Escrito por Maria Laura em 14/04/2016 | Atualizado em 14/04/2016
Tempo de leitura: 10 min
This article covers the main technology aspects and, as a result, the software that helps retailers to increase productivity by explaining the terminology and offering tips on applications that not only improve company daily routine, but also paving the road for innovation. To facilitate this reading, below are the links to the various topics covered in the content:
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When it comes to retail profitability, the first thing that comes to mind are a thousand ways and techniques used to sell products or services in order to achieve this goal. Either with planning and sales strategies, trade marketing, business focus, trainings, offers, among many other possibilities.
But, watching closely, in addition to endless strategies, what joins the 4 retail “P’s” together: Price, Place, Promotion, Product? Where there is convergence to create harmony along retail path – from Supplier to post-sale?
A lot of questions, but one answer: technology!
Technology partners with retail by many means, but software has become the most important ally for stores day to day routine. This is a basic item for the operation of any industry that accompanies retail chain.
Retail and software integration has emerged on the need to track processes and organizing the large volume of data by businesses retailers to streamline management processes. Another important aspect is the need to be always compliant with the legislation in force – countries like Brazil, with constant changes, require very close monitoring of all laws related to the sector to ensure that the business fully fits the legislation. As well as avoid unwanted fines or penalties burdens.
Over time, as companies realized that the use of management systems would be beneficial to the industry, IT found its space and trusted by users, creating a growing need of products developed to meet the specific demands of the retail market. Since then, they go together in search of continuous improvement which reflects on client’s delivery.
The use of Information Technology and software applications, such as ERP or CRM, has provided retail with opportunities for designing new business models, since this environment allows significant changes in how it can achieve its goal: selling products and services to end consumer.
When gearing up for the market, software companies realized that the development of information technology for retail business came as a result. We can mention an example when there was an increase of digital presence combined with e-commerce consolidation, then retailers had to reinvent and modernize process management. Considering that the industry’s IT investments were initially allocated to operational activities, today it is a different story. They are part of enterprises innovation capabilities.
Another factor that help increase technology and software demand for retail is competitiveness. The ongoing search for process productivity and efficiency, both internally and externally, creates a greater demand of technology.
Among the major investments store automation is a highlight since it is not limited to the point of sale only, but also pervades the entire Vendors process integration by rolling out a number of tools and applications.
With automation, there is an improvement in cost-efficiency of sectors with a large volume of transactions such as retail. As a result, the efforts that demanded work and time continued to streamline other costs that were not absorbed by IT area.
In this new environment, the ability to dynamically connect new business partners, vendors, customers and processes has become critical for organizations, generating a huge demand for systematization of processes, which is translated in increasingly complex software implementation.
Some software resources used to meet the operation, technical, legal and tax requirements provide for development assertiveness and support business expansion. Learn more from this world of acronyms and terms to assist the companies in their daily tasks:
– ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning): the most essential of all Corporate software, ERP consolidates information and processes by centralizing business operations;
– CRM (Customer Relationship Management): it is a customer relationship tool who anticipate market needs and company’s potential;
– POS (Point of Sale): considered to be retailers’gateway technology;
– Mobility and multichannel: the need to fit the tools to the new forms of consumption;
– Cloud Solutions: access to fast information from anywhere over the internet.
ERP acronym stands for Enterprise Resource Planning. And that is exactly what ERP software is about, that is, integrate all corporate data and processes in order to store the information in a single system enabling a more comprehensive planning of all items that permeate the corporate resources.
All processes can be systematically inserted, as finance, accounting, human resources, production, marketing, sales or purchases. ERP systems are used to monitor global business vision.
The implementation ERP system in the company causes a huge change in culture, especially when it comes to retail. Among the changes provided by ERP in a corporation is the greater real time data reliability and less rework.
The implementation of a new system always entices you to get out of the comfort zone. It is important to note that the change in the form of operational controls, although changing the routine and even cause some work for adaptation, comes with many benefits, including cultural changes.
However, the implementation of an efficient ERP sometimes is very painful, since it conflicts with investment issues. Generally, the more complete the desired system – and the larger the company – more investments are demanded. But, if we consider that the system brings benefits in the medium and long term, the more it is compliant with the business specifications, more advantages it will bring to the company.
ERP cannot be considered a single product delivered for store use, so it is important to identify the supplier as a partner to create a bond of continuous improvement. The monitoring of new technological resources, changes in the market (E.g. the emergence of new forms of payment), one-off adjustments related to the legislation are the guarantee that the software company is attentive to market changes, as well as the new technological resources available.
