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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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Mobile Apps: Building Unified Loyalty In-Store and Online

 

 

Loyal customers are repeat customers.

They are particularly valued because the cost of customer acquisition is high.

However, loyalty is not just about repeat business – otherwise, all repeat customers would be considered loyal, and they aren’t.

 

Repeat customers vs loyal customers

 

The difference is that loyal customers make a conscious choice to do business with a company even when a less expensive, more convenient or higher quality alternative is available somewhere else.

So why are customers loyal to a retailer when sometimes it seems illogical?

Because of that store’s superior customer service.

Creating an easy, frictionless shopping experience makes customers happy -- and that satisfaction can be parlayed into loyalty.

 

Converting online browsers into in-store customers

 

Only a few years back, brick and mortar stores were dying on the vine.

Customers were going online, finding the lowest price for items, checking them out in stores but buying them via e-commerce.

Soon, though, traditional retailers realized that those shoppers who were browsing but not buying could be turned into customers -- after all, they were in the store already.

Shoppers were saying they enjoyed the efficiency of e-commerce, but they also wanted to touch and feel certain items.

And other items benefited from having knowledgeable salespersons educate shoppers on features, uses, etc.

 

Building loyalty through mobile apps

 

Retailers are answering customers’ demands for more efficiency by adding mobile apps to their sales processes.

App Annie, an app market data and insights company, tracks usage and consumption for the average smartphone owner:

  • Average daily use: 2 hours and 15 minutes
  • Average number of apps installed: 60 to 90
  • Average number of apps used monthly: 30
  • Average number of apps launched daily: 9

With so many mobile phones in use, retailers are finding that the mobile app customers could be a key to increasing brand awareness, driving sales and increasing mindshare.

A survey of more than 500 mobile shoppers by research company Clutch, found that not only are consumers using e-commerce apps, but they’re also looking for features that go beyond browsing and buying: “Consumers want an easy, frictionless, and entertaining experience when using apps.”

Clutch noted that shoppers use e-commerce apps primarily for four reasons:

  1. To receive deals and offers (68%)
  2. For the flexibility to buy at any time (64%)
  3. To compare products and prices (62%)
  4. To save time at the store (54%)

 

The problem with mobile shopping apps

 

Too few retailers create apps with the consumer in mind.

What shoppers want to do with a retail app is what should drive app creation.

Retailers should develop a focused strategy when developing an app that targets the way shoppers use apps.

Many shoppers want apps that personalize the in-store experience, such as deal alerts, which are enabled when the customer is inside the physical store.

Also, Clutch reported that if an app syncs a business’ loyalty rewards, more than 80% of consumers would use the feature.

Mobile shopping apps are the future of unified retail.

Retailers should continue to increase their capabilities according to shoppers’ requests and usage patterns, and look to include discounts, rewards, personalization, and even augmented reality in the near future.

 






Has Walmart cracked the omnichannel challenge?

 

 

Offering customers the ability to seamlessly move from online shopping to brick and mortar and back to online is the crux of the omnichannel experience.

Shoppers can buy products 24/7, go to a physical store for an in-person inspection, and then make the purchase using either channel based on convenience.

Increasing numbers of retailers are incorporating omnichannel aspects into their business plans, including buy online, pickup in store (BOPIS), endless aisles and curbside pickup.

Creating efficient and profitable omnichannel strategies is a challenge for any business, yet their importance is well understood.

A recent study by Multichannel Merchant and Brightpearl found that 87% of retailers agree omnichannel is a critical business function, yet only 8% believe they are proficient at implementation.

That indicates a long road ahead: Retailers are clearly overcome with the technical challenges and customer expectations that are large parts of implementing an omnichannel presence.

 

What Walmart is doing

 

Recently, retail powerhouse Walmart has taken up the omnichannel challenge.

Walmart introduced its shoppers to a new e-commerce feature: 3D virtual shopping. Viewers can "walk through" an apartment outfitted with home goods sold by Walmart.

Certain items are designated as being available through the retailer, and by selecting an icon, the shopper can view a brief description and is offered an option to place it into a shopping cart.

The experience offers shoppers the benefit of seeing how items look in context: How an object will look in a home, rather than on a shelf in a store with dozens of similar items next to it.

Furniture stores have been using similar staging techniques forever. But Walmart, like other big-box retailers, has no space to devote to setting up faux living rooms, kitchens, bedrooms and bathrooms.

So using e-commerce site — where space is plentiful — is the perfect solution.

The apartment showcases roughly 70 different items, and it is easy to see how the virtual environment can be used an infinite number of ways.

Walmart plans to add "Buy the Room," which lets customers add groups of coordinated products to their shopping carts at one time.

Aimed initially at shoppers for dorm-room items, five curated collections will be offered.

Such unique online experiences can help create a seamless omnichannel experience for shoppers.

For example, a mom and daughter go shopping for the daughter's first apartment. They arrive at Walmart, but are overwhelmed by the selection and can't visualize how items will look in an apartment.

Pulling up walmart.com on a mobile phone offers a 3D apartment tour, helping put the items in a more familiar environment.

Some of the items can be purchased while they are in the store — and others may be only available online.

Both sales channels are used to provide the customers exactly the items they desire.

