Ten Commandments of Omni-Channel Retailing

Ten Commandments of Omni-Channel Retailing

In the digital generation, consumers switch from one device to another. Clients shop on mobile devices, computers, smart TVs, stores and social media. A shopper can be online shopping through your e-commerce retail while standing at your brick and mortar store to get a colour or size you don’t have in location. Australian retailers must offer a 360° seamless experience to increase sales. Their strategy must include various touchpoints, a shared inventory and marketing that targets multiple channels.

Managing all these tactics might seem a titanic job for the medium-sized retailer but is easy to do with the correct software. Inspired by an article from Matt Pillar, editor of Integrated Solutions for Retailers, NetSuite and Klugo put their experience with +3,000 retailers to write the ten commandments for a true omni-channel retail. They focus on getting a single cloud-based platform for building a 360° experience and avoiding a lengthy, costly and volatile integration of legacy systems.

1. Thou shalt not create false likenesses of omni-channel retail.

Australian retailers with old legacy store systems and separate online stores are spending countless labour and financial resources to unsuccessfully get their databases to “talk” to each other. This disconnection stops real-time and accurate visibility. Customers often realise when channels are not communicated. An omni-channel user experience results in seamless connections between the retail store, the online shopping, social media and mobile app. To differentiate from rivals, retailers must build seamless experiences that unite data in a single platform. The effort to give visibility to all users and associates within one unique platform will pay off with great customer engagement.

2. Thou shalt not take the name of Omni-Channel Retail in vain.

Luxury fashion retailer Ann Taylor said: “If she wants it and we have it, she gets it.” All revolutionary Australian retailers strive for this vision of a simple omni-channel. You saw it, we have it, but we can’t get it to you is not an option. With real-time cloud visibility of their inventories, multi-channel retailers can offer real shopping experiences with inventory positioning and fulfilment strategies. Effective customer-centric strategies depend on having items in-stock, or available through another channel.

3. Remember thy customers of multiple channels, keep them holy.

Cross-channel CRM merged with pioneering intelligence tools allows leading Australian retailers to analyse customer behaviour and identify business trends. To achieve customer centricity, omni-channel retailers manage cloud CRM based on customer preferences at all touchpoints. These tools also ease the administrative and IT costs associated with attempting to merge CRM in different outdated environments. A centralised platform effectively tracks consumer behaviour and preferences across all channels. Cloud retailers have a single, accurate, accessible and real-time CRM everywhere.

4. Honour all thy channels.

Running each channel as a separate business becomes next to impossible. When channels operate in silos, retailers fail to recognise physical stores as digital channel enablers and vice versa. Modern consumer behaviour tells us we need to have an active presence in all channels. With omni-channel marketing promotions and fulfilment, synergies can be made across all sales ecosystems. A Cloud-Based ERP enables retailers to access one true version of their data with live instant insights of every channel’s successes and failures. Centralised platforms facilitate building differentiation marketing strategies, they can accelerate positive touch points and adjust channels with poor performance.

Which are the top organisational Inhibitors to enable omni-channel?

Figure 1. While technology infrastructure is supposed to be an omni-channel enabler, 53% of retailers say
it’s exactly what’s standing in their way:

  • The existing technology infrastructure is preventing us from moving forward. 53% 53%
  • We don’t have enough e-commerce resources to manage all the available opportunities. 53% 53%
  • ROI is hard to quantify. 48% 48%
  • Budgeting – there is little capital investment available. 38% 38%
  • Stores are higher investment priority. 27% 27%
  • Stores don’t understand the mobile or cross-channel opportunities. 25% 25%
  • Marketing does not understand the digital strategies to support omni-channel e-commerce retail. 22% 22%
  • Difficulty getting IT resources for e-commerce projects. 18% 18%

NETSUITE FOR RETAIL

Interested in finding out more about a robust and fastly implemented cloud technology to make your omni-channel strategy. Download our complete NetSuite guide for retailers: “Satisfy your omni-channel shoppers.”

