Why a Retail CTO Should Insist on Adopting an Omni-channel Retail Solution Today

ETP Blogpost Why a Retail CTO Should Insist on Adopting an Omni-channel Retail Solution Today

What omni-channel capabilities do you really need to enable business success?

Technology plays a crucial role in omnichannel in tying the back office with the front-end infrastructure. Retailers need the ability to manage their resources, inventory, and suppliers, and connect them all the way through the retail value chain for understanding how they should deliver products and then identify key customer insights in the pre-and post-purchase experience.

To enable that, there are some key capabilities for omni-channel – the basic building blocks:

ETP Blogpost Retail CTO

 

There are some key capabilities that the retail business needs for being truly Omni-channel and some basic building blocks with respect to:

  1. How do you impact your customer?
  2. How are your supply chain and operations set up?
  3. Do you have the right software, underlying technology, and infrastructure to enable analytics that can drive new insights through the retail value chain so you can respond to your customers’ changing demands and desires in the omni-channel experience?

Omni-channel capabilities must provide rich customer data and insights across contacts, channels, sales, lifecycle, and more to serve as the cornerstone of all Omni-channel efforts.

Key elements (as seen in the building block diagram above) are –

  • What are you doing in terms of messaging?
  • How are you integrating services?
  • How are you managing your lists to direct the customer experience?
  • How are you enabling to show content and search all the way through your experience, design, and the personalization you are driving through analytics?

How do you meet the customer’s expectations in terms of a seamless experience?

One area to address this is the ability to plan inventory for the new challenges of the omni-channel environment where you are not wholly sure where your demand is going to come from and how your customers want to receive your products. Omni-channel inventory management processes depend upon balanced planning and robust analytics to effectively scale the supply chain efficiency to serve the new omni-channel customer in today’s Omni-environment.

ETP Blogpost Retail CTO

 

To enable these analytic engines and to improve customer experience, organizationally one of the key requirements is that companies need to break down the silos for omni-channel success. In traditional retail, there are silos set up that control – the development and the buying of the products, the channels of distribution, and how do you actually support your customer’s purchase. Companies that can group leaders across the functions and the silos to share teams and to share incentives, will have the most success in meeting customer needs in today’s new omni-channel environment. An agile approach to breaking down silos is necessary for omni-channel success.

ETP Blogpost Retail CTO

Logistics & Supply Chain Management are two of the main aspects of technology investments that are an important enterprise infrastructure to better facilitate the omni-channel experience effectively.  Retail businesses today have more trading partners with fewer common currencies, languages, and regulations. Costs incurred through longer cycle times, increasing raw materials and labour costs, and a tightening freight environment are encroaching on profit margins. Fulfilment is often hindered by poor distribution strategies. The success of a global supply chain’s omni-channel upgrade is now dependent on:-

  1. Visibility
    • Gain overall visibility into every channel
    • Weighing benefits of production locations
    • Reduce overheads and inventory
    • Manage risks effectively
  2. Agility
    • Highly interlinked world economy
    • Volatile demand across markets
    • Quickly trace and proactively manage
  3. Data Integrity
    • Key data needs to be centrally controlled and available to every channel
    • Data such as products, promotions, customer information, and order histories

With today’s customers being more powerful than the purveyor of goods, out-of-stocks are unacceptable; customers will go elsewhere. You should be able to offer your customers universal inventory availability – any item, anywhere, anytime!

In order to deliver this, one strategy gaining momentum is cross-channel fulfilment. Retail technology should be able to leverage store inventory and personnel to fulfil store and online orders, recapturing sales that would have been lost due to out-of-stock conditions. This enables the business to sell through select store merchandise at higher margins based on specific criteria such as end-of-life products.

A global leader in apparel retail has replaced over 40,000 cash registers to enable their omni-channel strategy to work by leveraging stores as online order fulfilment centres, equipping store personnel with web-enabled tools to check product availability across other nearby stores and place orders, and tap into all available inventory in real-time in order to meet demand, boost sales, reduce markdowns, and increase inventory productivity across all channels. The retailer has reported that this has helped the company’s overall sales grow by $1 billion each year over the last 3 years.

Investing in the right retail software solutions would enable you to integrate planning systems for all channels and connect front-end order management to back-end technology infrastructure. Not having to take a markdown and not having to build more warehouses is every merchant’s dream! And having the right technology that not only fulfils this, but also secures future investments in enterprise technology is every Technology Officer’s dream!