 

Customers want a better, integrated shopping experience

 

A recent Accenture study found that 32% of consumers said that the integrating the mobile, website and in-store shopping experience is the biggest improvement retailers need to make.

The old “customer-centric,” multichannel approach is being replaced by a more assertive, customer-driven approach.

It is not enough for companies to simply know each customer, but they must also respond dynamically to customers who are constantly re-evaluating what they want to buy and where they want to buy it.

 

 

 

Photo by Nicole Honeywill on Unsplash






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.

 

 

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

 






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.






Retailers going omnichannel pass on tech benefits to customers

 

 
In-store customers account for 50% of all eCommerce activity, research by Salesforce found, so closing the online-offline gap is critical for customer experience.

In response, retailers pursuing omnichannel with Retail Pro are turning their technology gains into customer-facing conveniences for unified commerce that puts shoppers first.

Here are three ways you can pass on the benefits of full data visibility in Retail Pro to your customers.

 

1: Show store inventory availability online

 
79% of shoppers research products online before buying in stores. Analysts are calling the trend ROPO – Research Online, Purchase Offline.

With so many shoppers choosing this blended approach to shopping, you can use your inventory data in Retail Pro to give customers online visibility into a product’s availability at their local store and secure the sale.

 

2: Make personalized recommendations

 
Though personalized recommendations generate only 7% of online visits, they result in 26% of online conversions – well worth the effort.

You can analyze customer history data in Retail Pro to personalize your marketing with recommendations based on items they recently or frequently purchased.

Effective recommendations are those that complement what the shopper already purchased from you, rather than simply other iterations of items the shopper has already browsed or bought.

 

3: Blend channels into one holistic shopping experience

 
For on the go consumers, the real shopping is done on your website.

They see your store as a fulfillment center where they will try on or pick up what’s needed on their way to do other things.

Integrated ecommerce and store POS can help you create a streamlined experience for these busy shoppers: shoppers can plan ahead and fill up their online shopping cart, and then access it at your store POS to complete the purchase and get the goods.

 

Omnichannel at Kanmo Group

 

Kanmo Group took this kind of holistic approach to managing data with Retail Pro Prism.

"To truly benefit from our omnichannel strategy, Kanmo Group has to look beyond simply engaging customers through offline and online means. When you look at the customer behavior in Southeast Asia, you will see that shoppers love to fill up their basket online – but they still prefer to complete the purchase in physical stores," commented Bhavin Patel, Omnichannel Director of Kanmo Group. "We want to give our customers flexibility to collect and check out the ‘basket' they created by communicating with a salesperson or through the real-time Retail Pro Prism POS system."

 

Customers can fill up their shopping cart online. If they are in the area, they might choose to visit a nearby Justice store and complete their purchase there.

 

Going Omnichannel with Retail Pro Prism

 
Retailers pursuing omnichannel are taking on the monumental task of integrating all their data sources into a 360 degree view of their business.

With full integrability in the Retail Pro platform, omnichannel is becoming attainable reality rather than simply rhetoric.

Accurate, real-time communications in Retail Pro help you keep your inventory and customer information up to date across the entire business, so you can make better decisions from holistic, integrated business insights.

Whether you’re leveraging Retail Pro for your brand stores, ecommerce, kiosks, outlets, franchises, store-in-store, or pop-ups, Retail Pro is one solution for all your retail and helps you unify commerce in a way that puts shoppers first.

 

To see what it will take to unify commerce with Retail Pro Prism in your business, contact your Retail Pro Business Partner or request a demo today.






Invest in growth with scalable, tailorable software

 

 

As your business continues to expand, it is critical to adopt a retail solution that is scalable, integrated, available, mobile, and secure.

The Retail Pro® POS and store management platform and SAP Business One® ERP software are designed with change and growth in mind.

The integrated solution allows you to tailor and customize your software to support your changing needs.

You can lock down critical preferences and security settings across stores, while still allowing individual locations to modify their key details with easy-to-use personalization tools.

An integrated solution like Retail Pro and SAP Business One will give you innovative ways to reach new customers, maximize efficiency, and drive profitable growth – and will keep growing with you as you grow.

Want to see how Retail Pro and SAP Business One can help you grow?

Learn more >

 






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 >






What does it take to unify commerce?

 

The first step toward unified commerce is to integrate the data from every store, channel, and device so you get one complete view of what’s happening in your enterprise.

With the integrated Retail Pro® and SAP Business One® solution, you can do exactly that.

The Retail Pro POS and store management platform has an open API so it plays nicely with all the other retail technologies you use as part of your strategy, like eCommerce, vendor dropship, loyalty, Business Intelligence.

When used in tandem with enterprise resource planning software like SAP Business One, this powerful solution enables you to streamline in-store and head office operations and technologies by seamlessly integrating key business processes into a single, unified system.

With data shared seamlessly across your retail tools, you get more complete omnichannel visibility, which means you can make smarter, more informed decisions to optimize your inventory, employees, and customer engagement efforts.

Visit our website today to learn more about how you can unify commerce with Retail Pro and SAP Business One.

Learn more >

 






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Countries

9000

Customers

54000

Stores

159000

Points of Sale

130

Countries

9000

Customers

54000

Stores

159000

Points of Sale

130

Countries

9000

Customers

54000

Stores

159000

Points of Sale