What to look out for in a retail ERP

retail erp

Blog Written By| ERPFocus

Three key features to look for in a retail ERP

The difference between traditional ERP, typically understood as a manufacturing or production platform; versus ‘retail ERP’, encompasses not only back but front-office processes create a host of complex challenges. This is particularly true when users find themselves faced with a product selection round.

Consequently, ERPFocus thought to offer a couple of features to help potential businesses find the right ERP for them.

1.  Cloud-based

Modular retail ERP Systems typically include the following components: point of sale, inventory management, customer management, advertising/marketing, accounting (usually integrated with GL), purchase order, payroll processing, in addition to various inventory/warehouse modules.

In today’s retail environment, however, these components are usually enhanced by intrinsic utilities associated with mobility and extended web mechanisms supported by active and passive social network capabilities. These are complemented by the introduction of various hardware systems including digital cash registers, NFC, mobile-adept smart terminals, and other affiliated systems.

Consequently, this deep matrix of operational and managerial processes calls for a large volume of standardized mechanisms that create, manipulate, and store end-to-end products. While on-premises or hybrid systems do offer operational value, in order to leverage maximum business power, cloud-based systems offer the greatest opportunity.

This is largely due to the ability to integrate multiple modules within a singular network fabric. For example, the introduction of a retail ERP platform within the Amazon Web Services (AWS) network, offers a host of intrinsic utilities that enhance the overall system infrastructure including; auto scripting, automated updating, active monitoring, and extended user reporting, along with powerful processing and deep security. Together with the network framework and the operating system, collaborate technically in order to create a more powerful performance value than before.

2.  Ability to scale up with demand

Some ERP systems do not lend themselves to easy scaling in terms of the number of users or an ability to change the number of integrated hardware elements. In other cases, the total number of these types of elements is strictly limited. Ensure that the retail system you pick allows maximum flexibility so that it can grow with you whenever a business change is on the horizon.

3. Native mobile functionality

This last element really goes to one of the most important values in today’s technological constellation. Some retail systems leverage mobility by integrating third-party mobile systems; however, these applications are sometimes less hoped for in terms of recurrent utility and overall ease of use, since these integration processes typically require a significant degree of end-to-end operational compliance to create optimal results.

On the other hand, if a competitive system is specifically designed and built from the bottom up for use on third party mobile systems, this reduces compliance issues and increased the efficiency of the software.

LS Central is a complete retail management software system. With mobility and the chance to deliver a consistent shopping experience across your all sales channels, LS Central really is the best-integrated software platform for the retail industry. To learn more contact allonline365 on  info@allonline365.com or  +27 (21) 205 3650


AI and the omnichannel approach for retailers


Blog Written By | Progressive Grocer 

Grocers that miss the omnichannel wave of disruption risk wipeout

The grocery industry is notorious for tight margins, high perishability, and heavy reliance on promotions. It’s a prime target for competition, which is why grocers are facing wave after wave of disruption.

The first came years ago when Amazon and other eCommerce businesses began eating away at the edges of grocers’ already slim profit margins by competing on purchases of non-perishable consumer goods.

The second bigger wave is hitting now, in 2019, as the “delivery economy” has added additional dimensions for grocers to consider. Grocery delivery can be a cash cow, but it also poses serious logistical challenges, from inventory management to storage. Direct-to-consumer meal-kit delivery services like HelloFresh pose a competitive threat, too. Promising fresh, quality ingredients landed directly on consumers’ doors without the need for grocery shopping, these apps appear to cut out the middle man.

But the second wave of disruption that grocers are facing goes beyond that. Take a step back and consider the bigger picture. July marked the two-year anniversary of Amazon’s purchase of Whole Foods Market. Now, the eCommerce giant appears to be exploring a new chain built for both in-store shopping and pickup and delivery.

Meanwhile, apps like Instacart have democratized delivery across the economy, creating on-demand consumer convenience at the push of a button. A premium has been placed on the retail experience, online and off, now that customers rely on multiple methods to get what they need, depending on what’s easiest for them at the time.

Omnichannel shopping has finally gone mainstream. There’s no looking back. The future of grocery and retail is now, and consumer expectations have never been higher. 

