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8 tips to build a successful restaurant experience in times of crisis and beyond

Digital transformation is no longer a choice. That’s the key message from the experts who spoke at “How to build a successful restaurant experience in Covid times,” an online event organized by LS Retail and Microsoft. The panel included industry experts from Microsoft and LS Retail as well as Leon DeWet, a CIO with decades of experiences in the F&B industry. The group discussed how restaurants can build competences and resilience to maintain customer loyalty and thrive, now and through the next crisis. This blog is mainly for Restaurant management software & tips for Successful restaurant  experience

Restaurant Management Software

Here are 8 tips from the experts to help you approach this digital transformation, so that you can ride the next wave of change instead of being crushed by it.

1. Rethink every step of the journey

Yesterday, you had to deliver convenience and hospitality; today, you must also guarantee customer and employee safety.

Many restaurants have added quick fixes, such as covering payment devices in plastic, so they can easily be sanitized. “How often does the reader on the contactless device not work, now that it’s covered in plastic?,” Minicola asked attendees, adding “And how often do restaurants ask me to touch the screen anyway to provide a tip?”

The boom of contactless payments, home delivery, drive-thru and curbside is not temporary. Restaurants must step back, rethink the whole journey, and implement solutions that are effective and designed to last long-term.

Two examples that were mentioned of additions that will bring a benefit now and tomorrow:

  • Menus that can be accessed via a QR code are useful now – paper menus are hard to sanitize – and will provide a value later on, as they enable restaurants to make quick menu changes without wasting time or printing costs.
  • Software to manage tables and seating plans can help you easily redesign your floor plan, with safely distanced tables and clear tracking of who is seating where and when for contact tracing purposes. In the future, table management software can help you optimize seating space, track the status of each table (who is waiting to order, who has been served) and easily accommodate last-minute guests, all the while keeping your service flawless.

2. Focus on mobility

Mobility should be a priority in any digitization project. Running your Point of Sale on mobile devices helps you manage the flow of guests and staff inside the restaurant premises. Your server can take an order from a group sitting on the terrace, and then go to another table, take their card payment and see them out. Service is faster and more convenient for your guests, who can stay seated throughout. At the same time, you reduce the risk of contagion by reducing needless walking around and queuing at the till, and by letting servers using a personal device instead of sharing a standard till.

And if your POS offers a two-way connection to the display systems in the kitchen, you get a whole set of extra benefits. “With our restaurant software, when you punch in an order at the POS, the order is sent automatically to a digital display at the correct kitchen station. Your front-of-house staff is spared all the needless back and forth from the table to the kitchen and to the register. The result is less risk of contact, and less time wasted,” said Eric Miller, Regional Director at LS Retail. But this is just scratching the surface. Mobile POS, especially when part of an interconnected technology platform, also enables more precise communication between front of house and kitchen, reduces the risk of production mistakes, and helps speed up table turns. Michael Mento, Surface specialist at Microsoft, described how eagerly restaurants have adopted the Surface tablet devices, which also come with accessories specifically designed for use on the restaurant floor.

BLOG IN_ Restaurant in times of crisis 2-

3. Build your experiences on a strong technology platform

Customers demand consistent experiences, and these can only be achieved through a unified approach to technology.

Unified software solutions are increasingly replacing traditional fragmented IT setups. The benefits are well known:

  • Managers geta 360-degree view of the organisation, with all business and customer data accessible in one place.
  • Decision making is faster, as managers can get actionable reports, accounts and statistics exactly when they need them.
  • Implementation and management costs are lower, as you don’t need to integrate separate systems and to maintain these integrations.
  • You can transmit information quickly across the company, from the dishes on today’s menu to recipes, prices and nutritional content. So everyone can always perform at the top of their abilities.

And if you run your unified software in the cloud, you can grab opportunities as they arise. As the pandemic hit, companies that run their software in the cloud, and who were not burdened by traditional on-prem infrastructure, investments and timelines, have been able to add innovative technology and transform their business models faster. “For many restaurants, the ability to add systems for pickup, delivery, and curbside made the difference between success and closing up doors,” Miller pointed out.

Leon DeWet, former CIO at F&B enterprises Cracker Barrel and O’Charley’s, reminded business to consider how well the selected software and hardware work together. “If one works, but the other one doesn’t deliver, the project fails,” he noted. “Look for a solution that is proven for software and hardware working together.” Mento, from the Microsoft Surface team, echoed DeWet’s words.

4. Track changes in customer behavior

With people working from home and stuck in lockdowns, restaurants have seen tremendous changes. They have lost old customers, gained new ones, and seen regulars approach them at different times, with new needs. These are changes businesses must pay attention to. “You need to capture this data, or you have no way to build your strategy on driving loyalty now and into the future,” said Minicola. “You cannot establish and foster loyalty without data,” she added.

Access to data that is both reliable and timely is necessary for action. You need to clearly see what is happening to react, and prevent issues and waste. “During the pandemic, many restaurants have had problems sourcing specific ingredients,” said Miller. “With our software, you can do predictive cost analysis, and experiment varying prices, menus and recipes. The system helps you find the sweet spot with optimum benefits. You can then use this knowledge to build resilience into your supply chain in preparation for similar events down the road.” Having clear visibility of your available stock across your locations also enables you to optimize stock usage, for example moving the content of your freezers from a location in a mall that is seeing no foot traffic to one that is still doing good business.

Restaurant Management Software

5. Change your metrics

The world has changed, and how you define success needs to change, too. DeWet believes that too many restaurants are stuck to old KPIs, and took table turns as an example. “How fast you can turn a table is only important if you have guests to fill that table. Don’t be blinded by what has historically been deemed key metrics within the organization. Understand what’s happening in your business now before you decide which metrics to focus on,” he advised.

Change your metrics, and be ready to tweak them again and again. “You can’t use current behavior as an indicator of how customers will deal with you in the future,” Minicola pointed out.

6. Use intelligent tools to predict the future

DeWet, who describes himself as a true fan of intelligent analytics, believes that too many restaurant businesses don’t use their analytical capabilities to their full potential.

“Most organizations are still too focused on just using analytics reactively. They look at the historical data to try and understand what has happened. But it’s with predictive analytics that you get the true value of your intelligence,” said DeWet. Predictive analytics look at disparate large data and find those correlations that can help you foresee changes in trends, so you can understand where the business may be going. For example, if you see that average miles driven begins to drop, you can use AI-powered tools to investigate what typically happens when that situation occurs. This helps you predict when you can expect it, and prepare for it.

DeWet also described the benefits of using a business intelligence platform that can pull in big data. “Marrying your internal data with external data about your environment you can get a much clearer picture of how guest behavior might change. In some areas of your business, a small change in your behavior or in your processes can drive huge benefits,” he said.

7. Don’t forget the human factor

Even though social distancing has changed the entire experience of dining in, guests still want to get a social, warm, personalized experience from their restaurant visit. Employee empowerment – allowing your staff to create the atmosphere of hospitality that drives people back – remains essential to breed loyalty.

“We all strive for loyalty – but it all starts with personal connections,” said Minicola. “If you want to connect with me, you have to talk to me. And that’s how you collect my data, get to know me better, and can then send me offers that drive me back through your doors.”

