Streamline retail operations with integrated POS and ERP data

 

 

Retail is alive with changing trends like omnichannel that give your customers more ways to shop your stores.

With more ways to get your goods into shoppers’ hands, smart inventory and operations management across channels is becoming a bigger focus for serious retailers.

Integrated Retail Pro® POS and SAP Business One® ERP software enables a smooth exchange of data, streamlining in-store and head office operations for greater efficiency.

By capturing retail data from the POS at all your store locations into a single centralized platform, you can access critical real-time information to make fast, informed decisions.

You can even take proactive control through automatic alerts and automated merchandise planning, forecasting, and replenishment – so you always have the right amount of trending inventory in stock to meet demand and sell more.

Want to learn how you can increase efficiency with automated operations for your stores? Request your consultation today.

 

What can leading indicators do for the bottom line?

 

Think of the data that makes up your Business Intelligence as being made up of cause and effect factors.

Those two factors are lagging indicators and leading indicators.

The difference between them isn’t complicated, but it is critical.

 

Lagging Indicators = Effect

These are made up of accounting and historic measures.

In other words, these are the financial ratios you build based on the income statement.

 

Leading Indicators = Cause

These are also historic but look at internal processes and external events that occur prior to revenue.

Some examples of what they are include the number of qualified sales leads, time to market, conversion ratios, employee satisfaction, etc.

These are the indicators you should focus on if you want to improve results.

 

Why the big difference?

According to Gartner, 80% of current Business Intelligence content is made up of lagging indicators.

However, all of that current Business Intelligence content should actually be made up of leading indicators.

Why the big difference? One word: value.

Lagging indicators are valuable if you only want to look at current conditions, but it’s important to look at future projections to better guide your company toward greater success.

Leading indicators give retailers the ability to “look into the crystal ball” and take proactive instead of reactive action, which can save both time and money.

 

So what can leading indicators do for the bottom line?

When you have the right information and understand what truly impacts success and failure in your business, the investment brings dividends quickly and abundantly.

Leading indicators are truly valuable for businesses of any size because they:

  • Define what is critical for your business
  • Direct where investment is needed
  • Direct where focus is needed
  • Act as a big data filter to help you focus on what matters
  • Point you to relevant, company-specific data sources

 

Business Intelligence and analytics is what a particular clothing retail company uses to closely monitor what’s hot and what’s not in stores throughout Europe.

The precise control of inventory, turnover, and production has delivered improvements to the company’s bottom line by an estimated 30 percent.

The old adage “you have to spend money to make money” couldn’t be more true when it comes to investing in Business Intelligence and analytics.

 

 

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This blog is an excerpt from the Retail Pro Decisions whitepaper, From KPIs to Profit: Understanding Your Leading Indicators for Better Retail Results. Get this whitepaper today to read more.

 

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Which data is most valuable for analysis in retail?

 

For all the good that data can do for retail businesses, there is one major issue it presents: information overload.

Many companies try to focus on too many different metrics without focusing on those that truly matter.

They have an ocean of data inside the company from every type of software supporting their business processes.

In our experience, marketing departments typically have three to five different systems and manufacturing departments have even more.

As the big data tsunami overflowed the media and blogs over the past years, many companies try to grasp what to do with all that external data that is becoming available.

Some companies have started to collect external data but are not yet effectively utilizing it.

According to Gartner, the confusion around big data is so apparent that they indicate companies will delay spending on analytics and Business Intelligence in general until they figure out how to handle data better.

Actually, most big data investments made to date have been big data services, such as consultancy projects to clarify what they should be examining.

And only 8% of respondents in a recent Gartner survey of CIOs say they have deployed big data investments.

But big data -- or any data for that matter -- doesn’t have to be a daunting task if you start from within.

 

Determine your end goal

As with anything else in life, the way to successfully move forward, even with developing KPIs and identifying leading indicators, is to first determine your end goal.

That can be anything from increasing revenue to reducing costs.

Next, consider what in your internal and external environment can truly impact whether you are capable of reaching those objectives.

 

Internal Data

Internal data has to do with the internal processes of the business (product design, corporate vision, etc.).