5. Thou shalt not murder inventory at the hands of a single channel.

Omni-channel never use single channel strategies. Channel purist consumers are vanishing. To efficiently track consumer’s preferences, all channels must offer the same selection of products. Merchandising the same way in all channels helps establishing a real baseline of each channel’s sales performance. Online touch points cannot be considered a last resort for dumping excess inventory. An innovative platform is the necessary root of any attempt to offer full assortment availability across channels. When inventory and product information are centralised in the cloud, pioneering retailers have strong foundations to manage their strategies. Fulfilment, returns, pickup and delivery, should be addressed in one place, in real time.

6. Thou shalt not commit channel adultery.

Omni-channel is a lifelong commitment. 360-degree customer service is a marriage to multiple touch points. Cloud-based platforms make that commitment easy by enabling a complete view of inventory and CRM through a single platform. Unified systems that seamlessly connect the physical stores, mobile devices, e-commerce retail, tablets and call-centres are crucial to sustain global customer satisfaction. Platforms like NetSuite’s SuiteSuccess are are enabling Australian retailers to lead with unprecedented visibility into their business. With these suites they manage from marketing and sales to inventory and financials.

7. Thou shalt not steal from one channel at the expense of another.

Consumers today expect merchandise to be fulfilled from wherever it lives to wherever they want it. Platforms can’t inhibit access to inventory to understand consumer behaviour across channels fully. From an inventory standpoint, siloed data results in inaccurate inventory controls, overstocking and excessive carrying costs. Centralised data systems with powerful dashboards and reports like NetSuite help retailers pioneer in understanding how customer engagement and transactions happen across channels by “putting it all out there.” This way consumers choose their path. With access to customers’ files at the physical store, sales people offer highly differentiated and enhanced customer service. Knowing their customers’ purchase history, as well as dropped carts, empowers them to boost the in-store sales.

8. Thou shalt not bear witness against your e-commerce customer.

Fairness, consistency and transparency in pricing, availability and delivery must prevail across all channels. Using a strategic price disparity across channels is not discouraged, but if a loyal multiple channel customer wants to purchase an item in the store at the low price offered online, why wouldn’t the retailer enable that sale? According to Oracle research, half of leading retailers acknowledge cross-channel customers are more profitable than single-channel customers. It is a paramount task to adjust multi-channel shoppers’ price expectations and businesses fulfilment preferences with disjointed platforms. Robust centralised data clouds allow leading retailers to make customer-centric last-minute price decisions in each touchpoint.

How are Australian retailers overcoming organisational inhibitors?

Figure 2. Technology investment in a streamlined—or better still, single—platform is recognised as the best
means of achieving channel convergence:

  • Investment in a streamlined technology platform infrastructure. 57% 57%
  • An executive tasked with managing and improving the overall customer experience. 51% 51%
  • More coordination with marketing. 36% 36%
  • More coordination with stores. 36% 36%
  • Vendor ecosystems/partnerships that make point solution selection easier. 26% 26%
  • More experimentation. 25% 25%
  • Greater reliance on third parties (marketplaces or vendors) for technology and fulfilment infrastructure. 21% 21%
  • Solutions that doesn’t burden our IT department. 21% 21%
  • Case studies/success stories in my vertical. 11% 11%

9. Thy e-commerce retail team shalt not covet thy brick and mortar stores sales.

Whether a sale was consummated via clicks and credit or cash and carry, a sale is a sale. The problem comes when someone must take credit for that sale. Ideally, 93% of retail sales happen in stores, but maybe the relationship with the client started on an iPad in a coffee shop, or it began in an office PC. Most oftenm your customer will engage fully with your brand when they are physiucally in your store. But five years down the road, a lifetime customer will be with you as an online retailer, a shop store customer, in your mobile app and reading your social media and emails. It doesn’t matter where you first engaged, in the omni-channel retail reality, channel zealots can’t call the shots. Pioneering retailers with the help of Cloud-Based ERP can create strategies that reward associates both where the consumer demand generated and where it closed.