Carefully select your staff members, and take care of them. “When your staff are well cared for, your customers will be well cared for, too,” said Minicola.

Restaurant Management Software

8. Think long term

An effective digital transformation is built on long-term thinking. “Who would have though, just a year ago, that curbside delivery would be a thing for restaurants like it is for Walmart?” Minicola asked. DeWet advised restaurant CIOs that “We need to change our mindset, and realize that an investment in technology is no different from an investment in the latest air conditioning, or fry system. In both cases, you are investing in a key infrastructure that will enable to do business on an ongoing basis. You can’t wait until the demand is there before you make that investment. You need to be ready ahead of time,” he concluded.

There will be no “going back to normal” after Covid-19. Consumer demand will keep on shifting in different directions, and restaurants must be ready to constantly transform. “There’s a value in being prepared for the future. Even if a technology may not drive clear returns today, if it puts you in a position to be able to respond to changes, then it’s worth it,” DeWet said.

Digital transformation is become an imperative, but restaurants don’t have to do it all on their own. “No one expects you to understand it all. That’s why you have partners,” Minicola said. If you need help in getting your digital transformation going, contact us.

Retail ERP Software, Retail POS Solution

Why it makes sense to move your retail management software to the cloud

As a successful retailer, chances are you are already running some of your IT functions in the cloud. That’s smart.

The next logical step is to move your entire retail management system to the cloud, and go from the on-premises version to its software as a service (SaaS) one. But even if you know that the cloud is experiencing exponential growth, and that you will, one day, take the leap, you may be hesitant to do it now. Perhaps you are afraid you’re not ready for the change. Perhaps you have security concerns. Maybe you can’t clearly identify which practical, day-to-day benefits you’d get from moving to the cloud.

Whichever your reasons, you want the best for your business, and you care about staying competitive. You want to make the right decision, and employ technology that will propel you forward today and tomorrow.

While you are debating whether the cloud is for you, here are 8 good reasons why you should consider migrating your system.

1. Stay up to date, automatically

With traditional on-premises software, businesses are responsible of keeping their hardware and software up to date. In order to stay current (and safe), they’d need to purchase new hardware every few years, and to update their software every few months. But in reality, retailers usually have more pressing concerns than keeping track of the latest software patch or upgrade. And if the company is using multiple software solutions and there are integrations in place, a system upgrade can become a costly and lengthy project. As a result, many companies end up with outdated IT environments that work, but don’t really support the business, and may even hinder it. In the worst cases, this old tech might reduce the company’s ability to grow and take on new projects, or stay on top of consumer demands.

When you are using SaaS in the cloud, all these concerns belong to the past. You don’t need to worry about periodic maintenance, or to budget for expensive and complicated software upgrades. Instead, your supplier takes care of updating your software regularly. And if you have configured your add-ons correctly, you can maintain all your extensions, and even your configurations. SaaS software guarantees that you are always, automatically, on the latest version, and can use all the new functionality that comes with it.

2. Enhance productivity with intelligence

One of the biggest advantages of the cloud is the advanced computational power it offers. Tasks that until yesterday were too complex for even the most powerful computer, for example predicting future sales patterns, are now within reach of any retailer. Businesses can run their data into Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) powered tools available in the cloud, and without having to pay for extra servers or data scientists, they can get the answers they need, with minimal effort, very rapidly, and at a fraction of the cost than comparable on-prem technology. There is a wide variety of AI tools available in the cloud, giving businesses infinite possibilities to improve their effectiveness and productivity. AI can also help make smarter decisions, and deliver more personalized, to the point customer service.

Would you like to send personalized promotions and special deals to your customers based on their shopping history and specific tastes? Are you thinking about adding a chatbot or virtual agent as a first-line customer support? Or perhaps you’d like to offer intelligent search on your e-commerce site? When you run your software in the cloud, all these initiatives are accessible to you, and can be started within a very short timeframe.

But AI can do much more than help deliver bespoke customer experiences. You can use optimize your inventory with advanced forecasting that can factor seasonality, promotions, trends, and product substitutes and complements into your forecasts. You can refine your hiring practices with intelligent talent acquisition solutions. You can simplify searches across your catalog for both staff and customers using AI-powered accurate product tagging applied to images. When you infuse your business with intelligence, you also make it more proactive, agile, and profitable.

3. Guarantee business continuity with a reliable infrastructure

With traditional in-house IT setups, businesses are at constant risk of downtimes and failures. On-site servers can’t usually guarantee a consistent performance, and if a key piece of your hardware breaks down, you may be left unable to serve customers or close sales – and could even risk losing your business data. As regards reliability, a traditional infrastructure usually necessitates a disaster recovery plan, requiring you to build redundancy, carefully monitor conditions, having dual firewalls and more – in short, you need to budget for time-consuming, expensive, complex monitoring.

Switch to SaaS software, and you can step away from all of these problems. Even if you experience a hardware failure – say your computers or servers break down – you won’t lose your data, as it is safely stored in the cloud and can be accessed when and as you need to. The cloud also guarantees higher reliability. Large cloud services like Microsoft Azure, with expansive resources and entire dedicated teams, have already built in redundancy, from failover hardware to datacenters located across the world. As a result, Azure, the service where the cloud-based version of LS Central resides, can guarantee 99,995% uptime, and top security features.

4. Respond quickly to changing market conditions

You know how important speed of action is in the retail industry. Yet, traditional IT environments are all but agile: even a project as simple as adding new servers or applications can be very time consuming. First, your IT staff needs time to procure the hardware or software that will fit within the current infrastructure. Then they have to set it up and test it, and finally, they’ll have to go through implementing it.

In the past, this process was the only way to implement change. Today, this is an outdated and ineffective way of operating – especially when the businesses you are competing against are agile and unburdened by traditional infrastructure, such as e-commerce players. To stay on top of change, you need to be able to analyze data in real time, devise plans rapidly, and immediately deploy mission-critical applications, or innovative tech, with minimal upfront costs and preparation time.

When you are running your systems in Azure, you can get this speed of action. Businesses running LS Central in the cloud can, for example, extend their business with extra functionality or innovative applications that won’t require a lengthy integration process, because they are already designed to work with the system. So you are quickly operative, and your IT staff has the time and space to focus on more pressing activities and objectives.

5. Get anywhere, anytime access to your business data

Retail business has become a 24/7 affair: sales happen at all hours and trends change faster than lightning. As a retail manager, you can’t afford to be left with no visibility over the business between 5pm and 9 am or when you are out of the office.

When you run your retail management system in the cloud, you can be operative when and as you want. With data stored in the cloud, where you are does not influence what you can see, or achieve. You can access your data on any pc or phone device and keep track of your sales, make changes and adjustments to prices or items, analyze data, access dashboards and share them with colleagues. So you are always on top of your data, ready to act when you need to.

6. Increase collaboration and support remote work

Demand for remote work has been growing. Workers appreciate flexible schedules and decreased commuting times, and companies reap the benefit of providing more sustainable working conditions. Although retail may not seem like the ideal setup for remote work, the expansion of online commerce and the diffusion of cloud technology are enabling retailers to increasingly meet demands for flexible work. “Retail, and omni-channel retail in particular, is built on data. And today, to analyze data, you don’t need to be on the store floor, looking at tons of printed statistics,” says Carsten Wulff, Vice President Europe at LS Retail.