You most likely own this information inside your company solutions already.

Otherwise, it is time you start tracking and registering.

 

External Data

External data has to do with economic factors outside of the company that still have an effect (the needs of customers, competitor actions, etc.).

The data needed to understand the external indicators is what is traditionally referred to as big data or external data sources.

Don’t worry too much about whether it’s big or small data; worry about what impacts your company.

 

 

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This blog is an excerpt from the Retail Pro Decisions whitepaper, From KPIs to Profit: Understanding Your Leading Indicators for Better Retail Results. Get this whitepaper today to read more.

 

Get whitepaper

 

Inventory counts

 

Retailers are constantly attempting to determine the "right" mix of products — one that won't leave them empty handed, yet not linger too long on the shelves.

Predicting what may be sold and when too often results in retailers getting stuck with the high costs of inventory and storage.

Other times, retailers fail to recognize trends and fads, and therefore miss out on sales because stock has been depleted.

Analysis of retailers' POS data can offer insight regarding customer preferences, and tech savvy retailers crunch those numbers to make an inventory "best guess."

The challenge lies in determining how to effectively manage inventory levels without sacrificing customer availability.

 

Online channels and stores working together

 

 

One increasingly popular method is to use brick and mortar stores as the fulfillment centers for the e-commerce channel.

The shopping mecca for do-it-yourselfers, Home Depot, has embarked on a new strategy that aims to avoid the overstock/understock conundrum.

As part of "Project Sync," Home Depot has created a steadier flow of more supplier deliveries with fewer trucks into its network of 18 sorting centers.

So, a center might request three trucks deliver five times weekly, rather than twice weekly deliveries from seven suppliers.

Spreading out deliveries might increase logistics costs, but that's still more cost-efficient than taking up shelf space for long periods of time.

In addition, real-time inventory systems like Retail Pro Prism help with incremental product adjustments during the week.

Home Depot competitor Lowes also acknowledged the need to improve conversion and gross margin while better managing inventory via technology, in a recent earnings call.

"We'll better empower associates by deploying more user-friendly interfaces," said Richard D. Maltsbarger, chief operating officer. "Later in the year, we'll significantly improve our associate connectivity, expanding the functionality of our in-store handheld devices to improve the efficiency of our order staging and management, daily tasking, and inventory processes.

This year, Lowes plans to spend 55% more on capital expenditures than the $1.1 billion it spent in 2017.

A new direct fulfillment center is in the offing, to accommodate the expansion of the home improvement giant's online product offering and to provide faster order processing.

It will also improve Lowes' buy online, pickup in store (BOPIS) experience.

 

Tech is key to better inventory management

 

Implementing IT solutions that identify customer trends and buying behaviors helps retailers identify which products will resonate, and which will not.

Today's largest retailers are using strategies that evoke just-in-time strategies used by manufacturers: Product is pulled in as-needed, and inventory levels are extremely low, perhaps only a few days of stock is on hand.

Moving goods more quickly, efficiently and accurately creates happy customers, which provides shelf space for more products that, in turn, creates more happy customers.

Metrics that Matter [Webinar]

 

 

Looking to improve inventory productivity and control?

Watch this webinar from Retail Pro International and Management One, the retail consulting brains behind Retail Pro Planning Open to Buy software, to see principles and tactics that will help you manage inventory better and compete profitably.

Part 2: Metrics That Matter

  • Discover science-based forecasting techniques to maximize retail productivity and financial performance
  • Compare your performance against benchmark data from top performing stores around the country
  • See how metrics like GMROI, inventory turnover, initial markup pricing and gross profit can help you achieve better results in your store

 

4 Ways to use POS data better with Retail Pro

 

 

More retailers today are recognizing value in the raw data they collect from every transaction and seeing the need to use it more strategically to create a unique customer experience that will boost their bottom line and keep customers coming back for more.

The challenge then becomes knowing which data to single out from the torrent of data you have available: which data should a retail company track which would give direction for marketing efforts and lead to more conversions and repeat sales? And how do you put that data to good use?

