Retailers across the globe are undergoing a major transformation. They are shifting from traditional systems to a highly-integrated environment. A successful retailer must have the right cohesive mix of supply chain excellence, best-in-class marketing programmes, and smooth retail operations to remain profitable.
Furthermore, today’s customer enjoys using various retail channels such as physical stores, online stores, mobile apps and more. All these channels must make parallel progression, as each offers its own set of benefits and value to the retailer. To thrive in the current business environment, retailers must promote each of these channels, using the right tools to make supply chain and marketing operations run in a simple and cohesive manner.
Here’s how an integrated ERP solution can fulfil the needs of the retail industry:
An integrated ERP solution offers marketing teams with the right tools to enable them to slice and dice the effects of a sales promotion, event, campaign, store foot fall, product sales and more. Additionally, an integrated ERP solution helps the marketing team understand customer behaviour and replicate similar campaigns in various locations.
With technological advancement in ERP software, campaigns can be tightly integrated with social media, mass messages, mass mailing, which helps generate a greater number of contacts and leads through campaigns and events. Furthermore, an ERP software can help track repeat customers and create specific campaigns to nurture this specific group of customers who bring in maximum revenue to the retailer’s business.
Inventory management and distribution benefits:
While product managers finalise campaigns, merchandising teams must plan the inventory and margins. Better margins can be achieved by business negotiations with vendors. If vendors are made to understand the result of a campaign or event, they will support the retailer as their business is encouraged through the retailer’s campaign. A strong retailer and vendor partnership will yield better results for the end customer. Distributors must have access to demand analysis reports to plan efficient inventory. This is where an integrated ERP solution can benefit both the retailer and distributor and it smoothens collaboration between both parties.
Vendor management benefits:
Another challenge today’s merchandising teams face is synergy of back-end rebate recovery. Most often contracts signed between the retailer and vendors are not tracked to recover the back-end rebates. As we know, a slice of the margin is always gathered by the retailer through back-end rebates. Back-end rebates come as an incentive support to vendors for running the campaign effectively and act as a spice creator to increase the sales. Various back-end rebates include:
- Gondola fees
- Volume incentive rebates
- Signage rentals
- Marketing event support
Availability of an integrated ERP system between merchandising and finance teams will allow the vendor and retailer to recover the contracted and agreed rebates. This will further allow the retailer to plan more such events and share the rebates with the end customer as well.
Store management benefits:
Retailers operating out of a physical store must plan to place right inventory at the right time in the right place to attract customers. Thus, retailers should be assisted with shelf management solutions which provide a graphical representation of the store considering sales yielded by shelf and profitability obtained.
A merchandiser when assisted with an integrated ERP solution will be able to better market the shelf and yield a higher shelf rental. Often with non-availability of rental time and value to be claimed, debit notes are not raised and claimed from vendor. This is a considerable revenue leakage that can be controlled by an effective ERP solution.
Point of sale benefits:
A customers’ experience in the store is very important and must be pleasant so that he or she is satisfied. In short, a customer’s experience is to be maintained from the time they enter the store until they leave the store. Often, customers drop the shopping cart near the cash counter due to idle time spent in the queue. Mobile counters and self-check-out kiosks help complete billing faster. Also, all possible integrations like plastic money, digital wallets and loyalty programmes must be part of POS system, kiosks and mobile counters. POS machines must act as an additional marketing agent by highlighting what cross promotions can go along with customer’s billed product. An ERP software can smoothen all POS processes and thereby improve the customer’s in-store experience by proving a lower billing time.
These benefits make an integrated ERP solution a must-have for retailers to attain high level efficiency across the supply chain and improve customer satisfaction and revenue.
Submitted by: Karthick Shrinivasan, Delivery Lead, ORION ERP Practice, Africa
Specialisation: ERP Implementation for Retail Industry