Offer your customers a completely new retail experience

The retail industry is faced with major IT challenges due to consumers’ growing expectations of a modern shopping experience.

Today’s and tomorrow’s retailers need a solution that helps them better serve and understand their customers. A simple POS solution in stores and shops is no longer sufficient today. In order to be or remain competitive, it is vital to consider and evaluate your customers’ needs, wishes, and purchasing behavior.

In today’s fast-moving times, the pressure to adapt the corporate strategy to the respective market and business environment, including changes to the portfolio and market access, is becoming ever more important for managing directors and executives.

The digital transformation is having a huge impact, especially in the channels used for customer communication in the retail industry. The year 2016 has already shown that growing numbers of customers are ordering their goods via mobile devices such as smartphones or tablets. Here, shoppers are strongly influenced by offers, pricing or discounts, as well as customer loyalty programmes of online retailers. Almost half of these customers today expect the same behavior in brick-and-mortar stores.

While retailers are shipping increasing numbers of packages across the world following an online order, the feeling is that while today’s customers want to order or reserve their purchases online, they do not want to miss the experience of touching and trying the goods before the final purchase. Above all, shoppers want to get competent advice before the final purchase decision and are willing to even accept a higher price for expert advice.

The challenge now is how to connect and even unify these two worlds.

Many retail companies active in the B2B sector today rely on an ERP system such as Microsoft Dynamics 365 Enterprise for Finance and Operations in conjunction with Microsoft Dynamics Customer Engagement with the modules Sales and Customer Service. These retail companies can build on a system that ensures availability of all relevant information about customer requirements and the offers in a single system, creating a basis for satisfactory advice to customers.

Retail companies active in the B2C sector rely mainly on simple POS systems in their branches and stores. Most point-of-sale systems today can use data about items and stock from the existing ERP system (backend) via interfaces. But where is the important information about the customers? How was their buying behavior in the past, what requirements do they have now, which available offers could be of interest to them, etc…

At this point, today’s retail companies not only need a POS system, it also needs a retail solution that makes product data and customer information visible and, incidentally, also offers POS functions that integrate loyalty programmes – with which online orders are also managed – and processes deliveries in the store, for example. Such a solution enables employees in the store to know at a glance what it takes to greet the customer in person and respond to their individual needs so that they feel welcome and well cared for and are happy to come back again.

Thanks to the many years of retail experience gained by our consultants with a variety of customer situations in over 15 countries, we at AlfaPeople can show and offer solution scenarios that are customized and tailored to the needs of our clients.