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Develop a mobile strategy for your retail chain

What proportion of your customers shop on their mobile devices? It’s probably more than you think, when you consider that mobile commerce sales globally are worth more than US$3.5 trillion annually, according to eMarketer data.

When it comes to calculating the return on investment of a mobile retail strategy, the figures really do speak for themselves. According to McKinsey, omni-channel consumers make purchases 70% more often and spend over a third more than people who shop exclusively in stores. Why? The bottom line is convenience.

 

Look at the bigger picture and see how mobile fits with your entire omni-channel strategy.

Get key stakeholders and the rest of your team on-board.

1. Identify and understand your customers’ habits

Many IT projects fail because at some point along the way, customers’ needs and requirements get lost or forgotten. With so many approaches and technologies available to choose from, it’s surprisingly easy for retailers to invest in the wrong thing and bear the costly consequences. Rather than rushing to develop an overnight mobile offering, consider where the value lies, what your customer priorities are, and how the new technology fits into your omni-channel strategy.

2. Focus on the customer experience

When it comes to mobile retail, a good consumer experience translates into a site loading with the tap of a finger, easy access to all the information people need, and a truly connected and personalized shopping journey. It’s definitely worth getting right. According to Think with Google research, if people have a negative experience on mobile, they’re 62% less likely to purchase from you in the future.

3. Carry out SWOT and competitor analysis

It’s an easy mistake to make. You see another retailer rolling out a shiny new experience on social media and you rush to deliver something similar. But emulating your competitors doesn’t always mean you’ll emulate their success. The key to trying something new is to do your research, and that means carrying out a full analysis of not only your business and your competitors, but your customers too. What do they want? What will they value?

4. Look at the bigger omni-channel picture

Your customers don’t want to fill up their shopping cart on the mobile app, then switch to the desktop later and find that none of their items have carried over. Deliver a disconnected shopping experience like this and they’ll be disappointed. The same goes for ad hoc marketing communication that doesn’t take into account their preferences or overlooks their purchase history. A unified customer experience is key, and that requires a solid and well considered omni-channel strategy.

5. Get the business behind a mobile retail approach

While it may be discouraging to know that around 70% of big IT projects fail (data by Forbes), there are proactive steps you can take to avoid making the same mistakes in your own business. Two key factors to reduce the risk of failure are getting management involved from the very start, and identifying exactly what your business needs are, and how your mobile strategy will support them.

LS Central is a complete all-in-one retail software that extends Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central, Microsoft’s #1 ERP solution globally. Whatever your omni-channel strategy, you can easily deliver it when you use one software solution that unifies all sales channels.

For further information on LS Central please contact allonline365 on +27 (21) 205 3650, or email us on info@allonline365.com, or visit our website www.allonline365.com

Why you need unified commerce for your retail business

Point of Sale (POS), e-commerce, CRM, inventory management… many retailers employ a patchwork of disconnected business applications to run their business. These software systems are often connected through custom-made integrations, and as a consequence they cannot communicate information seamlessly with each other. Today’s retailers are collecting an unprecedented amount of data throughout their various touchpoints, from the e-commerce site, to loyalty programs, Point of Sale, and more. To be able to deliver personalized communications and offers, retailers need software systems that keep this data in a structured manner, so they can then analyze the information and transform it into meaningful insights. Unified commerce combines in one platform POS, e-commerce, order fulfillment, inventory management, customer relationship management, and much more. 

Here are some ways that implementing a unified commerce solution, such as LS Central based on Microsoft’s Business Central, will benefit your business growth, and make your life easier. 

You don’t need to spend time and money on integrations 

When you use a separate system to manage your sales, another one to handle vendors, a third one for the e-commerce site – and so on, you need to set up (and maintaining!) real-time communication between the different platforms. And that can be complex. When you use a unified system, you limit integrations, as most of the functionality you need is already packaged in one platform. This reduces costs (and time) involved across all the phases, from implementation to maintenance to upgrades. 

You reduce the risk of errors 

When you are using separate systems, any delay in communication and your data can get out of sync. And then, you may end up selling an item on your website when you don’t have it in stock anymore, or advertising the wrong price. Classic mistakes which may lose you revenue, or even customers. When you use a single system for your whole business, all your prices, product availability, item descriptions, etc. are maintained in a single database, and then distributed to different touchpoints. This way you don’t run the risk of discrepancies or mismatches across channels. 

