If the past two decades have taught us anything about technology, it’s that change happens more rapidly than ever. Declining fortunes among long-established brick-and-mortar retailers demonstrate the influence external forces such as mobile shopping and online purchasing technologies can exert.
So how do you cope?
Omni-channel management can help position your organization to evolve more successfully if you choose an appropriate solution and implement it properly.
Maintain high touch in an increasingly high-tech world
Even before John Naisbitt introduced the high-tech/high-touch premise in his 1982 bestseller, Megatrends, personalized attention played an important role in retail success. Today, the one-on-one relationships of family-owned shops have evolved to targeted marketing techniques empowered by Web-browser cookies, detailed databases, and customer relationship management (CRM) software. This makes the customer-centric value of omni-channel management more important than ever for addressing the human element in retail transactions.
A true omni-channel strategy enhances your capacity to keep pace with changing consumer behavior. It provides a consistent customer experience and brand image while allowing consumers to shop, purchase, complete returns/exchanges, and access customer service according to their own preferences. It also helps you monitor those behaviors, enhancing your promotional ability to leverage SEO-targeted content, on-line PPC advertising, social media strategies, and responsive mobile shopping platforms in a single solution. Best of all, powerful analytics can help you quantify your most successful strategies – and missed opportunities – across all retail activities.
Not all omni-channel solutions are created equal
Not every omni-channel solution offers the same benefits. One that integrates all enterprise resource planning (ERP) and customer relationship management (CRM) functions in a centralized database will do a better job of positioning you for end-to-end retailing opportunities and helping you manage interrelated aspects of your business. This improves your ability to:
- monitor customer channel preferences and buying behaviors,
- present more consistent customer experiences across all channels,
- motivate customers to strengthen their relationship with your brand,
- and gain a more holistic view of impacts on profitability.
For example, Microsoft Dynamics 365 delivers these functionalities needed to support your business’ digital transformation, satisfy customer needs, and maximize both sales and new business opportunities:
- Modern POS options. Interface with all aspects of retail management system data collection and management, not just a cash register or payment terminal.
- Store processes. Use timely information to work smarter and adapt business processes faster, to fuel business growth.
- Merchandising. Deliver a consistent message, from promotional and discount decisions to digital displays.
- Supply chain. Keep your flow of operational information up to date – from stock replenishment ordering through warehousing logistics.
- eCommerce. Maintain the ability to deliver consistent customer service and tracking globally, regardless of how transactions are completed – online, via mobile technology, or in store.
- Marketing and customer service. Manage customer profiles across your entire enterprise, to keep marketing, email, social media, customer service, and loyalty program activities clicking with optimum efficiency.
- Call center activity. Empower better customer service with the ability for all retail associates to have all relevant customer, product, and inventory data available at their fingertips for every customer contact.
- Finance. Track the economic impact of everything you and your customers do – from client engagement to revenue recognition – thanks to Dynamics 365’s integrated ERP and CRM capabilities.
- Analytics. Keep retail profits on track with the exceptional analytic capacity delivered by Dynamics 365 CRM data and built-in Power BI (Business Intelligence) features.