Omni-channel Strategies that Every Retail CFO Must Consider

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As consumer spending moves to digital, retail CFOs must develop new strategies for managing CAPEX and OPEX.

Shopping has never been easier for consumers. But for executives behind the scenes, digital advances have created complexity. It takes an omnichannel approach to meet these new consumer demands, requiring companies to retool their strategies and operating models in areas such as marketing, merchandising, store operations, and IT.

Omni-channel — the seamless integration of physical and digital worlds to create an outstanding, cohesive shopping experience.

As the Covid-struck retail world has digitized hastily, the tools and structure of retail organizations have changed dramatically. Numerous retailers have significantly reorganized their merchant and marketing teams to consolidate or coordinate their online and store strategies across the organization. Retail software providing information technology organizations, once considered back-office utilities, have concurrently become strategic business partners.

These changes, in turn, have driven multiple new capital requirements. This creates a unique set of challenges for the CFO in migrating from historical investments to expenditures that will better support e-commerce and omnichannel enablement that will help reduce the overheads incurred from having more stores, carrying extra inventory, and relying heavily on single-channel distribution capabilities.

A greater return on capital in the Omni-channel era necessitates the need to adopt a multi-pronged approach and new ways of thinking.

The Seamless Omni-channel Customer Experience is not just evolving, it is expanding.

The growth of digital commerce is far outpacing traditional retail. This trend seems sure to continue as retail emerges out of the pandemic impact increasing the competition and putting additional pressure on their margins. Consumers can now shop through various channels, often using six or more touchpoints before making a purchase. Retailers broadly agree their organizations must deliver a consistent experience across each touchpoint.

Virtually all omnichannel capabilities require technology investments. Most are not channel-specific but instead impact the entire technology infrastructure. CFOs, however, are still determining how to best define the impact of these investments’ on sales by channel, which then makes measuring return on capital that much harder to calculate — especially at the channel level, due to lack of clarity around performance and management accountability.

As channels have blurred, time-tested retail metrics have lost some of their meaning and value. For example:

  • Same-store sales: Online purchases, ship-to-store, and ship-from-store omni-channel practices can skew this number beyond its original intent
  • Gross margin return on inventory investment: Crossover makes it more difficult to measure the productivity of various inventory deployment strategies
  • Returns percentage: Returns are no longer contained within a single channel

Each channel yields data that makes it easier to track customer behaviour, and marketers are using emerging sales attribution models to better allocate marketing spend. These models — single-channel, last-click, multi-touch, multi-channel, and the like — could be adapted for broader use in informing capital decisions as well. By getting more specific about where and how sales originate, finance teams can better estimate the real margins and profits from different touchpoints. This will lead to more informed decisions on how to deploy scarce capital.

Enabling omnichannel strategy through technology and measuring the impact

Capital allocations should align with business strategy, but technology changes so rapidly that it is tempting to take a wait-and-see approach. Delays, however, could put a retailer at a competitive disadvantage. Unified inventory management systems and integrated distributed order management systems are examples of platforms that harmonize order fulfillment, regardless of channel. Mobile investments can help retailers combine new digital strategies while providing experiences unique to mobile.

Other investments include:

  • Customer journey and touchpoint mapping
  • Managing web properties for optimal customer experience
  • Global payment and content management systems
  • Process and technology investments to support cross-channel fulfillment

The question is, which options are the most advantageous, and how do you measure the impact? In an omnichannel environment, parsing out returns and costs across the business becomes trickier:

  • Sales: Intertwined channels make attribution difficult
  • Cost of goods sold: Costs may differ by channel
  • Operating cost: Costs spill over to multiple channels due to fulfillment complexities
  • Depreciation: Rapid innovation makes it hard to determine how long technology will remain relevant, and it is often unclear whether new digital innovations will have the impact projected in the feasibility study.

The ongoing demand for investment coupled with less predictable returns on capital creates tensions for CFOs that will continue to increase as more consumer spending migrates to digital.

