Building Omnichannel across borders with Retail Pro Prism

white businessman and woman shaking hands, making a deal with two black businessmen to work together on building omnichannel across borders in their company

Building omnichannel operations for multinational companies requires integrated technology designed for business agility. With the right set of tools, retailers can build their brands across geographic borders and still provide a consistent customer experience.

A successful project must nurture continuous experimentation and collaboration among all partners in the supply chain.

Managing the marketing, planning, and omnichannel operations for dozens, hundreds or even thousands of brands across many countries with numerous points of sale in Asia, South America or Europe is a huge challenge.

Collaboration and experimentation are needed to meet consumers’ rapidly evolving expectations and provide feedback to brand partners on local market preferences and upcoming trends.

Having functioning contacts and support systems in the region that a retailer is expanding to from the beginning makes such expansion much easier. Retail Pro has an expansive network of business partners who provide support in the initial implementation, and in any changes or hiccups throughout their operations.

Omnichannel POS and the customer experience

a blonde sales associate concerned with customer experience helps a woman shopping for makeup using per personalized data on her customer profile

Omnichannel POS can support insights-driven experimentation.

To deliver connected customer experiences across digital touchpoints and stores, retailers integrate in-store point of sale (POS) systems, mobile POS, and omnichannel systems to their online stores, as well as their CRM and enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems.

That provides real-time visibility into sales down to the SKU level. Sales managers can strategize with customer-facing associates to develop and monitor the success of customized promotions and bundles for each store.

Customers also need to be a part of the feedback loop. They must trust the retailer, and feel that they have support throughout their journey – the item is in stock, ships quickly, can be returned easily if needed.

That trust often involves the customer providing some personal information to the store, in exchange for a more personalized shopping experience.

With an omnichannel POS system, a retailer can integrate their loyalty and rewards programs with data from their POS, making for a smooth transaction experience and more personalized and engaging customer experience, based on their actual purchase history.

A retailer can present a highly targeted experience if the data gathered is extremely focused.

Retail Pro Prism provides this omnichannel capability and customer experience and offers two loyalty programs – AppCard and OptCulture – for retailers to gain deep insight and create custom, individualized loyalty strategies.

E-commerce capabilities help retailers adapt to local markets as well.

The benefits gained by e-commerce apply to branded ecommerce sites as well as having a presence on online marketplaces such as Lazada, Little red Book, TMall, and Tokopedia.

Multinational omnichannel retailers choose robust software solutions to support its branded ecommerce platforms as well as middleware solutions to integrate systems with ecommerce marketplaces. That provides a solid foundation that lets e-commerce teams work seamlessly and efficiently across brands and marketplaces.

Retail Pro’s accessible API and extensive list of plugins and integrations in the Retail Pro App Market make it easy to integrate data from the POS, inventory and ecommerce.

Automating analytics and marketing in omnichannel

black retail businesswoman building omnichannel looks at POS data analytics

Standardized and automated back-end systems further boost efficiency.

Omnichannel warehouse and logistics managers automate their processes, from picking and packing, to shipping and final delivery.

A warehouse management system can further help by integrating enterprise resource planning, merchandising, and supply chain solutions.

Finally, business intelligence tools are deployed to deliver relevant insights across the entire enterprise.

BI can quickly generate insights by tracking clearly identified business and customer outcomes and analysts turn them into actions. For example, cross-analyzed data feeds coming from ecommerce marketplaces and social media can help identify small signals in certain product categories.

Retailers using Retail Pro can have access to several tools to help them in analyzing shopper and transaction data, such as Retail Pro Decisions – visual analytics software – and pre-designed reports in Retail Pro Reports. Retailers can use filters to focus on different aspects of their operations, and segments to investigate further on one period

Overall, the retailer is the “face” of the brands they represent, in every country. No matter how disparate the customers are from one location to the next, the retailer ultimately must use all the tools at its disposal to appeal to all, while maintaining a cohesive branding strategy.

Retailers personalize customer journeys by brand to connect with consumers. And brand promises must be aligned with in-market customer experiences, whether that’s online or in-store.

A loyalty program such as OptCulture for Retail Pro that centralizes sales data from customers in-store and ecommerce and gives you multiple avenues to reinforce their experience of your brand and offer automated, personalized marketing.

Scaling Omnichannel Operations for Connected Experiences with Retail Pro Prism

Woman shopping on her phone in front of the same storefront which has omnichannel operations

Customers love retailers with omnichannel strategies. Shopping is on their terms: They can choose the time, the location and – if they change their minds – the way to make the return.

No longer are the channels online stores and brick and mortars; today, a brand can also sell products through pop up storefronts as well as Instagram and Snap Chat.

It’s all about connecting with customers at their convenience.

When retailers give customers the flexibility to choose the way they shop, they are also able to connect and provide personalized promotions and timely recommendations. OptCulture for Retail Pro opens up the ability to create personalized promotions and loyalty programs by unifying customer data across channels.

With so many points of engagement between customers and brands, scaling operations is challenging.

Today’s shoppers don’t consider brick and mortar and online stores separate shopping destinations. Instead, they expect unified experiences across every touch point. Retail Pro Prism makes it possible to offer this convenient, omnichannel buying experience.

Order Management and flexible fulfilment

a woman picks up an order from an omnichannel store with omnichannel operations

Order Management is critical for a holistic commerce strategy. It connects omnichannel demand to omnichannel supply.