So the question then becomes. how can legacy grocers keep up with the speed of change? These industry-wide changes are being driven externally, after all. What can grocers do to keep up with the innovation that’s being driven by the modern tech giants?

By providing shoppers with the convenience and personalization they crave, using the vast stores of information at their disposal, grocers are in a unique position. They have the opportunity to fight back using technology against technology.

Using artificial intelligence (AI), grocers have the capability to grow their profit margins by improving demand forecasting, making promotions more personalized and thus more effective, and streamlining their business to keep up with each new wave of technology-enabled disruption.

The fact is, grocers know a lot about consumers – what type of beer they like, their favorite pasta sauce, and f they prefer almond or whole milk. It’s all listed and recorded across mountain ranges of data year over year, category over category.

How AI technology can guide customer insights and recommendations

Studying this data, grocers can find trends. They may find regional or seasonal patterns, for example. Or maybe they can find complementary goods, increasing the chance to raise the all-important basket price with the right promotion.

Using a blend of AI and machine-learning models, grocers can supercharge this type of analysis. What might take weeks or months of analysis done manually can be cut substantially as the right AI technology enables both automated and higher-level decision-making.

Now, not only can grocers find trends at the product, category or store level, but they can also find personal shopping trends. And with this level of insight, grocers can make more financially lucrative business decisions that meet the demands of their most discerning customers.

For example, a grocer might use AI models to determine which products to include in its weekly circular ads, what order they should place them in, and what level of promotions they should offer for each item. Or they may decide to develop models that suggest personalized product recommendations and promotions based on triggers determined from past behavior – and integrate these into mobile apps that push notifications out at certain frequencies.

In this way, AI can also improve omnichannel strategies like click-and-collect by suggesting that customers pick up a discounted dinner when they pick up their groceries, incentivizing the customer to use the retailer in other ways.

The use of AI in grocery is really just the beginning. The future of grocery may have just arrived, but what grocers make of it is really up to them. Yet one thing is clear: Grocers that succeed in this new world of disruption will surely be the ones that start innovating now.


Is your retail ERP ready to adapt to these technologies?

retail erp

Blog Written By | ERPFocus

Three technologies your retail ERP must adapt to

Retail is changing. For consumers, it mostly is an improvement in terms of price and availability. As a retailer, the change can be frightening and it can bring new opportunities.

1.  E-commerce

A consumer visits your store and asks for a product in blue. They already know it comes in blue but you have already chosen to stock only brown. Your potential customer could walk away and search for a blue product elsewhere. Or, you could already have your supplier’s website connected to your ERP, go online with your customer, and place an order for delivery at the customer’s home within the next few days.

There is no possible way to stock every option and size any product is available in. Online storefronts can have more in a warehouse. Use the tools in your retail ERP to get the sale your customer wants. Don’t compete with online – beat it.

2.  Social media integration

Your customers use Facebook, Twitter, and other sites to research the products you sell. Your ERP can integrate with those sites. Make sure your floor clerks know already what the web has to say so they can talk in the same language with customers. They should also be prepared to overcome objections if a customer is considering a different brand.

The internet already knows someone has checked out a product on Consumer Reports. The internet knows that the person just walked into your store. You need to guide that customer to the product wanted. Your ERP also immediately adjusts your selling price to match the lowest price reported. Did you, your ERP, and social networks on line just combine to make a sale?

3.  Big Data

Your retail ERP collects increasing amounts of data on your customers. You know their name and address. You know how much they have purchased and when the first sale happened. Integrate your ERP with predictive software to help your customers make their next purchase. She has bought new shoes every 3 months in your store. The time for the next purchase is coming soon. What new (and profitable) shoe is available now? Send an email or text with a coupon to her suggesting nicely that you have already found her next pair and it is waiting on the shelf for her visit on Saturday.

New technologies come to light almost every day. Many can help your retail bottom line right away if you know about them and your ERP can use them to help. Maybe innovation in your ERP is the most valuable new technology ERP needs to adapt to. If your retail ERP adapts, you can too and your bottom line will only improve.


Resource Credit | ERPFocus

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