An approach to taking the lead

To implement a successful omni-channel strategy, retail CFOs should consider the following strategies:

  1. Build a cost model based on Customer Acquisition Cost: With multifunctional teams and omni-channel, it is no longer possible to focus on channel-wise profitability. Instead, the paradigm needs to shift to the customer as the profit centre irrespective of the channel. This could be then related to customer groups and demographics and then linked to brands arriving at a mix of brand X customer profitability which could justify the investments in those segments.
  2. Think “multi-dimensional” when making omni-channel investments: First, a company should lay out a long-range, cross-functional omnichannel vision and strategy. This basic building block is often overlooked and can therefore reflect a problematic absence of a common definition of “omni-channel” among the senior leadership.
  3. Enable timely decision-making with the right capital governance:
    • Assemble key operational and commercial stakeholders: Understand interdependencies and downstream impacts, then create a cross-functional team with clearly defined roles to participate in decision-making.
    • Gather data that sustains a multi-dimensional approach to investing: Leverage advanced analytics for insights on how investments will affect the consumer and operating models.
    • Consult with all teams who may be impacted: As channels and technologies become more integrated, so should the team involved in the capital decision-making process. ned within a single channel
  4. Shift to cloud-based platforms: Rising IT prices and emerging business models such as SaaS, PaaS, IaaS, and others can reduce the capital outlay and allow CFOs to revisit capital allocations by converting their IT expenditure to an operating expense that is readily scalable with the business and supports an omni-channel environment.
  5. Expand your digital knowledge: In an EY survey, 58% of 769 finance leaders from across the world said they need to better understand digital, smart technologies, and sophisticated data analytics. To remain a strategic leader in the omni-channel age, retail CFOs must continually broaden their personal knowledge of technology to be able to show how the technological landscape is evolving and what strategic investments will support growth.

Striking a balance

The transformative effects of digitization in retail will continue in the foreseeable future. The finance teams will need to redeploy capital from stores and inventory to riskier, hard-to-measure investments in new enabling technologies and related processes. As the leaders of finance organizations, retail CFOs will need to develop new tools, techniques, and skills to stay at the forefront of this revolution while still delivering attractive returns on capital.

 

Why Retail CEOs should Invest in an Omni-channel Retail Strategy

 

By now the concept of omni-channel or the word itself might not seem as strange as it first appeared to be. It is extremely rare to engage in a conversation today involving retail technology without encountering omni-channel used as a noun, an adjective, or even a verb. As challenging as it may seem for business owners to envision the benefits, for CEO’s the question is simple – how do I make it produce results for the business?

As a pioneer in this space we are delighted to share our knowledge of the subject acquired through several years of discussions we’ve had with retail leaders particularly since the time ‘omni-channel’ first appeared on the retail horizon. This domain knowledge includes the trends, the drivers, the business benefits, and the role of technology all within the context of omni-channel as highlighted by companies that are leading in the specific realms of their initiatives. 

Omni-channel Initiatives in the Spotlight! Omni-channel has quickly become the norm for retailers who aspire to deliver the following benefits to their end customers through the adoption of this unified O2O strategy:

  1. Buy or reserve online and pickup in-store – Customers can reserve or buy items online and choose to try or buy them at the store. This drives traffic to stores and helps to upsell and cross-sell increasing the revenue per square foot.
  2. Endless Aisle – Allows you to see inventory across stores from any store. Place orders across stores for customers to pick up, or to be delivered. never saying ‘no’ to the customer
  3. Ship from Store – Ability to receive web orders directly to stores, and have them picked, packed, and delivered from the store. Particularly useful for slow-moving or aging inventory
  4. Inventory Visibility across Channels – Customers have to ability to check the in-store availability of items before leaving their homes

CEOs invest in Omni-channel strategies to achieve the below goals:

To grow revenue with existing customers: Customers shop and communicate with a brand on their own terms through various channels, often using six or more touchpoints before making a purchase such as a brand’s website, reviews, social media, and marketplaces. Retail CEOs broadly agree their organizations must deliver a consistent experience across all touchpoints. The experience could cover areas like consistent pricing, promotions, catalogues, loyalty programs, and member benefits. Channels are the arms and legs of the brand that bring the experience to the customer. This experience should be highly personalized, connected, and unified. Done right, this helps customers trust a brand and want to shop again.  