Here are 4 ways you can take advantage of data gathered in Retail Pro POS to personalize your customers’ experience and boost your bottom line.

 

1: Collect better data with user-defined fields

 

Relevant data is where data-driven profit begins, and user-defined fields in Retail Pro POS give you flexibility to add the fields for which you want to gather data.

You can start by collecting the basics, like customer names and emails, and put that to good use immediately to personalize your communications.

Or, get more detailed with information like skin tone when you’ve just helped them pick out the perfect face makeup, so your marketing team can make more tailored offers on items like lipstick or blush.

Plus, you can grow your bottom line more efficiently by reaching out to past and repeat customers. This is where collecting emails at the POS really makes a difference.

Retail Pro Prism’s scriptable XML/CSS user interface lets you collect the data you’re interested in to better understand your customers and reach them more effectively.

Because you can entirely reconstruct the POS workflow to reflect your operations, you can create a popup prompting the sales associate to ask the customer for this information, helping you increase the amount of data points you’ll have to analyze.

 

2: Upsell with customer management features

 

Upselling is easier than selling to a customer for the first time and can help a store’s revenue grow faster. It should make customers feel as though they are winning – not as if they are simply shelling out more money. And when they’re winning, you’re winning too.

A quick glance at a shopper’s purchase history (or all those customer details you’ve started collecting!) in Retail Pro can equip your sales associates with the information they need to determine what products your customer would find most interesting and relevant, and make the offer for an upsell when they’re in the store.

Make it clear why you deserve these customers’ business, and why you offer a better value proposition than competitors. Most importantly, let them know how they’ll profit too.

 

3: Report on and analyze all your data for deeper insight on what your customers want

Getting holistic, real-time data in the hands of key decision makers allows them to take immediate action and improve performance in your stores. And when you give customers what they want, they come back for more.

To help you maximize the value of your data, intuitive dashboards and clear graphic visuals in Retail Pro Reporting allow you to summarize performance, analyze results, and explore trends.

Plus, when you integrate all your data sources in Retail Pro Decisions – like data from your database, ERP, CRM, external statistics, Google Analytics, social media, and any other data to which you have access – you can better understand what happened, why, and what’s coming next.

 

4: Integrate POS data with your CRM and personalized marketing platform to build loyalty and boost sales

Analyzing transaction data as a whole, like what customers purchase from you, when and how often, can be more useful for your longer-term marketing efforts, to better segment your shoppers and create personalized email offers based on their purchase history.

Personalized marketing solutions like AppCard for Retail Pro use transactional data from Retail Pro to trigger behavioral-based campaigns and keep shoppers engaged with your store.

It can help identify brand advocates and nurture prospects with AI-driven, highly personalized offers that helps convert prospects to customers and turn customers into delighted customers.

Watch our recent webinar: How to Use Loyalty Data NOW to Boost Holiday Sales

By combining those data points, retailers can infer a level of interest and reach out accordingly. Remember, actions can speak louder than words.

 

Proactive retailers are constantly striving to increase visibility into exactly who their customers are, how they’re interacting with your stores, and what they want. And, with Retail Pro, you can collect and act on the data you need to drive more sales.

Want to see how you can put POS data to good use? Request your demo today >

3 Ways to Improve Your In-Store Experience with Retail Pro

 

 

How a customer experiences your brand when they visit your stores is a strong indicator as to whether they will become a repeat customer or leave you for competitors with better service.

Elements of customer experience range from baseline solid replenishment so customers get the products they want, all the way to the heights of experiential retail where they get to test your products in the store – and you can use Retail Pro capabilities to improve each phase.

Here are 3 ways to improve your store experiences with Retail Pro.

 

1. Give them the goods

 

First and foremost, shoppers come to you for products.

If you don’t have what they way, shoppers may go for brand alternatives in your store.

Or, they might choose an alternative retailer to meet the need you couldn’t.

We know your team is doing its best to keep shelves and racks stocked with the latest and the best, and Retail Pro can be a strong help in this area.

To help you minimize lost sales due to out of stocks, use replenishment capabilities in Retail Pro.

For every item in your inventory, you can set minimum and maximum quantities.