The ability to access both business data and applications in real time is helping support remote jobs in very diverse positions, from decision-making roles to support to sales assistance. A marketing or sales manager could analyze buying patterns or keep track of sales trends from home, and use this data to create personalized promotions or communications. An online sales assistant could solve customer queries and provide real-time support and advice on the e-commerce site. A store manager could oversee sales and make stock requests from their personal device, without needing to waste time commuting across different store location. And all these workers could collaborate on joint projects, using the same online applications and data.

7. Stay safe and compliant, easily

With traditional in-house IT, it is the responsibility of the business to maintain tight security measures to protect data and users against external threats. Internal IT teams have been bearing the overwhelming weight of staying on top of the patches, updates and diagnostics required.

When you run your business software in the cloud, all of these concerns are transferred to your cloud service provider – who is, arguably, much better equipped than you in delivering top safety features. If you are a business running LS Central in the cloud, you can take advantage of the multi-layered, built-in security controls and threat intelligence that Azure offers. You can also leverage several industry certifications: Azure is ISO, PCI, HIPA and GDPR certified, which makes you automatically compliant with these standards, with no extra work needed on your part.

By choosing a cloud service like Azure that puts data security at its core, you save the time and effort you’d need to stay up to date with legal requirements, today and tomorrow. You can go on with your business, knowing that Microsoft will identify new threats and protect you against them, while keeping you on top of industry regulations at the same time.

8. Lower capital expenditure

When you move away from an in-house IT environment and run your software in the cloud, you can realize some significant savings, especially in terms of capital expenditure. With SaaS, you don’t need to install and run apps on-premises, which means you also don’t need new hardware and servers. Not only: you don’t need to worry about the cost of running and maintaining the system, consider the cost of integrations or upgrades, or budget for the services of system engineers and specialists. When you use SaaS, your system is managed and cared for by the specialists, and it’s all included in your subscription price.

It’s time to take the step

With LS Central now available purely in the cloud, this might be the perfect time to consider a SaaS retail solution. And if you are a retail or hospitality business already using LS Nav or LS Central on-premises, we have an enticing offer for you: we can help you fast track your on-premises solution to the cloud, at a special, highly discounted price.

Are you not yet eligible for our offer? No need to panic – we can help! Get in touch: we’ll be happy to talk you through the options, and support you in your transition to tomorrow’s retail technology.

Retail ERP Software

Why organizational change projects fail and how to prevent implementation disaster

New IT installations often fail. At least that’s the widespread belief surrounding organizational change initiatives today.

One frequently cited study from the 1993 book Reengineering the Corporation goes as far as saying that as many as 70% of the organizations that undertake a reengineering effort do not achieve the dramatic results they intended. A more recent McKinsey survey of more than 1,500 executives who had undertaken a significant change effort in the past five years found that only 38% of respondents said “the transformation was ‘completely’ or ‘mostly’ successful at improving performance.

After two decades of hearing about high failure rates related to change, it’s unsurprising that business leaders are wary of organizational change projects. Organizational psychologist Nick Tasler explained that these negative biases can create a toxic self-fulfilling prophecy.

“When a change project falls a day behind schedule, if leaders and employees believe that successful change is an unlikely outcome, they will regard this momentary setback as the dead canary in the coalmine of their change initiative. (Never mind the fact that three other initiatives are still on time or ahead of schedule),” he wrote in an article for Harvard Business Review. “Suddenly, employees disengage en masse and then the change engine begins to sputter in both perception and reality.”

Yes, change is hard, and complex IT implementation projects, particularly ERP installations, can be particularly challenging. But it doesn’t mean they are doomed to failure.

So where do you start? How can you choose the right technology for your retail business, and ensure that the implementation project runs as smoothly as possible and you get the most from your investment?

Here are some of the main causes for failure in any organizational change initiative, and how can you prevent them from happening:

Mistake #1: Failure to plan

Issue: An outdated legacy system is impacting business performance, and it needs replacing quickly. In their rush to get the project going, business management jump straight into the implementation without taking the time to develop a well thought-out organizational change management plan.

Solution: Don’t be tempted to cut corners in your planning. Analyze your business, decide what should be prioritized, and understand all the different ways the project will impact your routines at every stage of the process. “Companies should start by analyzing their current and future requirements and processes,” says Gunnar Ingimundarson, Chief Consulting Officer at LS Retail. “How many software solutions are they currently using, and what are they used for? Map out the disparate solutions in the stack, alongside their dependencies and interconnections. The next step is to figure out where they can draw the biggest – or quickest – benefits. Is your POS system not generating the information you need on stock levels and product visibility? Or, are there integrations that repeatedly cause problems or break down? Do you experience missing data? Identify the area(s) where a new system would bring immediate value in terms of savings or returns. That’s where you should start, and that should determine your priorities.”

Once the priorities are set, break the project down into manageable chunks, from pilot phase to initial implementation to company-wide rollout. Consider when it’s most appropriate to start each phase of the installation so you won’t place unnecessary strain on your business during busy times.

Mistake #2: Key stakeholders aren’t onboard, or have unrealistic expectations

Issue: Management want the new technology in place quickly and only focus on the end goals. They get frustrated by how long the project is taking and threaten to pull the plug. Or they wonder why the new software isn’t being adopted widely and successfully when they failed to communicate the changes to everybody in the business and get company-wide buy in.

Solution: All stakeholders need to be committed to the project’s success right from the beginning, and to clearly understand the project’s scope and goals. “Internal resistance can kill even the best implementation project,” says Eric Miller, Regional Director for the Americas at LS Retail, building on his 13 years of experience in software implementations. “Get the buy-in from all stakeholders from the start, and make sure that the goals, objectives and expected end results of the project are clear and communicated from you to the stakeholders, and from the stakeholders to all the customer parties involved. It never pays off to sell a dream you can’t deliver on.”

Bring together personnel from different departments to understand their requirements and what outcomes they hope to achieve from the implementation. Similarly, they need to understand how much time should be devoted to a project like this and ensure project teams are given sufficient time to carry out the work. Set realistic timeframes from the start, and ensure everyone knows exactly what’s required of them.

Mistake #3: Unforeseen changes throw the project off track

Issue: Even the best prepared projects encounter hurdles along the way, but if unforeseen issues arise and major milestones are missed, it can be tempting to throw in the towel and deem the entire project a failure.

Solution: Know that when you’re dealing with a large-scale IT implementation, it’s hard to plan for every eventuality. Be willing to adapt and take a different approach if it ultimately means the project will be a success. “What was deemed to be the best approach initially may need to change – this might even happen after the pilot is completed. I have seen companies that went through multiple pilots before finding the right balance. It’s a learning process, and it’s never over,” says Miller.

It’s worth learning everything you can from the pilot implementation. Instead of rushing on to roll out store #2, take a moment to see how the system is working and to identify any issues that you couldn’t have planned for in your testing environment. Success comes to those who take a considered approach.

Mistake #4: Picking the wrong technology partner

Issue: It may be tempting to go for the cheapest technology provider, but cheapest upfront may not necessarily deliver the long-term business value you hoped for. You quickly realize they can’t help you achieve your outcomes, because they lack drive, or even expertise.