10. Thou shalt not covet thy competitor’s omni-channel strategy.

RSR research shows that 18% of retailers haven’t determined their cross-channel differentiator. In the omni-channel offering, even if the technology is the same, there are great opportunities to rise above the noise and differentiate. Centralised cloud data enables cross-channel customers visibility anytime and anywhere, allowing shopping experiences to be highly customisable. Cross-channel inventory strategies enable omni-channel marketing and offer powerful customer service tools as truly seamless experiences.

Need a specialist’s free advice?

Feel free to call an expert in Retail Enterprise Resource Planning Systems today. Find out how cloud-based technology can make your retail business a real omni-channel beast.

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52% Wholesale Distributors Moving to Cloud ERP. Are You?

52% Wholesale Distributors Moving to Cloud ERP. Are You?

Legacy, detached and out-dated solutions used by Australian wholesale distributors create a barrier to innovation and growth. These types of software increase IT costs and reduce business efficiency. A fully integrated Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software offers a complete solution to support wholesalers and distributors to lead, pioneer and differentiate in a newly disrupted industry.

The Wholesale and Distribution market is shrinking.

Inside FMCG magazine in the article: “What is driving wholesale bypass?” talks about the new challenge for wholesalers: e-commerce is reshaping the entire economy rapidly. We are seeing an end to wholesale as it is now. Wholesalers and distributors, who act as “middleman” between manufacturers and retailers, have suffered a weighty decline in revenue. Every day more businesses abandon distributors to use direct e-commerce solutions.

In 2017-18, Australia grocery wholesale revenue is likely to contract 0.6 per cent. Footwear wholesaling profitability has dropped over the past five years and is expected to reduce by a further 3.2 per cent. Online clothing stores weakened the demand in traditional channels, reducing retailer’s need for wholesalers. Their revenue is expected to fall by 1.0 per cent. Toy and sporting goods wholesalers shared the same difficult conditions and expect a 1.4 per cent decline in revenue.

What are leaders in the wholesale and distribution industry doing?

Kara Kennedy, in a blog for G2Crowd titled: “The State of B2B Australia Tech in 2017” wrote that Australia ranks No. 5 on the GEDI’s “Global Entrepreneurship Index.” She explains this high ranking shows that Australian display entrepreneurial attitudes towards technology adoption. This culture is supported by the Australian government’s digital agenda which encourages non-tech companies to pioneer and embrace evolving technologies. There is a big focus on digital innovation. The government aggressively pushes initiatives to include pathways for doing business with modernising technology.

Traditional wholesale distributors, who might be struggling in the Australian market, are called to invest in business management technologies. Pioneers are experiencing much more success in this tight market. In MDM’s survey: “The Outlook for Wholesale Distribution in 2017”, 52.4% of Australian wholesale distribution companies surveyed stated that they were already in the process of upgrading their systems. A further 20.3% was updating by the end of the year 2018.

%

Currently Upgrading Their Systems

%

Will be upgrading by the end of 2018

52% of wholesale distribution businesses are migrating to fully integrated and centralised ERP software solutions. Wholesale distributors in Australia search for specialised software vendors to develop cloud-based software, rather than several disjointed systems.

ERP systems broadly let them manage everything from financials and accounting to warehouse management, supply chain, inventory and demand planning to sales and marketing. Having all their business processes in one place, accessible everywhere in real time allows them to focus on their differentiation strategies and planning.

“There is a real need for wholesale distributors to invest in pioneering management systems. Businesses must address this as a priority. The future is becoming ever more digital. If you aren’t on board, you’ll be left behind. Having a digital platform is not a differentiator anymore, it is the standard. Efficiency and centralisation in a good ERP system, are now the keys to get that customer service differentiator.” says Michael Dean, Business Consultant at Klugo.

Richard Kloé, Managing Director at Headland Machinery, explains: “using NetSuite cloud technology gave us a competitive edge to lead in an incredibly tough market. Wholesale distributors must adapt to the fast and disrupting changes in the industry. Only state-of-the-art wholesale distribution software will give them freedom and ease across multiple channels. Technology like this can make a difference to drive success in a global economy.”

NETSUITE FOR WHOLESALE DISTRIBUTORS

Learn more about NetSuite leading technologies for Wholesale Distributors with our complete guide: “Transform Your Distribution Business with Software Built for the Cloud.”