To bring in new customers: Increasing adoption of smartphones and tablets has driven change in customer behaviour and expectations. The heightened connectivity enables a 24×7, 360-degree relationship between the customer and the brand that the customer will come to expect. Revenue growth for the retail industry is driven by the combination of online and web-influenced sales. However, retailers’ ability to capture this growth is dependent on the evolution of current operating models and technology to feature a seamless cross-channel shopping experience that allows online traffic to drive sales in brick-and-mortar locations. 

To Improve inventory turn: Driving traffic online to the store is always a great idea as it allows customers to interact with the brand through people product, place, and promotion in a high experience environment. It also allows customers to browse and creates upselling and cross-selling opportunities. If deployed properly omni-channel technology also allows customers to choose products from any store and have them delivered as well as create an online shopping experience within a store. I am sure everyone will agree that doing returns and exchanges in stores is much easier than online, this is also an opportunity to engage positively with customers and help them shop more. all of these initiatives will help store inventory to move faster and as better data is available to re-stick smarter.  

To optimize the channel mix and asset deployment: As the omni-channel strategy is implemented, if good data analysis is done, a lot of decision-making information will be available to the CEO to decide on the deployment of his/her assets. Data about customers buying preferences by channel/ by brand/ by location/ by time/ and all related to customer profiles. This will allow the CEO to decide on where the physical stores should be located, what brands they should carry, how many staff are required at what timings, what size of store as well as information on online traffic for the same parameters and the need for promotion across these channels.

The case for Omni-channel enablement – Retail leaders in the omni-channel movement are gaining a competitive advantage in the marketplace by providing high revenue customers the connectivity and service they demand. 

Increased revenue from multi-channel shoppers: While 40% of consumers purchase more from retailers that provide a personalized shopping experience across channels, there is an exponential return on the budget you invest in personalization as retail CEOs who invest in personalization can realize upward of $20 in return for every dollar invested.

Omni-channel’s customer focus yields loyalty-based revenue: 65% of consumers have cut ties with a brand over a single poor customer service experience resulting in companies losing an average of $62 billion annually. Retailers who provide this exceptional experience can earn rewards worth approx. $823 million in incremental sales annually in the form of additional purchases, churn reduction, and word-of-mouth purchases over a 3 year period for a company with $1 billion in annual revenues. 

Emerging trends become mainstream: Customer expectations fueling the omni-channel movement, especially with the advent of Covid-19 and the resulting lockdowns and other restrictions, particularly those on human interaction, has made it mainstream as trends in e/m-commerce, tablet, and smartphone usage, and social networking continue to proliferate.

Retail CEO’s KPIs to measure the progress of their Omni-channel retail business – As a general rule, CEOs need easy access to a few key performance indicators that allow them, at a glance, to monitor how healthy the business is at a given point in time. Business leaders need to keep up to date in real time (or as close as possible) so that they can have the actionable insights needed to make adjustments to their priorities. Some examples of important KPIs that retail CEOs should keep an eye on with their executive KPI dashboards are:

  1. Conversion Rate – the number of people interacting with the brand through the various channels v/s the number of individual purchases.
  2. Sales per square foot are calculated by dividing the net sales by the amount of sales space.
  3. Sales per employee/category – helps retail CEOs identify valuable sales data with reference to sales as per product category, sales per employee, average sales per transaction, and sales per shift of the day. It helps make better employment decisions and planning.
  4. Online traffic and foot traffic – Digital traffic is measured with the help of a POS system which indicates how many shoppers are visiting your online store. Foot traffic is fundamentally measured by physically keeping a track of every customer walking into your store or with the help of cameras.
  5. Inventory turnover – also known as Stock Turn, it refers to the times in a particular period you are selling the inventory and replacing it. It can be calculated by measuring the cost of goods sold by the average inventory.

In order to identify and track the right retail KPIs, retail CEOs need to invest in an advanced omni-channel retail management POS solution. We hope this information can help you move ahead in your strategic thinking by formulating, evaluating, or even implementing your own omni-channel strategies. Stay tuned to know more about enabling omni-channel strategy through technology and measuring the impact for greater retail success. 

Are you boosting sales by enabling your customers to video shop?

The Covid situation and the resultant restrictions imposed by the governments on retail stores has put a tremendous pressure on retailers for how to generate sales, keep the cash registers ringing and to keep their brand names at the top of their customers’ minds. Brands are in an intense struggle to sell as the customer behaviour is changing daily affecting product demands, trends, and deliverability. Due to the acceleration in cases, there is a fear of going out shopping amongst the customers. This has given a hard time to the retailers in cross-selling and upselling to their customers and also, in getting new customers to buy their products.