Solution: Before you enter a work relationship, ask yourself who your long-term partner should be and what knowledge they should have in order to support you throughout the project. Are they familiar with the retail industry, its requirements and workings? Do they fully understand your business needs? Can they come up with ideas and solutions when a challenge arises? Once the pilot and system roll out are complete, will they provide the ongoing support that you’ll need?

It’s important to choose an IT partner that has deep knowledge of the industries you operate within. Their technology has to relate directly to your business needs and they need to appreciate the unique intricacies of what you need to be able to do. Consider how they tackle problems as they arise, and if they can foresee challenges and risks that you may not have considered. Your technology provider should be a long-term partner, someone you are confident working with and that you trust to take the right decision for your success. Trident is one of Best ERP Implementation partner in India, UAE & South Africa, you can contact us for any type of ERP Implementation, Support, Training, Resource, etc.

Mistake #5: A focus on short term wins rather than the bigger picture

Issue: The upfront costs of the project are high and management struggle to see the overall business value. They’re concerned about how quickly they’ll achieve a return on investment. They begin to think that it may be cheaper and easier to simply fix their legacy system and keep it ticking over for a few more years.

Solution: While it’s important to focus on the immediate benefits the new solution will bring to your business, it’s just as critical to consider the longer-term impacts too. You may be looking for your solution to quickly boost productivity, deliver business efficiencies and achieve a fast return on investment, but consider other far-reaching benefits it can bring too. How will it positively change the way your employees work? That is, how many work hours will you save by automating tasks that are currently done by hand? How will it enable your business to scale and grow? What other functionality will you be able to add, which will impact the bottom line? “When calculating the software solution’s return on investment, it pays off to keep your perspective open,” Eric Miller suggests. “You can’t really put a price on a platform that will help you streamline the business, cut needless manual processes, and that can scale with your needs and adapt to changing consumer requirements.”

Do you need expert help to make your next organizational change project a success? Get in touch: our team of  can help you get the most from your technology.

Blog Reference : LS Retail Blogs

Retail ERP Software

6 tips to help you win at omni-channel

Even if retailers have been talking about investing in omni-channel for over a decade, many still lack basic omni-channel capabilities. For example, only 5 percent of retailers can successfully give consumers the ability to start and finish a sale in their preferred channel, Luxury Daily reports. But consumers aren’t waiting for retailers to get their act together. In the past year, almost 9 out of 10 (88%) shoppers have researched and selected options online before heading out to a store, the Ecommerce Foundation reports. And when in-store, Google reports, 50% of them turned to the internet: to research products they’ll then discuss with the sales staff, to remind themselves of what to buy, to see product specs, and more.

Retailers have no time to waste. They need to be where their customers are, with answers to their questions, smooth and simple shopping journeys, and timely information and support.

In your journey on improving your omni-channel strategy, here are seven points on which you should concentrate your efforts:

1. Be consistent with your branding

There’s nothing worse for an omni-channel brand than to offer a disconnected experience across the different channels.

Successful brands are consistent in both brand image (think color scheme, corporate story, style, products, voice) and quality of service (customer support, return policies, personalization, product suggestions) in-store, on their website, on the loyalty app and on social media.

International coffee company Nespresso is a great example of cohesive visual branding. The graphic design and color palette are kept consistent throughout the channels, and they function as a common thread that guides every step of the customer journey, from e-commerce website, to mobile app, to the confirmation e-mail customers receive after placing an order — all the way to the package that arrives to the customer’s doors.

If your offline presence is hip, youthful and colorful, but your app is dull and offers few options to interact with products; if you emphasize customer service, but then don’t respond timely (or don’t reply at all!) to customer queries on Twitter; if customers receive different information depending on which representative they contact – you will confuse and lose customers.

2. Unify the sales channels

Customers want to be able to see on your website whether the latest smartphone model is available in gold in a specific store. They want to go on your e-commerce, and add to their cart that art deco lamp they saw in your shop while they were on holiday. They want to send back at their convenience the too-tight shoes they bought in one of your store locations.

These are all common requests – and yet, too many retailers can’t fulfil them. That’s because many of them are still using separate best-of-breed, badly-integrated solutions. “Many retailers have pieced together disparate systems and processes to try and create a holistic shopping environment, but it really doesn’t provide what the customer is looking for,” says Kathleen Fischer, director of marketing at Boston Retail Partners, Boston. The result is

  • Inability to see what products are available in real time – or where they are located;
  • Inability to accept returns across channels;
  • Risk of selling items that are not in stock;
  • Inability to offer highly in-demand services like click & collect, ordering from store, or online inventory search.

The only way you can fulfil these demands is by implementing technology that gives you centralized visibility and control over your stock, locations and sales. A unified commerce platform like LS Central gives you the visibility you need to know how many items are still available and where they are located exactly, and lets you easily accept exchanges and returns across your whole retail network.

3. Be honest and clear

Research shows that seventy percent of online shoppers abandon their shopping cart before finalizing their purchase. The most common cause? Unclear or excessive shipping costs, which often become apparent too late in the buying process.

Successful retailers display their sales conditions in clear and visible format on their website. Take, for example, sportswear and outdoors retailer Transa. When you browse the product selection, the key sales conditions (delivery time, shipping costs, return conditions) are stated clearly next to each item. Buyers know the conditions of the sale before they have added an item to their cart, so they can make an informed decision early in the shopping journey.

To decrease the chance of shopping cart abandonment, create a relationship of trust with your customers, and be upfront about shipping prices and timesshipment restrictions and special conditions. You don’t want to tell a customer that their country is not eligible for delivery when they are ready to check out a full cart of products.

4. Let customers check product availability

According to Forrester research, 71 percent of customers expect to be able to see available inventory online. Leading retailers are taking note, and even taking it one step further: on its e-commerce website, IKEA lists where each item is available alongside the quantity left in stock in each store.

Even if you don’t want to go to such lengths, your product listing should at least:

  • Be complete and updated. Customers should be able to see in which location the product they want is available, in their preferred variant. If you use a unified commerce system, you can maintain information in one database, and then distribute it to the e-commerce, POS and back office. This way, both staff and customers can access the same real-time data, and if the inventory changes, for example if an item is sold, this is instantly reflected on all touchpoints.
  • Include detailed product information. When shopping for items online, customers don’t have the touch-and-feel element. Make up for it by including the item materials (or ingredients), any special care warnings, warranty information, and special return policies. If you stock similar products, you should ensure that you give enough information so consumers can make an informed choice. Better yet, include a comparison table.
  • Feature clear, high-quality pictures. According to research by Field Agent, 83% of consumers believe product images are very important when selecting and purchasing a product. If you can, consider including videos: according to a survey by Wyzowl, 80% of people say that product videos give them more confidence when purchasing a product online. From showing details of the item, to tutorials to how-tos, there are a few options you can choose. Go for the format that will better resonate with your audience and provide them with the information they need to close the sale.
  • Include product reviews. According to research by the National Retail Federation, 96% of shoppers read reviews on the retailers’ site, and a quarter of them say that reviews are the most influential factor in buying decisions, mattering more than price comparisons or advice from friends.