These quantities specify the minimum and maximum amounts you want to have on hand at any given time.

The Best Replenishment utility allows you to automatically create purchase orders or transfer orders to ensure you have enough stock in each store when your quantities are above or below these numbers.

You can define formulas for different stores, departments, vendors, or styles.

Formulas use sales history records to ensure you have enough stock on hand for the period of time defined by the formula.

The wizard tool in Retail Pro helps you set up formulas quickly and easily.

You can read more about this on the My Retail Pro user portal blog: Automate Inventory Replenishment with Retail Pro® Auto Utilities

 

2. Show customers they’re worth your time

 
When you have enough personnel on the sales floor and at the cash wrap, shoppers intuitively get the message that they are worth your time and staff investment.

You can train your sales staff to keep an eye on queue length and whip out Retail Pro POS on a tablet to open up additional check stands so you make sure your customers get a good last impression.

Another way you can show shoppers they’re worth your time is by training your team to actually take time with customers before they get to the POS.

If the Min/Max features failed you or you just sold the last pair of high rise skinny jeans in your customer’s size, your sales associate can use Retail Pro to see if your other locations have those jeans in stock and place an order from the mobile POS.

That way, you can do a stock transfer from another location and the customer can pick up those jeans at your store in a few days.

Or you can place the order from your online store and have it delivered to the customer at her home.
 

Lyn Evans

 

Retailer Lyn Evans created that kind of no-disappointment experience for their customers.

Every store is equipped with iPads that show their company website at all times to allow for cross-selling from other stores.

If a customer wants a certain style or color that is not available at their location, a store associate will save the sale by helping the customer place the order from the store’s iPad before they go.

A good customer experience starts with giving your customers what they need without friction or disappointment.

The next step up is to get to know individual customers so you can pinpoint what else they might need and want.

So, while your sales associate is looking up stock availability from Retail Pro on an iPad or iPod Touch (or any other mobile device), they can also look up the customer’s transaction history and make recommendations for cool sweaters or tees to complete their look.

It’s extra little steps like these that show your customers they’re worth your time, and they leave happy.

 

3. Get Creative

 

When you’ve got the basics of good inventory management and great customer service in place, you can devote mental energy to creating an immersive, interactive experience in your stores.

And Retail Pro is honored and humbled and grateful to be a part of what awesome retailers like you are doing in your stores.

 

Oakley

 

VP of Oakley Retail, Erik Searles, shared with Chain Store Age how Oakley is using technology to draw customers into the brand’s innovation.

Oakley uses digital technology and mobile devices to give customers a more active hand in creating a product personalized to their needs in its new in-store custom and prescription eyewear centers, which are launching in all Oakley stores.

The eyewear is built on the iPad and then right in front of the customer, ready to take home.

Oakley is also utilizing mobile POS to help customers via quick transactions on the spot, rather than having them finish an interaction with an Oakley expert and then go elsewhere to pay.

 

United Colors of Benetton

 

Global head of retail design at Benetton, Michele Trevisan, shared with Retail Focus how they’re infusing beauty and color into their retail experience – and how it’s facilitated by the use of modern technology.

“When we started the project, the brief was not just to do another flagship store; the idea was to create a brand amplifier, a place where the customers can become users of the brand’s philosophy, not just simple consumers. Therefore, we decided to use three drivers for the project: attract, explore and inspire.”

Inside the store, two digital applications were created with the intention to simplify the customer’s activity, reducing the waste of time.

The first one is the mobile payment system that, thanks to the use of WiFi tablets and mobile POS, allows an exclusive payment via mobile and card only, potentially everywhere in the store, reducing the time spent in a queue.

The second is represented by three digital interactive tables showcasing content on selected products, on Benetton brand initiatives and, thanks to the use of an integrated RFID antenna, they release technical information about the products that are placed on the table top.

 

Do something amazing

 
These are just three ways you can improve your customer experience with Retail Pro.

But retailers like you are creative, visionary people with many idea of how to improve your in-store experience.

Retail Pro is ready to go there with you.

Doing something amazing with your Retail Pro? Tell us about it!

