Digitization and software development has fundamentally changed retail. Online shops are springing up like mushrooms and compete with one another. To survive this competition, you should coordinate your business processes with the benefits of retail software.
Trends to set the course for retail software development in 2021
Today companies are interested not only in the introduction of the latest technologies but also in the improvement of already existing software products, their automation, and the expansion of functionality.
Besides, everyone expects to reduce the amount of manual labor, improve business analysis, and weak processes automation that requires intellectual labor.
At the moment, there is a number of both emerging and already established trends in retail.
These may include Product Information Management (PIM) systems, anti-fraud systems, logistics automation, and warehouse management, ERP systems, CRM systems, augmented reality.
Let`s jump into some of their benefits.
ERP in retail: functions and benefits
There is a gazillion of processes in retail that shape the driving force of the industry. They enable companies to establish a connection with the retail customers, inform them online, and manage a high level of service across all retail outlets.
Business decision optimization and customer satisfaction are key factors for ensuring high income in retail.
Such tools as ERP (Enterprise resource planning) systems are exactly for it.
ERP systems take into account the functions of different segments in the retail business.
Such solutions make it possible to optimize every part of the retail network, for example:
- They automate the work of the central warehouse
- Work with suppliers
- Manage pricing processes
- Financial management
- Help to monitor the slightest fluctuations in consumer demand
- Thanks to operational decisions, increase income
Systems are often highly flexible and scalable, which can reduce development costs. In addition, an important advantage of using ERPs is a rather short development time (up to six months).
CRM in retail
The popularity of CRM solutions in retail is not accidental. Such solutions are not just a program; they are a cornerstone for a successful connection with a customer.
The main benefits of implementing a CRM system are:
- a balance between reducing investment in inventory
- securing warehouse budget
- improving customer service and reducing personnel costs.
There are many types of CRM for retail, and marketplace vs. eCommerce website require different CRMs but the most common ones include loyalty programs with discount cards.
Some retail CRM systems include analytical methods to find an approach to specific groups of consumers to form the correct consumer basket.
Microsoft Dynamics CRM, for instance, allows you to collect all business information in one place and store it in a structured form.
With its help, you can keep records about customers and the history of interaction with them, as well as plan and control the implementation of marketing campaigns and other activities, including sales.
At the same time, CRM systems are important not only for companies but also for customers.
A customer receives timely information about promotions and discounts held in their city. Special applications for mobile devices help replace discount cards.
For example, to take advantage of the offer, you just need to show your phone at the checkout.
Also, the use of CRM allows you to take advantage of the communication capabilities of the Internet to share news and interesting promotions, leave reviews.
The mission of modern CRM is to provide a stellar connection between company and client in real-time.
Software for omnichannel retail
Cloud computing is a business model that automates all IT processes and allows you to reduce not only capital but also operating costs by optimizing the staff of the department.
At the same time, it should have wide functionality, cross-platform functionality, and a high speed of business processes.
Omnichannel or integrated sales ensure that a client can place an order online from any part of the world, pay for it using different methods (credit card, cash, check, bonuses, PayPal), and receive a product in a convenient place.
The main purpose of omnichannel software is to erase barriers between the service provider and the end customer, that is, to shift away from warehouses.
However, to ensure stable processes, your business should be 100% automated, include a well-built online commerce system, a perfectly streamlined process of inventory management, and distribution of goods.
And the success of retail business automation directly depends on the professional experience of the IT team and understanding of the industry of retail.
Augmented Reality – an emerging trend in retail
More exotic technologies have also found their way into the retail industry. Some of them are interactive solutions like Augmented Reality technology or “smart mirrors”, virtual fitting rooms, video cameras, which scan the body parameters of a person, and the augmented reality with three-dimensional models of clothes.
IT technologies in retail show that competition for market leadership will always motivate retailers to introduce new technologies and optimize existing systems.
Therefore, even a small advantage over competitors can significantly boost the success of a retail company.
Benefits of retail software deplopment in 2021
Proper distribution of funds
Since the software can perform many tasks automatically, the business owner can cut costs on paying a large number of staff. Moreover, it decreases the time it takes to perform tasks and eliminates the human factor.
Another plus is the return on investment growth. The high productivity of such software can increase the annual income. This investment always pays off.
Customer service improvement
An automated buyer journey process will speed up results. It also helps to track all buyer interactions with your website, as well as in-time tips on what changes need to be made.
Marketing and advertising
More than ever, extensive access to potential customers enhances the chances of increased sales. And after all, sales are the main goal of retail.
Accuracy in transaction manufacturing
By implementing retail software, payments and refunds are easier to track because an automated system eliminates the possibility of error. Also, data on all payments over a long period becomes more accessible.
It’s clear that there are a lot of advantages of using retail software, so we listed only major trends of 2021 and their benefits. Maybe you can add to this list with your comments under the post.