5. Put customer needs at the heart of your strategy

You can’t afford to wait for consumers to come to you. People spend most of their waking life with a computer in their hands: identify moments of opportunity in the customer journey, and make sure you are there at the right time.

Take, for example, American pharmacy and health care company CVS/Health. The company debuted a customer app that was designed to solve a common problem: manage complex medication schedules. On the app, customers can set up reminders to take medicines. The reminders can even be loaded onto an Apple watch. When they enter a CVS/Health pharmacy, a notification lets app users know if their medications are ready for pickup. This success of the app is due to it being designed to give consumers a useful service – not merely sell more.

Help consumers. Solve their problems. They will pay you back with their trust and business.

6. Use the data you collect

Every day, you collect an incredible wealth of data on you customers: what pages they visit on your e-commerce, what they add to the cart (and eventually buy, or leave behind), what items sell better where, which products are often returned, what’s most popular with your top customers, and more. Successful omni-channel retailers capture this data and turn it into action.

Take for example videogames chain GameStop International. GameStop runs a successful loyalty program with over 50 million members. By analyzing the customer data collected through the program, GameStop:

  • Discovered that rewards don’t influence customer engagement. Instead, what makes the program valuable for customers are personalized communications and offers.
  • Created hyper-targeted emails (which, for example, suggest to users what new games they could get by trading in their old ones, based on purchase history). This increased the open rate from 15% to 35%.
  • Diversified their offering to include collectibles, a business that has become very valuable for the brand.
  • As a result, expanded and diversified their customer base.

To achieve these insights and act on them, retailers need the data – but although necessary, data is not sufficient. Many retailers are still using systems made up of separate, integrated software solutions. This results in information silos, and data that is fragmented and hard to access. As a result, most companies have a lot of data, but only able to analyze a small part of it – barely 12%, according to Forrester research. The solution is a unified commerce system, a single platform that captures all of your consumers’ shopping behaviors, interests and purchase history. When data from all your channels is collected in one place, it is much simpler to link it and create a complete, 360-degree view of your customers.

Forward-thinking retailers are aligning messages, objectives, information and design across platforms – and ensuring that everything works together. As a result, they are redesigning the shopping journey as a seamless, all-encompassing experience.

Would you like to get there too, but don’t know where to begin? Contact us. Our experts will be happy to introduce you to the possibilities that unified retail tech opens.

Blog Reference: LS Retail Blog Forum

Uncategorized

How to get ready for the rise of mobile payments in retail

The retail payment space is going through a sea change, and the Starbucks mobile payments app is a shining example of that. Despite being specific to one retailer, in 2018 the app held the title of top mobile payment app in the US. During that year, 23.4 million people aged 14 and above used the app to make a POS purchase at least once every six months, according to estimates from market research firm eMarketer. Even though in 2019 it was finally overtaken by Apple Pay, which racked up an estimated 30.3 million users compared to Starbucks’ 25.2 million, the widespread adoption of the Starbucks app shows that  retailers can get true value out of mobile payments.

Key to Starbucks’ success has been its ability to combine convenience, ease and reward in the payments experience. Its Mobile Order and Pay functionality lets users order ahead of time and skip queues. The app is also integrated with the Starbucks Rewards loyalty program, allowing customers to automatically earn points (called Stars) and start earning free drinks and food. Customers can even add a tip to purchases. The value of using this app to pay is clear and simple: you can save time and money at the till, and access rewards and special offers at the same time.

Stores upgrade their payments options

Over the last few years cash has been losing its market share to electronic payments methods, which give consumers a faster, more secure and convenient experience when shopping both in store and online.

As consumer preferences move away from traditional payment methods towards mobile checkout technologies such as Apple and Android Pay, contactless card payments and direct bank transfers, retailers must be prepared to accept these new methods.

In the US, it’s estimated that around 70% of retail stores are now equipped to accept Apple Pay and similar mobile payments apps. As more credit card companies and banks shift to chip-based cards, retailers are forced to upgrade their checkout systems and. Those who think ahead are opting for readers that can also accept payments from smartphones using near-field communication (NFC) technology. Invest in contactless payment options

Millions of consumers now have contactless-enabled cards in their wallets and mobile payment apps on their phones. This tap-and-go technology is fast becoming the norm for customers – and therefore something they expect when making a purchase. Contactless transactions are particularly popular for smaller ticket purchases in convenience stores and supermarkets, and now frequently replace cash. This kind of technology also offers many benefits to retailers, including decreased checkout times, increased card use and an improved consumer payments experience.

Combine convenience and rewards

While contactless payments are an in-store essential, retailers must also consider a holistic payments strategy across all channels to ensure they’re meeting their customers’ expectations and delivering a seamless experience. That means embracing tools and technologies that harness consumer trends around cashless payments and connect both the digital and physical, enabling customers to order ahead and pay in advance, pick up reward program points regardless of the channel they shop via, and take advantage of new “buy now, pay later” options such as Klarna and Laybuy. Being able to offer a wide variety of payment options will be critical as retailers look to build their presence in an increasingly digital marketplace that is characterized by convenience and speed.

Explore digital wallet providers

While businesses like Starbucks decided to build their own mobile app, most retailers do not need to go down this route. That’s because digital wallet providers like Apple Pay and Google Pay are already designed to make setting up mobile payments fast and affordable.

Today, there are dozens of digital wallet payment providers for retailers – and consumers – to choose from. It’s worth talking with your existing payment provider to understand what options they have available as you develop your own mobile payments and digital wallets strategy.

Be open to payments innovation

As payment solutions are transforming from purely transactional to more customer oriented, the friction of payments will continue to fade with further innovations coming to market.

Invisible payments, for example, offer consumers ultimate convenience and completely automated payment options. Although they’re still in their infancy in the retail space, they’re being driven by businesses like ride-sharing app Uber, which automatically collects payment once a customer has reached their destination. Innovative retailers such as Amazon and Dutch supermarket brand Albert Heijn are already trialing invisible payments in stores with success. These shopping concepts allow customers to simply pick up or scan the products they want and leave without having to check out. Instead, payment is automatically deducted from their account.

“Connected cars, automatic replenishment via internet of things devices, and increasingly friction-free checkout experiences at the physical point of sale are just a few of the practical applications of invisible payments,” Worldpay’s Global Payment Trends report said.

As retailers plan for the future, then, it is in their best interests to be aware of the latest payments innovations and to consider how they will play out in their industry.

Retail ERP Software, Retail POS Solution

7 tips to deliver better online grocery shopping

The boom of online grocery shopping has been a long time coming. In 2015, more than one third (37%) of shoppers in Asia-Pacific regularly shopped for food online, Nielsen reports. Although in the rest of the world online grocery shopping was less common, there was already a growing trend, which has only become more pronounced. According to projections by Deutsche Bank, online grocery shopping is expected to expand at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 28.2%, which is significant if compared with a 2.5% CAGR for total grocery sales.

Supermarkets have had time to prepare for the shift to online, but not all of them have stayed on top of trends. When, due to necessity, consumers worldwide moved massively towards online shopping, some supermarkets found themselves suddenly out of the race. Today, the businesses who didn’t believe and invest in omni-channel are facing the harsh consequences of their decisions.