 

This situation was an eye-opener for some retailers and showed them how important omni-channel retail solutions are for their business. Retailers who once had only physical stores are now making the transition to online by implementing multi-channel or omni-channel capabilities. This allows them to upsell their products by enabling promotions across multiple channels and also tracking the inventory real-time.

 

While the customers are buying their essentials through online channels, it is still difficult for retailers of luxury and lifestyle items such as fashion, furniture, jewelry, and health & beauty products, which often need customizations or where the customers need a closer look of the products before buying. This need has unlocked a new technique of selling these products via video calling. Retailers are even dedicating their customer touchpoints to book an online appointment. Brands are enabling this functionality by utilising the customer data from their omni-channel CRM to call and book an appointment with their sales representatives. The store staff will then help the customer to take a tour of the store and pick the products that they wish to purchase. The buying history from the CRM will enable the store staff to also point out related items that the customer would have looked for had they physically been at the store. 

Innovative Omni-channel Retail solutions such as the ETP Omni-channel CRM along with the promotions engine, ETP Accelerator will help you cross-sell and upsell to your customers based on their past and present data thus boosting your sales even in these tough times.

4 keys to seamlessly deploy & monitor omni-channel promotions to increase retail revenues

promotion planning software

 

In the current increasingly challenging and competitive environment, courtesy of the ongoing pandemic, retailers are relying heavily on promotions and offers to pull customers back to their stores and generate higher returns. Though promotions are powerful tools for enhancing sales, but too often, poor execution delivers poor results. Inaccurate promotional forecasting can result in stock out and lost sales or costly spoilage and markdown losses. For many retail businesses, accurate promotion planning and effective execution still remain a challenge. Focusing on improvements to their retail promotion planning can help retailers avoid these pain points and drive a 20% improvement in operating margins.

1: Cross-functional collaboration and rich data drives accurate, automated retail promotion execution

Most retail software solutions don’t accommodate promotion planning, leaving marketers and supply chain planners struggling to incorporate spreadsheet-based guesstimates into their forecasts, relying on a combination of past experience and supplier projections to plan promotions and calculate the predicted promotional sales uplift. Without a centralized system, individual stores are forced to place orders manually in order to meet the demand for promoted products while distribution centres (DC) must estimate inventory and purchasing requirements. Too often, all of this happens in silos, with no shared data or plans.

The ETP Omni-channel Retail Promotion Planning solution – ETP Accelerator, along with ETP’s in-POS Omni-channel CRM solution breaks down these barriers. Customer registration details and buying history accrued in the ETP Omni-channel Retail CRM serve as input to the ETP Omni-channel Promotion Planning tool, enabling marketers to easily define business rules and roll out promotions specific to customer segments, making their relationship with the brands a personalized experience. These promotions can be executed based on customer demographics, age, gender, birth dates, and many more such parameters as well as be defined for a specific range of merchandise or time frame or for a specific channel or store. Promotion planning solution

ETP Omni-channel Promotion Planning solution – ETP Accelerator

The retail marketing team can now plan, execute, and monitor a wide range of promotion campaigns, and deploy them quickly across various channels, both online and offline, using an easy-to-use interface while the supply chain team stays in sync to plan the right level of stock, at the right locations, at the right time. It is important to be able to run a large volume business and yet be able to make your customers feel special every time they interact with youpromotion planning software

Hierarchy in Promotion Planning

ETP Accelerator also offers the ability for external applications to leverage ETP’s powerful promotions engine as a service feature which is built on Microservices architecture. Any external application can pass order information to ETP Accelerator and in response, ETP Accelerator will apply the applicable discounts and send back the updated order. The monitoring and management of this data exchange can be controlled by the ETP Connect application.

 

“Get closer than ever to your customers.
So close, in fact, that you tell them what they
need well before they realize it themselves”
– Steve Jobs

 

2: Accurate retail promotion forecasts help effectively automate store replenishment

An accurate day-product-store level promotional forecast develops a higher degree of certainty around the amount of inventory a retailer is likely to sell. It also enables accurate and automated store replenishment, which is of particular importance during promotional periods. At just a click of the button, the promotions get enabled immediately at all desired locations and channels. 