Benefits of Cloud-Based ERP Software Solutions

Carrying out manual sales processes, financial management and administrative tasks can take hours. With a cloud-based system, time-consuming tasks such as submitting sales orders from the field to the back office can be automated and finished in under an hour. Making these processes faster allows employees and managers to have more time to focus on the real business differentiator: customer relationships and building a strong customer experience. According to Accenture’s “Digital Disconnect in Customer Engagement” survey: 81% Australian consumers admit that it is ‘frustrating’ or ‘extremely frustrating’ dealing with a company that does not make it easy to do business with them. 55% have switched providers due to poor customer service.

Cloud-based business platforms are changing the future of Australian businesses. We operate in a global economy – we can sell to anyone anywhere. We need to make the most of our smart inventory management software to help us lead the way in our region.” says Annaliese Kloé, CEO of Klugo and Managing Director of Headland Machinery.

Oracle NetSuite, in 2018, introduced to Australia their latest edition called: “SuiteSuccess” for wholesale distributors. This, out of the box software, puts together the leading practices of thousands of wholesale distributors around the globe. This knowledge base allows a fast implementation, saving time and money for distributors. The billable time spent explaining how to run their business, their accounting and inventory strategies disappears. It is quickly becoming the most affordable wholesale IT solution.

B2B customers act like consumers today: they prefer self-service tools with instant access to product information through their mobile devices. Business Procurement Managers are focussing on developing easy to use e-commerce websites. These managers search for fast or free shipping and immediate product availability. NetSuite is the Wholesale ERP that helps the leading Australian wholesalers to plan a perfect B2B omni-channel commerce customer journey. The platform helps to automate and deliver a consistent shopping experience with purchase orders that ship within a day or two. Businesses can provide sales that are accurate, complete, damage-free, easily returned, and competitively priced.

Running a successful small and medium-sized wholesale distribution business in Australia requires keeping pace with changes in technology, economy, workforce demographics, customer needs, pricing models, and more. These challenges often put distributors at a disadvantage to national or international operations. NetSuite’s SuiteSuccess fast implementation allows Australian business to maximise their investment. With NetSuite, they can see a quick return. With this technology wholesalers are leading within their industry quicker than ever before.

Need a specialist’s free advice?

Feel free to call an expert in Wholesale Enterprise Resource Planning System today. Find out how cloud-based technology can grow your wholesale and distribution business.

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Overcome The Most Common Commercial HVAC Contractor Problems

Overcome The Most Common Commercial HVAC Contractor Problems

 Key players in the HVAC industry are those who service commercial and industrial markets, as identified by IBISWorld.

However, it’s a competitive sector that, like any industry, poses problems and challenges for businesses to overcome and remain competitive.

Here’s some of the most common problems encountered in the commercial HVAC industry and how they can be addressed.

 

 

Competition

All you need to do is a quick Google search and you’ll find thousands of HVAC businesses across the country.

Ranging from small businesses with a handful of employees to nationwide chains, it’s a busy and competitive landscape.

There’s always going to be competition in any industry, so it’s all about how you use opportunities to gain that edge.

A couple of simple ways to remain competitive are to ensure that you invest time in your current customers – word of mouth goes a long way.

It’s also important to make sure that your sales and support teams are driving up-sell and cross-sell, going the extra mile and providing unique offerings to customers.

 

%

Don't Use Field Service Software

%

Dont have a CRM

Regular Maintenance

As an HVAC business, ensuring that you offer preventative maintenance programs to your customers is critical to your company’s success.

With regular checkups and service, most problems such as those caused by mechanical wear and tear, can be identified and corrected to save future issues down the line that prevents equipment from performing as it should – and contributes to the all-important end goal of retaining happy customers.

 

Customer Relationships

Customers can get frustrated when their HVAC systems aren’t working properly.

As with many service businesses, HVAC companies have to deal with and manage customer relationships on a regular basis.

It’s important to have solid HVAC service software in place that allows you to quickly view customer records, provide prompt support, improve satisfaction and attract new customers.