Online shopping has been gaining ground quickly among all ages and geographies, and there is no reason to believe this popularity will fade in the upcoming months. This means there is no better time than today to invest in improving your e-commerce capabilities.

Here are seven tips to get you started.

1. Focus on speed and ease of use

Simplicity and usability of the platform should be your top goals:

  • Make it easy for people to registerfind the products they need, add items to the cart, review and edit the order and pay.
  • Enable filtering per sub-groups of items to speed up search. Your customers would rather not have scroll through a hundred-item long list of “bread and pastries” to find the apricot-filled croissants they are looking for.
  • Make sure you include all relevant product information. Feature high-quality pictures, and clearly label brand names, price, ingredients with nutritional value and allergens, and pack size.
  • Include expiry dates wherever possible. If a shopper knows that the Greek yogurt lasts three more weeks, they might buy three packs instead of one.
  • Support returning shoppers. Give customers the possibility to recreate previous orders quickly and activate shopping lists where people can add staples and family favorites. Allow registered customers to see their buying history and to share the basket with other family members.
  • Ensure short page load times. If your site is too slow to load, buyers may abandon their cart without completing the purchase.

2. State the important information up front

How annoyed will your online shopper be when he finds out that his postcode is not eligible for delivery, after he spent a full hour adding products to the cart? For retailers, it pays off to be clear and provide all needed information from the start. Buyers should be aware of shipping prices and timesdelivery restrictions, geographical areas included in the service and special conditions before they have added a single item to their cart.

When it’s time to check out, make sure that all the steps are clearly labelled, and that shoppers know what’s coming up in the process. Consider adding lines that clarify where the customer is at, such as “You can still modify your order in the next step” or “By clicking here, you confirm your order and accept to pay. You won’t be able to modify your order afterwards”. Consider adding a progress bar that shows the various steps (“Customer details” -> “Shipping” -> “Payment information” -> “Review order” -> “Complete and pay”).

Once the order has been placed, include an “order completed” page where all the key information is summarized: items purchased, delivery and payment information, time of order, and what the customer should expect (an email? A call? A link to track the shipment?).

3. Think of the different platforms

Today, more consumers access websites from mobiles than from computers. According to data from marketing site The Drum, last year 63% of traffic and 53% of sales on retailers’ eCommerce sites happened via mobile. As the preference for mobile shopping is only going to get more common, you should ensure that your website performs well on mobile devices. Here are some questions you should ask yourself:

  • Is my e-commerce site responsive?
  • Are the buttons big and easy to tap? Are the text fields large and easy to type into?
  • Are pictures clear? Can people easily zoom in to see extra details? Is it easy to move through different images?
  • Is all information visible on small screens, or do some lines disappear or end up off screen?
  • Can customers easily move between items and categories?
  • Is the payment process simple and easy to follow?

Many consumers start a transaction on a device and continue it on another one. If when they resume the transaction they lose all the items they had already added to the cart, they may not be bothered to start over again – and you’ll lose that transaction. Enable saving the cart for logged in customers, so they can easily pick up transactions on different devices, at their pace and convenience.

4. Make it easy to navigate

On your e-commerce site you can easily display a larger product selection than in your physical locations. If you decide to go for the “endless aisles” style, make sure you organize the selection so that customers can easily find what they need.

  • Offer top-level categories that can be accessed from the top menu.
  • Enable customers to filter and sort items by price, brand, group, review scores, etc.
  • Make sure information is easy to skim through. Use bullet points and organize information consistently (first ingredients, then package size, then weight, then expiry date…) so users can find what they need at a glance.
  • Make sure the “buy” button is clearly visible. Add a checkmark or confirmation text to clarify when an item has been added to the basket.
  • Include a search function with predictive suggestions and auto corrects (“Did you mean…?”). Your customer may call “cilantro” what you call “coriander” on your site; you wouldn’t want her to leave without it just because the search gave no results.

5. Offer flexible delivery

Offer several delivery options and time slots, and be specific with your delivery times. The best practice is to offer precise delivery windows, and allow people pick the one that best fits their schedule. The more precise you are, the more likely you are customers will decide to shop with you. Nielsen’s “Global Connected Commerce Report” advises offering 30-minute interval windows – provided you can stick to your promises, and ensure delivery within the selected time frame.

How should you ship the products? Food retailers worldwide have been experimenting with different delivery methods. Which one(s) you should implement will depend on your customers’ demands, as well as on the local context and competitive landscape. Do your customers prefer to get their products delivered home? Would they rather use a third-party delivery station, such as a refrigerated locker? Do they want to order online and pick up in-store? Can you support picking up products at the curbside, or even via drive-thru? The more delivery options you can offer, the likelier you are to satisfy all demands. What if you don’t have the infrastructure to manage timely delivery and distribution of your goods? Then you should consider partnering up with distribution agents. This model, made popular by tech companies like Instacart, has already been successfully adopted by many supermarkets.

6. Guarantee high quality

Research by Nielsen shows that concerns over the quality of fresh items and worries about the risk of spoilage during delivery are two of the main barriers to online food shopping. To help consumers overcome these concerns,

  • Offer delivery options that preserve product quality. Refrigerated lockersone-hour delivery, and click and collect within a specific pick-up window are some of the options to ensure freshness while offering customers high flexibility.
  • Provide detailed information for fresh produce. This means including not only a description, but also freshness labels that say how many days the product will last after it is delivered.
  • Solicit feedback, and feature customer reviews under each product your website.
  • Allow customers to exchange the products, or get their money back, if the food does not meet their expectations at delivery.

7. Make it all work together seamlessly

When you are selling products online, you will be judged for more than just the quality of your products. If your website crashes, if the delivery service runs late, if a product description is incorrect, if the refrigerated locker where you deliver products breaks down, customers will hold you responsible. Convenience is a core element in consumers’ decision to shop for grocery online. A poor experience, a snag in the process, and you risk losing a customer forever.

It pays off to analyze and future-proof your whole chain, from production, to the technology you use, to accuracy of product information, to physical delivery, and ensure that every step of the process is smooth, efficient, and up to standards.

Online grocery shopping has moved beyond its tipping point. Although it’s hard to predict what will happen tomorrow, we can expect that grocery e-commerce will continue its upward trend. Retailers who want to shape the market and win over competitors must move quickly and fearlessly. If you need advice getting ready for the digital future of grocery shopping, do not hesitate to contact us.

Uncategorized

When do you know that your business needs a CRM software?

Customer Relationship Management is a process of managing or organizing prospects throughout the sales life cycle. The more the advancement in serving the clients, the more will be the payment stream for the Company. Trident’s CRM software solutions happen to be one of the most effective and efficient CRM software that could easily cut overhead costs and give highlights which demonstrate helpful to different business firms.

Many CRM software programs available have several features that can be used or restricted – so in effect a business can modify to make their own CRM software. However, utilizing CRM software gives various advantages to both organizations and customers and that is the reason each genuine business has implemented some of the other CRM applications.

So who can opt for Trident’s CRM software?

A simple response to that question would be “Any business with customers would utilize CRM“. However, in the real world, it is not just as simple as that. Choosing an appropriate CRM software solely depends upon the business process along with a range of profitable features. Below are the type of Businesses that could gain benefit from using Trident’s CRM software solutions.

