Three new technologies your retail ERP must adapt to

Retail is changing.  For consumers, it mostly is an improvement in terms of price and availability. As a retailer, the change can be frightening and it can bring new opportunities.

1. E-commerce

A consumer visits the store and asks for a product in blue. They already know it comes in blue but you have already chosen to stock only brown. Your potential customer could walk away and search for a blue product elsewhere. Or, you could already have your supplier’s web site connected to your ERP, go online with your customer, and place an order for delivery at the customer’s home within a few days.

There is no possible way to stock every option and size any product is available in. Online retail storefronts can have more in a warehouse. Use the tools in your retail ERP to get the sale your customer wants. Don’t compete with online - beat it.

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2. Social media integration

Your customers use Facebook, Twitter, and other sites to research the products you sell.  Your ERP can integrate with those sites.  Make sure your floor clerks know already what the web has to say so they can talk in the same language with customers.  They should also be prepared to overcome objections if a customer is considering a different brand.

The internet already knows someone has checked out a product on Consumer Reports.  The internet knows that person just walked into your store.  You now need to guide that customer to the product wanted.  Your ERP also immediately adjusts your selling price to match the lowest price reported.  Did you, your ERP, and social networks on line just combine to make a sale?

3. Big Data

Your retail ERP collects increasing amounts of data on your customers.  You know their name and address.  You know how much they have purchased and when the first sale happened.  Integrate your ERP with predictive software to help your customer make the next purchase.  She has bought new shoes every three months in your store.  The time for the next purchase is coming soon.  What new (and profitable) shoe is available now?  Send an email or text with a coupon to her suggesting nicely that you have already found her next pair and it is waiting on the shelf for her to visit on Saturday.

New technologies come to light almost every day.  Many can help your retail bottom line right away, if you know about them and your ERP can use them to help.  Maybe innovation in your ERP is the most valuable new technology ERP needs to adapt to.  If your retail ERP adapts, you can too and your bottom line will only improve.

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Tom Miller

About the author…

Tom completed implementations of Epicor, SAP, QAD, and Micro MRP. He works as a logistics and supply chain manager and he always looks for processes to improve. He lives near San Francisco Bay in California and can be found on the water in his kayak or on the road riding his motorcycle. Contact Tom at customerteam@erpfocus.com.

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Tom Miller