Buyers have insight into inventory across all sales channels, accurately and in real time.

Retail store associates, dropshippers, warehouses, distribution centers and third-party fulfillment providers use commerce technology to fill and deliver orders efficiently.

A system that has communication between each channel and allows seamless management of inventory and stock replenishment to take place is important for providing omnichannel and minimizing strain on your supply chain and operations.

Determining the best fulfillment options means finding solutions that shorten the distance to the customer, increase delivery speed, and reduce costs.

The omnichannel model emphasizes shipping from decentralized inventory sources, such as ship-from-store, buy online pick-up in-store, ship from a partner, or drop-ship from a manufacturer.

Making the right decision improves customer service, because delivery is quick, accurate and cost-effective. Ensuring the ‘last mile’ is optimized by collecting the data in a centralized visual analytics tool saves you money, time, and frustrated customers.

In a warehouse fulfillment model, orders are picked using a variety of methods, including discrete, zone, or wave picking or any combination.

Filling orders from a store limits the type of picking that can be done and retailers often use discrete picking and fill one order at a time. The benefit to in-store picking, however, is the proximity to the customer, who may opt for curbside pickup, eliminating shipping charges.

Curbside pickup has its advantages for shoppers in a rush but for retailers, enticing customers inside to make additional purchases has bottom-line benefits.

However, Pick-up-in-store customer personas are different from an online-only or in-store-only customer personas: They want immediate gratification — they can’t or won’t wait for shipping. 

This is a demanding group that generally has little tolerance for friction during pickup. Therefore, clear, precise messaging about when the order will be ready and instructions for pickup are imperative. The pickup process can be made even more streamlined and convenient with Retail Pro Prism mobile POS.

And the pickup purchase process should be quick and easy for customers and employees. Customers’ perceived value of in-store pickup will evaporate if they can find the item on the floor faster.

Inventory management strategies and shipping

asian woman shop owner - young asian woman or shop assistant with shoe boxes at store

Shipping from the store can get customers their orders delivered more quickly. But other times, the warehouse is closer to the customer.

Having the option to ship from one location or the other is critical for flexibility and to keep customers satisfied.

In-store cycle counting can help by keeping inventory counts up to date and confirmed, so at fulfillment time products are where they are expected to be.

When they aren’t, sometimes items have simply been misplaced: an RFID system can help locate them very quickly. With RIOT RFID for Retail Pro, retailers can locate items out of the line of sight and complete inventory counts in a matter of minutes at an affordable price.

Customers have high expectations of how their shopping experiences should unfold, and retailers have a full plate managing and fulfilling orders while recognizing the unique characteristics of every consumer.

What delights one customer may not work for another. Retailers must be flexible and willing to implement customer feedback to create an efficient, intuitive customer experience that, ultimately, is profitable.

Retail Pro Prism POS gives you the flexibility and customization needed to connect your physical and digital store experience: offer customers fulfillment options, empower associates to order specific products from another store, discover shopper insights, and more.

DTC brands have a big impact on traditional retail

modcloth, bonobos and jet logos in a walmart shopping cart, harry's, casper, and care/of in target shopping cart. DTC brands impact traditional retail

Direct to consumer (DTC) products have been wildly popular in the past few years, and as they slowly infiltrate big box retailers’ shelves, brands such as Casper, Harry’s and Bonobos are gaining more attention and getting an even bigger sales boost.

But traditional retailers are learning from them as well.

For the biggest retailers, partnering with DTC has been mutually beneficial. Walmart bought men’s fashion retailer Bonobos in 2017 for $310 million. Target is partnering with Harry’s to sell the well-made, discount-priced razors in stores, as well as Casper mattresses — which can also be found in top-tier stores such as Nordstrom’s.

Mutual gains

two businessmen shaking hands - DTC brands impact traditional retail and it's mutually beneficial

Part of the draw of those and many other DTC brands is their popularity: They will drive customers into stores and online. Forging partnerships with newer, more sought-after brands helps retailers attract and create relationships with a new segment of shoppers who may not have otherwise shopped with them.

In addition, what big retailers such as Walmart, Target and Nordstrom’s can gain from well-established DTC brands is digital expertise. These products have successfully launched and sold products online with no physical stores. They are marketing powerhouses, and big box stores are learning from their strategies, particularly for their own private-label merchandise. For example, Target’s partnership with Harry’s spurred it to step up its men’s grooming selection by expanding its own Goodfellow & Co’s offering to more than 30 products. (Target is clearly focusing on the segment and rounding out its offerings by also incorporating Ulta Beauty shops this year into 100 locations this year.)

Fluid shopping

dark skinned woman with big short curls wearing orange shirt shopping on laptop on couch, DTC brands impact traditional retail - teaching big box stores about online marketing

What these relationships mean for consumers is that brands and retailers are becoming more attuned to the future of shopping. Customers are fluid in how they want to shop: One day they may opt for a personal, immersive experience at Sephora and the next they’ll order lipstick online. Convenience is a driving force, but it doesn’t always mean ecommerce. Sometimes, convenience is the ease of being able to go to a physical location and try on, inspect, and ask questions.

Successful retail has always meant providing what customers want, when they want it. Today’s technology merely widens the possibilities, and requires retailers to be intuitive and flexible.