Retailers can develop templates for different types of stores and promotions to fit their business characteristics and goals. These templates are used to quickly implement configurations that automatically calculate initial store orders and subsequent replenishment orders. With consistent access to high-quality data, modern supply chain solutions can improve promotional forecast accuracy by 15%, improving store replenishment and inventory optimization throughout the supply chain.

Planning promotions accurately to ensure timely replenishment at the store

 

3: Reach your customers online and boost brand loyalty

Promotions in ETP Accelerator can be deployed across social media platforms instantly as campaigns. Retailers can connect with their target market through social media such as Facebook or Twitter to promote the brands. Becoming a part of the social media network helps an organization to capture a large audience and establish direct contact with end-users of the product as well. Posting promotions on social media is a marketing tool to reach your customers online and reignite brand passion and customer loyalty with little upfront cost, which encourages business. The big advantage of having ETP Accelerator as a tool for publishing promotions on social media is that the consistency of the message across stores, eCommerce, and social media is maintained, leading to a holistic customer experience with your brand.

Publishing promotions directly to online/social media

Publishing promotions at the store

 

4: Measure and monitor promotion campaign KPIs for retail success

ETP Accelerator is equipped with an intuitive dashboard that enables retailers to stay tuned to the customer expectations and modify their retail marketing promotions as well as easily reactivate previously successful promotions. Retailers can view their various marketing promotions across various periods in a daily, weekly and monthly calendar format using the in-built promotions

Performance Dashboards to track & measure the outcome of the promotion campaigns

planning calendar allowing them to further sync their promotions with the brand’s social media network. A set of business rules monitor the performance of the promotion and measure it against a set of goals, giving you a feedback of how your promotion is performing against your target. This drives the discipline in your business as well as delights customers with a unified brand experience that encourages loyalty.

Which Modern Retail Tools and Capabilities are you using in 2021?

Retail has always been an industry full of changes and challenges, and COVID-19 has highlighted them in bold. External market trends such as emerging new technologies, rapidly evolving new sales channels, increasing competitive pressure, and the non-traditional expectations of the Generation Z/Millennial generation are demanding that retailers rethink their strategies for Getting on the Right Side of the Retail Trends in 2021.

Customer experience has been the competitive battleground for nearly a decade now and many successful retailers were quick to change their business model by focusing on customer experience and retail technology. Those who did not initially move forth were forced by the shock of the coronavirus to harness the power of data and technology to enhance the customer experience and grow brand loyalty and trust. 

To help retailers like you deliver more connected and personalized shopping experiences across customer journeys, we have created this article. Here are some of the most pioneering examples of innovative retail technologies and capabilities from the past few years and more recently since the onset of Covid-19:

New Tools for Digital Transformation in Retail

Superior omnichannel shopping experiences

Retail growth drivers are today quite strongly linked to their capacity to integrate the new journeys of digital customers. However, many retailers still manage their offline and online sales channels in silos. The integration capabilities of a robust Omni-channel Retail Software Solution help to map customer journeys and unify all the sales channels, order management, payment processes, loyalty programs, delivery options, and more, both in-store and online. This will enable retail brands to deliver the true omnichannel experiences that the customers expect.

Social Commerce

Native shopping experiences on a social media platform offer shoppers a seamless way to shop online. Instead of clicking through to a third-party website, users can make purchases right from the social media app or site. Shops are custom storefronts for businesses on Instagram and Facebook. Sellers can create collections of featured products, as well as modify the look of their custom storefront on Instagram and Facebook. Once it is set up, retailers have the potential to reach a wide global audience on two platforms.

In-POS CRM capabilities

A retail CRM solution that is integrated with the POS connects the business back-end operations with the supply and demand channels. Using an omni-channel retail CRM software retailers can ensure that their O2O customers can peruse, pick, purchase, like, promote, review, search, seek information and provide feedback from anywhere at any time.

Promotion Planning

Omni-channel Retail Promotions Planning solution such as the ETP Accelerator help retailers plan, execute, and monitor retail marketing promotions and deploy them quickly accordingly across their various channels online and offline. Retailers can visualize promotions across merchandise, channel, location, time and customer dimensions. Promotions Planning software are equipped with intuitive dashboards that enable retailers to create a knowledge based promotions strategy and also to stay abreast of the customer response to their promotions against various goals and targets set for each promotion.