1- The business that uses any form of Marketing: 

For any business that uses marketing campaigns to promote, sell or advertise their products or services in the market through various communication mediums such as phone, email, etc. Reaching to customers in bulk within a short period as well as recording the response on the go makes it more effective to manage the marketing process.

2- A business that deals with B2B and B2C Sales:

For any business that tends to cope up with the Customers to sell or cross-sell the products. Maintain relevant sales data such as documents, communication records, etc. Identify the process flow starting from Lead up to the deal gets closed.

3- A business that creates Quotations & Invoices: 

Built-in invoicing module to track the quotations and invoices generated against an opportunity. Efficiency to merge the billing details into the document which can further be mailed to the customer right from the CRM software without any need to switch between the applications.

4 – A business that deals in Customer Service: 

For any business that believes in increasing customer satisfaction by helping them in tracking as well as resolving the issues completely. Managing the cases within CRM as well as auto – escalations triggered on a timely basis not only guarantees better customer satisfaction but at the same helps the Management to track resource performance.

5- A business that wants to increase efficiency: 

Well-organized business results in better output which can be ultimately tracked with the help of various Reports, Dashboards, etc. Well-improved or say the advance level of features incorporating in CRM with the latest release of versions has enhanced the CRM which has ultimately proved beneficial for Business growth.

Thus using CRM software gives you numerous benefits to enrich both Business and Customer Relations by serving your customers better with stronger service and support. To know more about how can CRM software help you, you can check out our CRM software solution on https://www.tridentinfo.com/microsoft-dynamics-crm-software-solution/ and contact to our experts on https://www.tridentinfo.com/contact/.

Retail ERP Software

7 Reasons to have a Retail-oriented Solution to Unite E-commerce and ERP

Solely brick-and-mortar retail is gradually have become the exception rather than the norm. Increasing numbers of consumers have welcomed the convenience of online retailers, allowing them to evaluate items in less time and make purchasing decisions rather than visiting various physical stores. In everyday market research, 81 percent of consumers use phones and tablets. In reply to these developments, businesses try to boost revenues by embracing ecommerce and spreading to other platforms.

Yet each new site introduced by marketers raises the difficulty of their distribution chain. To integrate all channels information to make good enterprise-wide choices, they need new digital resources. To establish a consolidated database of all purchases, clients, and goods, several retail businesses prefer to incorporate their ERP implementation services with each of their distribution channels. There are however some clear benefits of using an integrated solution designed specifically for the retail sector over integration solutions for common use applications.

Below are some features of built-in retail integration solutions that show the requirement of customization for a common integration framework:

1- Flexibility Over Retail Vhannels

All businesses move toward cohesive user experiences. Retail-specific integration solutions enable different systems, like your point-of-sale (POS) and ecommerce system, to import and then use product descriptions into your Retail ERP Software. It means you have the same range of products throughout all the product lines, while constantly pricing and discounting those items.

2- Omni Channel Experience

Retail integration solutions offer services for Omni channel purchase-online pickup-in-store (BOPIS) fulfilment which enables customers to buy an item from one channel and deliver it from another platform. They might buy a product at a retail outlet, for instance, and have it shipped to their house, or they might order it online and pick it up at a local retail outlet. The retail-specific integrated system manages ZIP-code searches for shop inventory, and shares shop pickup information between systems.

3 – Inventory Clarity

Retail connectivity solutions provide an accurate representation of product availability by synchronization of inventory data throughout networks and systems on a routine basis. Entities can even merge individual warehouses and shops into satisfactory groups to enhance the control of the distribution chain.

4- Client Information Integration

Your Retail ERP system will exchange customer data with your online store and other channels, using a retail-specific implementation solution. Customer data must stay consistent over digital and physical platforms and will avoid redundant information. Such knowledge could be used to generate and monitor purchase requests, and to improve loyalty program management.

5- Unified Loyalty Program

A retail integration solution makes it much easier to operate a single loyalty program with consumer, pricing, and discount information integrated into your Retail ERP system. You will receive and redeem coupons, gift cards, and loyalty points across all platforms, creating better customer satisfaction and higher participation levels than a channel-specific rewards program.

6 – Single Integration Solution for Payment

A retail-specific integration approach increases time to value by offering preloaded integration with major payment service vendors. The use of one integrated system for processing payments, order processing, customer data, and product inventory offers greater efficiency and lower production costs than multi-integrator dependence.

7 – Managing Multiple Languages and Currencies

Retail integration technologies are planned for retail operations around the world. They have help for managing multiple languages and currencies, so you can quickly set up physical or online stores in new geographical regions.

Conclusion

Integration solutions intended for the retail sector provide many out of the box that would involve many months of costly customization to accomplish using platforms for general purpose integration. Trident Information Pvt Ltd provides a flexible and versatile integration solution which many international retailers use. For more information on the power of retail-specific integration, contact Microsoft ERP Partner Trident Information Pvt Ltd on https:/www.tridentinfo.com/contact/

 

 

Microsoft Dynamics CRM

Turn prospects into engaged customers with intelligent sales and marketing

The selling landscape is undergoing fundamental changes, many of them driven by the effects of B2B customers’ experience as everyday consumers. Many retailers have created personalized, nearly immersive, online experiences for each customer. Consumers shopping for goods and services continually experience fresh and delightful interactions, from highly customized offers and recommendations to frictionless channels to 24/7 interactions. Using Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Marketing and Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Sales organisations are improving  their profit margins.

The impact of B2C on B2B

Today’s B2B buyers have high expectations, and those expectations will not be met if B2B buyers are accustomed to sophisticated consumer interactions in their personal lives. Executive B2B buyers are not impressed by marketing driven by large, relatively impersonal data analysis that leads to inconsistent and conflicting interactions or sales outreach that doesn’t cater specifically to their needs at the right time.

The source of the problem may be largely invisible to the companies perpetuating this issue. Many organizations believe themselves to be customer-centric, while their buyers may not agree. That’s a significant disconnect. Clearly, B2B has much to learn from B2C companies.

Customer experience – the rewards for getting it right

Many B2C organizations have strategically embraced modern technologies like customer data platforms (CDP) and artificial intelligence (AI) to gain a 360-degree view of their customers and follow through on those insights to optimize customer engagement.

The rewards for getting this engagement right are substantial. Many buyers are willing to pay more for a better customer experience. In terms of the potential benefits a great experience can have on sales success, a McKinsey study reported that organizations can expect:

  • 10-15 percent lower customer churn
  • 20-40 percent increase in the win rate of offers
  • Up to 50 percent lower service costs

Take a new approach

B2B companies must move away from their legacy approaches based on large, relatively impersonal data analysis and move to solutions that unify relationship data across the full customer lifecycle. That way, they can gain insights that help build credibility and trust with buyers. They can run multi-channel campaigns to increase sales-ready leads, create personal experiences, and use guided process and AI to anticipate and respond faster to customer needs. They can build the ongoing, high-quality relationships that are necessary for long-term success.

Four principal goals

Turning prospects into engaged customers is a process. In order to achieve these goals, organizations must focus on 4 key priorities:

  • Nurture more demand
  • Personalize buyer experiences
  • Build relationships at scale
  • Make insight-driven decisions

Each of these drives results by using deep reservoirs of data in making technology feel more human.

