HomeUncategorizedHow to enable omnichannel commerce with retail ERP (Reader Forum)

How to enable omnichannel commerce with retail ERP (Reader Forum)

Today, customers demand an outstanding experience via all possible sales channels. If a merchant cannot meet this requirement, customers can quickly switch to a competitor, because most people consider the quality of their experience as important as the quality of products and services.

Thus, the enablement of omnichannel commerce is a natural step for any retailer that strives to remain competitive and profitable. Unfortunately, omnichannel retail is not so easy to create. A company has to not only connect multiple sales channels such as a website, mobile app, and brick-and-mortar store but also manage a more complex supply chain, inventory, and finances.

In this regard, the role of ERP in retail becomes essential. Given the ability of ERP systems to consolidate different business functions, such a solution may be perfect for managing complex multi-channel sales, provided that ERP software has all the appropriate functionality.

This article will explain how to expand the capabilities of your existing retail ERP and scale up your business across all sales channels.

Integrate retail ERP and ecommerce systems

The traditional role of ERP is to connect several disparate back-office workflows related to inventory management, logistics, finance, and so on. However, we can now see that an increasing number of merchants integrate their ERP solutions and the aforementioned business workflows with sales channels. This way, retailers can consolidate different data flows within one software system, providing customers with a consistent multi-channel shopping experience.

Let’s see how this integration might work in practice. For instance, a customer buys a pair of shoes on your website but does not order a home delivery since he or she is going to pick up the purchase in your brick-and-mortar store. If your online channels are integrated with enterprise resource planning, this online order will immediately become available in ERP.

Now, different departments of your organization can check information about the order status or view the data related to this particular client. This way, your company can deliver high-quality services and personalized customer experience even beyond a website or mobile app.

In turn, you can provide the customer with any information about their order from the ERP, including the order status, the dispatch time of the purchase, or delays that occurred throughout the delivery. If needed, you can also set up notifications so that your ERP system can automatically let customers know if there is a delay.

After the customer picks up the purchase, your ERP system can automatically update the quantity of that particular item across all of your sales channels. Thus, you will provide other customers with precise and up-to-date product availability information and prevent ordering of goods that are currently out of stock.

Enable real-time data synchronization

As we mentioned above, the integration between ERP and ecommerce implies continuous data exchange between multiple software systems. Of course, the more sales channels your use, the more data sources you should connect.

Depending on your business needs and budget, you can choose different approaches to data management and decide to synchronize data in batches, several times a week or a day. However, we would recommend setting up real-time synchronization. This way, you can ensure the highest operational effectiveness and, consequently, customer satisfaction.

Implement retail automation

Managing multiple sales channels requires establishing connected and seamless workflows, and this is where automation can come in handy. ERP automation allows merchants to streamline various day-to-day activities, from inventory management and stock updating to batch management and routing. With retail automation in place, your employees will have more time to launch new sales channels, expand product lines, communicate with customers, and help your business achieve its strategic goals.

Roll out analytics and reporting

Since ERP systems accumulate many types of data, especially when integrated with multiple sales channels, developing an analytical module can make a great difference for setting up omnichannel retail. With its help, your employees will be able to generate more insights, predict demand and customer behavior, and continuously adapt to ever-changing market conditions. Additionally, you can implement technologies such as machine learning. ML algorithms will analyze data and learn along the way, providing more accurate predictions and recommendations.

Implement multi-location inventory and warehouse management

Managing inventory and warehouses distributed across numerous locations is a must when working with multiple sales channels. This is why your ERP system should provide multi-location inventory and warehouse management functionality. This way, even though items are stored across different warehouses, employees will be able to manage them in one central digital hub, leading to increased productivity and enhanced accuracy of delivery.

Adopt an omnichannel ERP

All of the above points involve upgrading and expanding an existing ERP solution to make it suitable for omnichannel commerce. However, if your ERP is too outdated and you do not see the point in upgrading it, you can implement a new custom or platform-based ERP solution. You also need to make sure the new ERP is focused on omnichannel sales and tailored to your unique workflows, as this will help you provide a more consistent customer experience across all sales channels.

Final thoughts

Today, customers want to interact with merchants via any channel, be it a website, a mobile app, a brick-and-mortar store, or a combination of those. Therefore, only those companies that can provide quality customer experience across all these touchpoints will be able to remain competitive and prosperous.

Although the concept of omnichannel commerce can be challenging to implement, merchants can utilize the capabilities of their retail ERP systems to accelerate this transformation. For example, you can integrate ERP with all your sales channels, implement automation, and adopt analytics and multi-location warehouse management, which will help you to manage your complex and omnichannel business. Alternatively, you can consider implementing a new omnichannel ERP.

 

 

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