In-queue Checkout

Retail mobility solutions such as the ETP Mobile Store help to improve in-store safe distancing and to reduce queues by creating invoices for the customers as they wait in-queue thus ensuring a faster checkout. Store-staff can also register customers into the CRM program, give them information about their loyalty points and lookup inventory quickly using the retail mobile POS.

Real-time visibility into inventory levels

Inventory Management modules help retailers manage and control the different inventory processes carried out inside stores in real-time for both retail sales and online sales. Managing stock transfers, local purchases & quick product-wise stock take at the store level reduces the lead time for updating physical count of the store inventory.

Chat & Buy

Covid-19 has compelled retailers to have limited in-person experiences which also includes having to severely reduce face-to-face customer support. To meet customers where they are, more and more companies have embraced chatbots and digital shopping assistants, which offer companies and users alike some big advantages like shorter wait times, 24×7 availability and personalized recommendations based on answers to a few simple questions. Once a user decides on a product, the chatbot directs them to the website where they can complete the purchase.

Frictionless Payments

Frictionless payments, or frictionless commerce refer to online and offline checkout processes where the barriers of buying have been minimized. The onset of the COVID-19 crisis and ongoing fears of infection have prompted consumers and businesses to rely more on digital and contactless payment options that use data from devices, apps, websites and wearables to integrate buying opportunities as simply and seamlessly as possible into consumers’ everyday activities and natural environments. Retailers pivoting their businesses toward safe ways to meet their buyers by enabling frictionless payments have an increased need for omni-channel tools. The most common use cases of frictionless payments include mobile and digital e-wallets, contactless card payments, auto-renewing subscriptions, NFC (near field communications) and one-click payments.

e-wallets

A digital e-wallet is a type of electronic device, online service, or software program  that enables individuals or businesses to make transactions electronically. It is used for transactions made online through a computer or a smartphone. The e-wallet securely stores users’ bank account details, passwords for numerous payment methods and social network account details so that customers can pay for their purchases quickly with just an email address/mobile phone number and password.

Buy Now, Pay Later 

Scrambling for cash for a COD purchase or getting out debit or credit cards for online payments and typing in OTPs every time you make a purchase can be a hassle, especially during a pandemic scenario. A ‘Buy Now, Pay Later’ solution gives customers the convenience of shopping now and paying later anytime within a specific number of days, usually fixed between 14-30 days. It could also be an auto-renewed subscription for a product or service that finds its use on a regular basis. 

Self-checkout

An increased need to minimize human interaction during the ongoing crisis has also created a requirement for self-service checkouts or customer-operated point-of-sale (POS) stations with which customers can scan, pack/bag goods themselves and make payments using a frictionless/contactless method such as e-wallets, buy now pay later, NFC or such other without interacting with a human cashier, although a support person is typically available nearby. 

Secured Online Checkout

A Secured Online Checkout feature allows businesses such as retail to securely accept and process payments with the confidence that all customer transactions are secure thus enhancing the customer checkout experience. For this, all transactions should be secured with the SSL protocol and a PCI certified compliance is a must. The ETP V5 omni-channel retail management system is a PCI PA-DSS compliant solution that is flexible enough to integrate with a wide range of payment systems electronically, including all the well-known payment cards and mobile/e-wallets.

Increased Use of Retail Analytics

Retail business intelligence (BI) solution with powerful pre-configured, retail specific set of KPIs providing a 360° view of business processes gives retailers real-time access to data about stores, sales, customers, employees, inventory, merchandising, etc. and provides actionable insights about customer behavior across multiple retail channels. This helps increase foot-falls, improve margins, volume size and supports business functions like promotions and pricelist optimization, demand forecasting, product assortment and customer segmentation.

ETP has developed a comprehensive omni-channel retail software solution to enable you to adopt most of the new retail tools and capabilities. We are happy to offer you a quick 1-hour workshop that’ll help you understand how you too can integrate your online and offline POS with each other using our ready-to-use omni-channel solution that includes e-commerce integration, a robust supply chain, and a powerful promotions engine. 

Reach out to ETP!