Understanding consumer behavior goes far beyond store owner insights, the same way CRM is more than a simple data storage software.
CRM (Customer Relationship Management) is a tool used to get to know the customer and change his/her experience towards the brand. For many entrepreneurs, it is only a bunch of irrelevant data used to collect the number of consumers, but those who seek relevant information end up finding customers. It occurs because understanding consumers’ preference, what promotions are the most successful, and what are most desired brand items, the owner can establish a more objective proposal for the business.
If we consider a network of stores, for instance, such strategy becomes much more comprehensive using CRM tool assertiveness. Customer management becomes more effective when we use the resources to develop campaigns, create partnerships and create benefits to customers and suppliers.
CRM is a great tool for businesses and especially for retail market. Using this feature, you can segment customers, plan offers, anticipate inventory, create lasting relationships with the brand and increase sales.
In fact, CRM is basically a business strategy focused on the customer. That is, company actions are geared towards customers’ needs rather than their own products, including many areas such as marketing, sales and customer services.
If you consider implementing CRM, first you need to know if the proposal meets the business needs, what volume of data will be required and what data will be included in the collection. Other important questions are related to purpose: is the system suitable for fast decision making? Or to create a long-term relationship?
Using retail management software such as CRM is sure to have on hand a complete strategy for any business, anticipate trends and be ahead of the competition by delivering the product or service that consumers want, with the best strategy of price, place and promotion.
POS (Point of Sale), or PDV in Brazil, automates stores cashier. Today’s POS systems, in addition to record sales, support tracking of customers’ orders, credit and debit cards processes, connect to other systems through a network and can generate reporting. That single cashier that customers consider as the end point of a purchase are the starting point for the retailer in terms of automation chain, and it is the gateway for customer logging to the system.
More POS systems are being made available on the internet each day. This change has a purpose: the systems that are connected via network make information accessible from a distance, thus facilitating data integration from different points of sale, both virtual or physical.
In a franchise network, for instance, the monitoring of franchisees in real time helps expanding and attracting new customers. How? Well, to understand how customers behave in each point of sale, the sales strategies become assertive, as well as the breakdown of resources from the franchisor.
The system usually includes purchases planning, leads storefront control, inventory in transit control, salesperson commission, indicators and briefly what is the type of relationship the store has with each customer. With all these automated information, more time is left for personal relationship with the customer.
POS is also responsible for assisting retailers with legal responsibilities, such as data collection and issuing of invoices, in addition to managing purchases by credit card, debit card and check inquiries.
If just over 15 years when retailers thought the internet would transform businesses and how long this change would take, today this perception is much more extended. Retailers think about what is the next application to be released tomorrow that will transform sales.
We are not kidding when we say that retail management software is a long-term relationship. Systems tend to be large potential innovators, especially when it comes to retail.
The need to provide resources according to consumer mobility demands redefines the experience of buying in physical stores, so software is the best partner of the store owner for innovation purposes.
By adding mobility and sales features to smartphones, for instance, we can Mobile POS. By enabling apparels or parts checks in stock using a tablet that is when virtual catalog comes to mind. We can see that innovation and mobility are found in simple details that make a big difference to customers, however, these applications need to be integrated with other company’s systems so that the strategies can work and include processes effectively.
We keep hearing about sales channels. Today, these channels are everywhere. From a fingertip to a physical space. Multichanneling may be the most outstanding characteristic of a store today, since there is no more room for two channels of the same brand cluttered together. If the brand is unique, consumer’s perception should be the same in all channels.
To make mobility and multichannel strategies more efficient, information integration is paramount. There is some type of software today that fill this gap and integrate all channels and access points, whether in mobile or in physical POS, with real time information and available in the cloud.
As in other technologies, a few years ago cloud solutions were just a trend brought about in world fairs. Since then, technology has evolved in a resounding way, causing applications to be accessible very quickly anywhere.
That is why retail management software is migrating to Web-based models. If all data are integrated cloud solutions will make potential sales more from retailers more wide-ranging, helping to consolidate unbeatable management strategies.
It is wrong to think that technology has only a supporting role in the retail scenario. It plays the leading role.
Management software vendors will assist and become retailers’ innovation partners. As discussed at the beginning of this article, software relationship is a long-term enterprise and, therefore, a careful choice is critical to the future of the business.
Before hiring a vendor, consider the following:
– Expertise in the area: The more software vendor understands the business, the better;
– The number of clients assisted by the vendor;
– Time to market;
– Structure to keep up with technological changes;
– Support and help desk backbone.
By following these tips it is much easier to automate your business for innovation purposes. After that just focus on the sales!