Two major disrupters have been hitting retail hard: showrooming and webrooming. Showrooming is when customers look at products in stores and then buy online. Webrooming is the other side of the coin: consumers researching products online and then buying them at the store. A Harris poll from 2014 shows that nearly half (49%) of Americans showroom, while about 7 of 10 shoppers webroom. Mobile plays a big role in this, with 41% of consumers using mobile apps while they shop.

#1 Automation, Automation, Automatio

Automation is the key to staying competitive. The more you automate, the more time your employees have to spend on operational tasks. When you implement an enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution, you automate a lot of the back office functions that steal time from front-facing activities. And ERP is not just for Fortune 500 companies: 92 percent of consumers want more self-service options, so smaller companies have to leverage ERP to stay competitive. When you streamline IT, services and human resources, you can spend more time on marketing and sales. Then, implement technologies like Parature to give customers the self-service solutions they want.

#2 Use Your CRM Software

Customer relationship management (CRM) software gives you the big picture of your sales pipeline. You can track every marketing campaign and collect vast amounts of data so your future campaigns are even stronger. Microsoft Dynamics CRM can work with your ERP software to give you the data tracking you need. This way, you can see how marketing efforts perform in real-time and get the social insights you need to push customer care efforts.

#3 Emphasize Customer Service

Better operations and internal logistics leaves you with more time to focus on customer relations and service. In a retail era where 45 percent of consumers can’t remember their last positive customer service call, this is an area ripe for differentiation. By offering a higher level of service, specialty retailers further elevate their brands. CRM software helps by showing you where the service pipeline breaks down. When you can see a process failure, you can implement a fix.

New Year’s Resolutions 2016: Stay Competitive

Combining the customizable solutions offered by Microsoft Dynamics AX (ERP) and CRM gives specialty retailers the ability to compete with big brands. Specialty does not need to be synonymous with traditional. Instead, it should be synonymous with quality and market agility. Quality extends from the warehouse to the sales floor and on to customer service. Smaller, more specialized companies can respond to changes more directly and quickly with the right technology running behind the scenes.

The Next Step

Get a jump on your competitors with AlfaPeople, a premier Global Microsoft Dynamics Inner Circle partner.

How AlfaPeople Can Help

AlfaPeople specializes in adapting Microsoft’s leading-edge ERP and CRM software – Dynamics AX – to the needs of companies of all sizes around the world. Dynamics AX not only automates key processes like inventory and shipping, it gives you real-time customer data you can use to spike sales by reaching customers more effectively.

To get a quick sense of how Dynamics AX can power up your processes to cut costs, improve efficiency and ramp up sales, contact us here.

Peter Chalem VP Sales and Marketing

Peter Chalem

VP Sales and Marketing