You can offer a true omni-channel experience 

Customers come back again and again when you give them great shopping experiences and accurate, consistent information and services. Online and in-person shopping are two sides of the same medal: customers visit your website to check inventory availability in your stores. By managing all channels within the same platform, you can not only keep track of everything that is going on in your business; you can also allow customers to shop as and where they prefer, with no hitches or disconnects in their shopping journey. 

You only need to work with one vendor 

When you use multiple systems, you will inevitably have to deal with several vendors. Selecting a unified platform means that you can take care of the whole process with a single vendor. Assuming you have chosen the right company (someone who knows your industry, understands your needs, and communicates effectively with you), dealing with one vendor instead of many can decrease complexity and overall costs. Make sure you select a trustworthy technology vendor, who will be there for you in the future and will provide you with support and updates when you need them. 

 

Unified commerce helps overcome today’s challenges to deliver the shopping experiences that customers expect. Contact us to discover how unified commerce retail platform LS Central, based on Microsoft Business Central, can make your retail business more effective and profitable. 

 For further information on LS Central please contact allonline365 on +27 (21) 205 3650, or email us on info@allonline365.com, or visit our website www.allonline365.com      

 

Microsoft Power Platform Customer Stories

We have seen a breakthrough year for Microsoft Dynamics 365 and Microsoft Power Platform. Across industries and around the world, we’re seeing companies leveraging Dynamics 365 to create impact faster, break down barriers, adapt to a rapidly changing environment, and innovate across their business. The customer case studies featured on the Microsoft website, show Microsoft Power Platform is empowering companies such as:

  • H&M Group is a Swedish multinational clothing-retail company with more than 5,000 stores in 78 countries and more than 53 online markets. A growing community of citizen developers has created thousands of Power Platform solutions across the company. To support development and maintain security and governance, H&M Group set up a Center of Excellence using the Microsoft Power Platform. It turned out to be a winning strategy for H&M Group, one of the largest clothing retailers in the world. Employees from across the company quickly started building on Power Platform–from clothing designers with no previous coding experience to pro developers looking for a faster alternative to custom coding.
  • One of the largest wireless carriers in the United States, T-Mobile always seeks to improve its business processes and gain greater insight into operations. With low-code development using Microsoft Power Platform, T-Mobile employees from all different backgrounds—computer science experts to coding novices—now develop solutions themselves that help the company with everything from device promotion approvals to store closure management in response to COVID-19. T-Mobile has a thriving internal Microsoft Power Platform community and is creating a T-Mobile Center of Excellence to promote further low-code development.
  • Highly regarded Australian health supplement maker Blackmores Group can’t afford to rest on its laurels. In a field where new product development plays a key role in maintaining market share, time is critical. Blackmores wanted to uncover the insights it needed to hasten product development. Costly off-the-shelf options didn’t quite fit the company’s requirements. When a Blackmores developer introduced Microsoft Power Platform to his team, everything changed. Blackmores uses these tools to answer a variety of needs quickly, applying the approach—from no code to pro code—that best solves the problem. The company is not only realizing higher productivity; it’s also saving precious time in getting products to market faster.
  • When Virgin Atlantic launched in 1984, the airline’s distinctive red colour scheme and playful advertising set it apart. As the years went by, Virgin Atlantic continued to introduce game-changing innovations into the aviation industry, from seatback TV screens to the use of more sustainable fuel. Today, the company’s next big disruption is taking off with a commitment to digital technology that charts new directions in customer service. Virgin Atlantic chose to bring its digital transformation down to Earth with Microsoft 365.

As the pace of digital transformation continues to accelerate, the demand for more applications and automation is at the centre of that change. Increasingly, more organizations are adopting low-code tooling to enable anyone to build solutions tailored to meet their business needs. However, along with the benefit of building solutions faster, the risk of accidental oversharing or misuse of business-critical information increases. Microsoft Power Platform provides a low-code platform for reporting, workflow, automation, and form development.

With applications like Power BI, Power Automate, and Power Apps, the platform can be used to analyse data, automate operations, and develop apps. The real-world application of Power Platform allows customers to extend their ERP and other systems to a wider user group within their organisation.

For further information on Microsoft Power Platforms please contact allonline365 on +27 (21) 205 3650, or email us on info@allonline365.com, or visit our website www.allonline365.com

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