Nurture more demand

Relying only on conventional, basic email marketing as the primary source of leads is simply not effective enough. In fact, the more focused and demanding the customer universe is, the more essential it is to gain deep insights into what those customers expect. Northrop & Johnson,  a leading global yacht brokerage, competes for multi-million dollar customers using technology its industry has been slow to adopt. Using Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Marketing has created a decided competitive advantage: Vital insights into their customer base have helped to drive a 70 percent increase in charter sales.

In any industry, companies need to generate leads across multiple channels, nurture large numbers of leads while prioritizing each one, and use data-driven insights to deliver leads that are sales-ready. Nurturing more demand is critical to growth.

Dynamics 365 for Marketing helps generate, nurture and prioritize sales-ready leads.

Personalize buyer experiences

It’s time to end friction, inconsistencies, and the “do you know who I am?” part of the customer experience. Companies can acquire a holistic view of buyers, predict buyer intent, and orchestrate a connected, personalized journey for customers.

In an era where guests have more choices than ever for leisure and entertainment, Tivoli delights its guests by using Dynamics 365 Customer Insights to stay one step ahead of expectations and transform the guest experience. With its deeper understanding of guests, it can add new chapters to its long tradition of imagination and innovation.

Dynamics 365 for Marketing enables you to personalize buyer experiences and predict buyer intent.

Build relationships at scale

Mutually beneficial relationships don’t simply happen with more data. Companies need to build credibility to establish and grow relationships with customers.

Together, Dynamics 365 and LinkedIn enable the company to have increased information about, and impact on the sales relationships that are added to its sales pipeline, even as that pipeline experiences exponential growth month over month.

Dynamics 365 for Marketing helps you build relationships at scale.

Make insight-driven decisions

Here’s where sales and marketing can truly align: utilizing data to uncover insights that lead to better-informed decisions throughout the sales process. This can improve performance, empower employees, and enable the company to gain increasingly effective strategic insights.

With more than 1,500 pubs serving guests throughout the UK, Marston’s launched a business transition by bringing together guest data that was scattered across multiple systems into Dynamics 365. With their locations’ guest data now unified, Marston’s will gain a complete view of guests, which can be harnessed to generate customer satisfaction and strategic insights. This approach helps drive improved performance throughout the company, including the opportunity to empower employees – an often-overlooked aspect of a company’s success.

Dynamics 365 for Marketing enables you to make insight-driven decisions to improve performance, empower employees and gain strategic insights.

Aligning sales and marketing: The intelligent way to succeed

It’s possible to create exceptional experiences, drive more qualified leads, and increase revenue if an organization has the vision, process, and technology to harness all the data available. This requires high-level technology with well-defined business goals and sales and marketing applications fueled by keen intelligence. We have a compelling offering to accomplish just that with Microsoft Dynamics 365. Get in touch with our representative to request a demo for Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Sales & Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Marketing

Blog Reference : https://cloudblogs.microsoft.com/dynamics365/bdm/2019/09/19/turn-prospects-into-engaged-customers-with-intelligent-sales-and-marketing/

Retail ERP Software

Redefining shopping excellence with an unified E-commerce solution

Over the last decade, the retail sector has experienced enormous change and transition. Many have suggested that conventional brick and mortar retail is dying and that for the everyday needs, consumers switch entirely to online platforms. However, this is not the case. As per a survey from the National Retail Federation, since 2010 retail storefronts in the US have continued to expand at approximately 4 percent annually along with the consistent double-digit growth of online shopping. Almost all of the top 50 online retailers have brick and mortar stores, as well. Although progress in e-commerce tends to outpace physical stores, the rate of progress in physical retail outlets is still much higher. E-commerce is also not a stand-alone medium in most cases but used in combination with conventional and new platforms to meet consumer needs such as buying online pick up in-store or Click and Collect. Physical outlets are still a big part of consumer spending patterns, but with this, we also have seen that consumer priorities have changed around shopping. Trident is offering Retail ERP Software for an outstanding commerce experience that helps in gaining maximum profits.

Gone are the days when store employees are the only experts in information about goods. Consumers already have greater access to product details, price clarity, and accessibility. This means that retailers have to look at customer engagement across all platforms to make sure that their enterprise is capable of delivering on these recent high requirements. E-commerce will no longer be a major differentiator for retailers in the next few years, but will instead allow integrated retail trade to compete in the ever more challenging customer needs worldwide.

So Trident ( dynamics 365 partner) & solution dynamics 365 for marketing not confined to e-commerce, but aims to streamline the process of unifying consumer shopping experiences through an end-to-end business framework that puts together e-commerce, in-store, back office, and call centre. Let’s discuss furthermore how Dynamics 365 for marketing solution helps retailers meet those dominant business requirements.

1)- Grant Excellent and Customized Consumer Experience

Consumer experience is not only one of the top growth factors in the retail sector, but according to the recent survey by Microsoft and Forbes, 33 percent of retail managers are also considered a great business priority. The main task is to identify what constitutes outstanding customer experience for each individual business, as expectations of customers differ by micro-vertical retail, product category, and consumers themselves. It is up to the retailers to better define how their marketing commitment aligns with the experience. When customer experience is established, retailers need to be able to deliver on this commitment by providing technology that allows customer engagement in the next generation and does not limit their ability to evolve and build differentiating consumer experience.

As per the report by Microsoft and Forbes, providing customized shopping has become increasingly popular and over 49 percent of customers aged between 18 and 24 stating they are more likely to purchase from retailers offering custom shopping experiences. The aim of personalization is to form a bond between both the retailer and the consumer by delivering goods and/or services across all retail channels based on past interactions. It enhances the relationship to an encounter more similar to an interaction with a trustworthy friend or partner than a simple transaction.

There is a significant technological dependence to reach this next stage of customization. Networked and real-time visibility into consumers and activities are needed by retailers. Dynamics 365 put together all facets of customer interaction through e-commerce, call centre and in-store as well as simple incorporation into new channels to enable retailers to gain a holistic customer perspective. Couple this with out-of-the-box integration with Dynamics 365 Consumer insights and retailers can not only deliver AI-driven suggestions based on customer shopping history, likes, and patterns but also provide store agents with tools for presenting the customer’s 360-degree view and facilitating rich interaction throughout the selling journey.

 2) Omni Channel Experience   

Nowadays Customers expect to be able to purchase anywhere they want, and by whatever platform. Retailers also acknowledge the importance of Omni channel as one of their top three priorities, with 47 percent of Microsoft and Forbes survey executives rating this.

Most retailers are still struggling in having an Omni channel experience because of the complexity of internal infrastructure and disconnected or fragmented systems. Trident’s Dynamics 365 NAV makes it much easier to offer a native Omni channel solution for retailers, as it was built in the cloud.

3) Flexibility

An integrated solution is important not just for customers to engage and shop in retail, but also for how a unified solution can allow first-line employees to take part better and make sure ideal operational efficiencies across your supply chain. Dynamics 365 for marketing offers retailers the ability to streamline their operations with enriched knowledge that characterizes their business. Employees at the store can gain greater information and insight into stock availability, cross-application support for task management, as well as trade analytics that enable managers to monitor performance and insights to help them make informed decisions.