactions, perform clienteling activities, daily operations, and inventory management on mobile devices anywhere in the store adds an almost unmatchable degree of flexibility and the edge your sales staff need to be truly effective. This flexibility in conjunction with real time data availability can be key for simplifying every part of your retail business that is impacted by sales volume.
Supply Chain Management
When considering the overall complexity of the retail supply chain, it’s no wonder we look for a solution to simplify and centralize it all. However, this doesn’t just mean having more effective processes, it also means having deep visibility into what is really happening with your products - no matter where they are on their journey to your customers. For businesses in search of a way to streamline these operations through standardized processes and data availability from supplier to store, ERP platforms can be the ideal solution. They help to minimize misinformation and waste and through processes that are automated and immediately responsive to changes in demand; and the capacity to communicate these changes in real time. Such platforms can also help to improve relationships with vendors by ensuring that orders are consistent and coordinated through these automated and connected systems and processes. Another major benefit of such an arrangement is that all of this information is synchronized automatically into the cloud - meaning it’s available immediately, giving retailers that extra boost of agility needed to be competitive.
Without merchandising, we wouldn’t have the right products in the right places at the right times. However, the need for a better way to keep all of these essential functions organized only grows as the number of channels in which we sell grows. This is particularly true when it comes to ensuring the accuracy and timeliness of data; both of which can make or break a retailer’s success in getting products to people. A solution such as Dynamics 365 can also help to increase the average customer spend by providing employees with better product information - fast - thus allowing them to better assist customers and make suggestions for additional or alternative items. And with the increased importance of e-commerce, such data availability can be extremely helpful in ensuring that the right multichannel shopping experience is achieved.
We don’t have to talk about the importance of effective customer relationship management for retailers. As with other operations in your business, your CRM stands to benefit greatly from having more data available and less roadblocks between information and employees. Solutions like Dynamics 365 can also help to give you a true 360degree view of your customer by providing visibility and information derived from buying habits, order history, social interaction with your brand and more. This increased information (and its subsequent availability) enables your employees to be more effective and efficient in their efforts and interactions with customers.
For retailers looking to gain a competitive edge, it all starts with their operations. Options like Dynamics 365 can help retailers to eliminate disparities between departments and provide the best data for analysis and decision making possible. To implement an ERP solution is no small process, so it is important to find a partner who is experienced in the retail industry in specific, in addition to ERP implementation. This can prevent disruption during the transition and ensure the ongoing functionality of your investment far into the future. Interested in seeing how other retailers have successfully implemented ERP solutions in their businesses? Take a look at our case study about Pakistani retailer, Khaadi and see how integrating their operations with Dynamics 365 improved their business and management from within.
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.