Getting on the Right Side of the Retail Trends

ETP Group, POS SoftwareThe past twelve months alone have produced more digital transformation in retail than the last decade. Retailers, manufacturers and consumers alike were forced to change and what appeared to be quick fixes in the early days have now quickly become habits. The swell in online shopping, the demand for frictionless payments, the quick deployment of buy-anywhere-pickup near you and the scramble to adopt new technologies that enable all these changes are just the beginning.

What innovative retail trends are retailers like you looking forward to implement in 2021 to get on the right side of trends?

Strive for 1:1 personalization

Consumers’ expectations will only continue to rise in the future. That’s why creating 1:1 experiences within your campaigns – whether it’s personalized product recommendations or a data visualization including loyalty points with the help of efficient promotion planning solutions – will be key for driving engagement and keeping your customers engaged over time.

Aim for a single view of the customer

Harnessing your data and using it to power personalized campaigns will be imperative in the coming years. Unfortunately, capturing that data is still a massive challenge for many brands. Customer data platforms (CDPs) can help streamline the flow of data to create a single view of the customer – and they’re worth the investment. 

Supply chain resiliency amid distribution

It is important for retailers to build back confidence by winning the last mile, fortifying every link in the supply chain, driving decisions through the consumer lens, and measuring resiliency investment. Order fulfilment (e.g., last-mile delivery and pickup-near-you) will see the heaviest investments, followed by warehouse management and procurement.

Create consistent omni-channel experiences

If there is one thing we’ve learned in the aftermath of COVID-19, it’s that nothing is certain. With some parts of the world reopening and others closing, it’s never been more important to provide best-in-class experiences no matter where your customers choose to interact with your brand. Flexibility is key for survival – hence, it is all the more important to operate your business via multiple channels, both offline and online.

Consistent, on-brand experiences are a necessity across email, mobile, your website, and beyond. The companies that get it right will be omnipresent for shoppers — connecting online, in stores as well as social commerce and making sure every touchpoint is frictionless.

 

Operating through multiple sales channels will lead to more complexity. Entrepreneurs, we know for sure, are an impatient lot when it comes to administrative encumbrance. That is precisely why ETP has developed a platform to relieve you from most worries when it comes to omni-channel sales. We are happy to offer you a quick 1-hour workshop that’ll help you understand how you too can integrate your online and offline retail POS with each other using our ready-to-use omni-channel solution that includes e-commerce integration, a robust supply chain, and a powerful promotion planning software. Reach out to ETP!

This holiday season, move the queues super quick so you can sell more.

The holiday season always brings in waves of shoppers that often results in longer checkout and long queues. This will often turn shoppers off and direct them into your competitors’ store where there are shorter queues and more efficient check out systems. 

So, what can you do to move the queues at lightning speed and potentially sell more and gain more customers? 

  • Have a mobile POS (mPOS) system 

A mPOS system will allow your staff to help customers check out faster and for them to assist with smaller purchases so that the customers can be out the door as soon as possible. 

Having a mPOS system would also mean that you can be registering right outside the store and customers are able to enter and purchase quickly. This allows retailers to engage shoppers in the queue awaiting to enter the store and potentially close sales using the mPOS system. This divide and delight strategy will help ease the crowd significantly and customers will not have to wait too long to pay for their items, keeping them happy and allowing them to have a great impression of your store. 

  • Introduce BOPIS

BOPIS, buy online and pick up in-store. This strategy allows customers to buy and purchase online and hop over to your store to grab the item. They may even be queueing in another store and purchasing your item so that they can grab and go afterwards. 

By doing this, customers will be able to have the instant gratification of getting the item instantly without having to queue for it. 

  • Offer endless aisle 

During the holiday season, it is common to see empty shelves and frustrated shoppers. Staff are unable to restock the shelves in time and that leaves the shoppers frustrated because they made a wasted trip down. 

Hence, having an endless aisle option, allows for the customers in store to view the entire inventory across all your stores and warehouses and pick out the item either to be shipped to their homes or reserve it for pick up another time. This will reduce the number of shoppers queuing up just to ask about the availability of the item and when will the next batch of stocks arrive, significantly reducing the queues in stores.

  • Have an e-commerce presence

All the previous options are all related to the physical store front. What if you have a fully digital option where shoppers are able to shop online and have the goods delivered right to their doorstep? 

In this way, you reduce the number of customers in store and may even potentially have more sales online because the customer is not limited by the number of items they can carry!