Write in to newsletter@retailpro.com to share how you’ve been improving your customer experience.

Haven't experienced Retail Pro for yourself yet? Request a demo today.

 

 

 

Images: Oakley, United Colors of Benetton

 

 

Why Business Analytics is still a top priority in retail

 

Business Intelligence is high on the agendas of modern executives.

At the 2014 Gartner Business Intelligence & Analytics Summit, Gartner Analyst Michael Smith reported that a survey of CEOs and Senior Business Executives in North America showed that their two top technology investment focus areas were:

  • Business Analytics (71%)
  • Enhanced Business Reporting (56%)

There can be a number of different factors driving executives to make investments in Business Intelligence, but one main reason stands out.

According to Smith, executives still report a huge gap between the information they need and the information they get.

They get the results -- the data that looks into the past without allowing them to understand what in their internal processes and external environment they need to focus on to improve for the future.

The data they get describes what happened.

But it doesn’t predict what will happen.

And it doesn’t prescribe which actions to take.

In most cases, data is already being registered and logged through decentralized transactional systems such as the ERP solution or the CRM, marketing, or warehousing solutions.

Information is managed by each functional area, but it may be siloed and not accessible for executives to understand right away.

And it may not allow for analysis across the diverse transactional solutions within the company.

This requires a dedicated setup that is built for analytics.

But how do you differentiate which data is most valuable for you to use?

 

 

Get Whitepaper

 

This blog is an excerpt from the Retail Pro Decisions whitepaper, From KPIs to Profit: Understanding Your Leading Indicators for Better Retail Results. Get this whitepaper today to read more.

 

Get whitepaper

 

Psychology of Price: The Markup and Markdown Game

 

 

Looking to improve inventory productivity and control?

Retail Pro International and ManagementOne, the consulting brains behind Retail Pro Planning Open to Buy software, have joined forces to bring retailers a 3-part Retailer Success webinar series on principles and tactics that will help you manage inventory better and compete profitably.

August 8 | The Psychology of Price: The Markup and Markdown Game

October 10 | Metrics that Matter

December 12 | 6 Essential Elements of a Winning Independent Retail Strategy

Save your spot for the next sessions by registering here.

In this first session, ManagementOne's Director of Marketing and Sales, Paul Erickson, shares pricing psychology and strategies that retailers should consider to determine price, rather than simply applying a markup formula based only on item cost.

With the issue of pricing consistency across physical and digital channels hotly debated among retail strategists and consumers alike, determining smart pricing strategies is a top priority for many retailers.

For all our Retail Pro users out there, here's a quick refresher on efficiently managing price changes in Retail Pro.

Watch the webinar and follow along with the slides below!

  • See why the lowest price is not always the right price
  • Explore the psychology of price from the retailer and consumer's point of view
  • Learn tactics to remain competitive and maximize long-term profits

 

How to Improve Inventory Productivity and Compete Profitably | Webinar

Looking to improve inventory productivity and control?

Join Retail Pro International and Management One for this 3-part Retailer Success webinar series on August 8th, October 10th, and December 12th to see principles and tactics that will help you manage inventory better and compete profitably.

Sign up now for this webinar series to hear from the consulting brains behind Retail Pro Planning Open to Buy software!

 

August 8 | The Psychology of Price: The Markup and Markdown Game

  • See why the lowest price is not always the right price
  • Explore the psychology of price from the retailer and consumer's point of view
  • Learn tactics to remain competitive and maximize long-term profits

 

October 10 | Metrics that Matter

  • Discover science-based forecasting techniques to maximize retail productivity and financial performance
  • Compare your performance against benchmark data from top performing stores around the country
  • See how metrics like GMROI, inventory turnover, initial markup pricing and gross profit can help you achieve better results in your store

 

December 12 | 6 Essential Elements of a Winning Independent Retail Strategy

  • See how high-achieving independent retailers differentiate themselves to compete successfully in the changing world of Amazon retail
  • Learn the major factors you can implement immediately to differentiate your business in this 6-point plan from Management One

Save your spot today for all 3 webinars and get the retail consultant insights that will help you run your business more profitably.

 

Sign up for webinar series >