This will also help you ensure that your technicians attend service calls promptly and efficiently with the correct equipment for the specific job.

Manage Costs

Investing in transport and specialised equipment is expensive, but they are necessary costs for a commercial HVAC business to pay.

A common issue that commercial HVAC businesses have is locating equipment or stock – and then having to replace or repair it.

With NextService, this easy-to-use field service software provides users with the ability to integrate their back office systems with their other software packages to ensure that assets are tracked, gain visibility into all details, view maintenance schedules, utilisation and more.

 

HVAC Service Software

If you’re interested in learning more about the importance of a one-system HVAC service software solution and how you can easily manage your field service techicians, check out our article about new technology in the HVAC industry.

Alternatively, download the brochure below or get in touch with an expert.

 

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Four Steps to Successful Digital Transformation in Medical Device Distribution

Four Steps to Successful Digital Transformation in Medical Device Distribution

Digital Transformation in Medical Device Distribution

Digital disruption is well and truly underway in the medical device distribution industry, and businesses must reinvent themselves as digital companies to stay ahead and relevant in this ever-evolving market.

New digital tools and technologies on the market are disrupting the usual product-and-service development processes, customer interactions, delivery management, back-office operations and supplier relationships.

Many medical device distribution companies are focusing on new technology to overcome challenges and improve customer relations, minimise costs, streamline operations and better manage changing industry regulations.

We’ve compiled four steps to successful digital transformation in medical device distribution.

Step One: Identify and Prioritise Critical Value Sources

Firstly, businesses determine where they provide value to customers and clarify how the use of digital technologies can enable these activities.

Following this, distributors then need to decide how best to adjust investments in digital technologies and development approaches to meet the highest priorities.

Step Two: Build Service-Delivery Offerings

Medical device distributors are increasingly building and increasing their offerings to expand on their product portfolio and services.

Companies are taking the time to understand user needs in full detail, using real-time insights to reimagine workflows as complete activities to automate processes and personalise outcomes.

For example, real-time supply chain insights could help medical device distributors reduce general and admin costs, while improving customer service.

Step Three: Modernise Business Foundations

When digital priorities have been identified, the next step for medical device distributors is to examine their IT foundations and ask the important question: is your system fully capable of supporting required activities?

Complex legacy systems are often the turning point in companies choosing to go digital. While these systems may have been suitable years ago, nowadays they’re often fragmented, slow and unable to offer transparency in business operations.

To support strategic priorities and agile development approaches, businesses seek to modernise their IT system to build a solid, reliable and flexible platform for quick and easy access to a “single source of truth”.

Step Four: Strengthen Core Capabilities 

Transformations require strong core competencies in several areas of the business.

The winners are those who move quickly to initiate change and embrace new developments and operating models, relying on real-time data driven insights to make crucial business decisions.

It’s the medical device distributors who are reinventing themselves as digital enterprises; adapting and collaborating, and most importantly, keeping up with changes in the industry.

Want to Find Out More?

For more information on digital transformation in medical device distribution, download the brochure below or get in touch with an expert.

New Tools of the Trade Needed for Retailers

New Tools of the Trade Needed for Retailers

Expanding Into Global Markets

The global cross-border eCommerce market is set to grow by 25% annually, so for retailers, their opportunities to grow often lie outside their immediate borders.

Driven by the demand for better prices and reliable product quality in countries such as China and across South-East Asia, retailers can no longer rely on their local customer base, with the need to view regional and global markets as the “new local”.

Out With The Old, In With The New

While traditional approaches to payments, fulfilment and customer service may still work for local customers in bricks-and-mortar stores, if retailers want to break into the international market, it’s out with the old and in with the new.

Retailers of all sizes and sectors need to harness the power of new technologies and processes that can effectively launch customer-facing channels anywhere in the world.

Challenges that retailers often face span across the following areas:

  • Managing inventory and fulfilment.
  • Currency and tax management processes to comply with regulations across different countries.
  • Customer service and managing relationships with global buyers.

It’s Time for New “Tools of the Trade”

One in four Australian customers expect their orders to arrive from another country within three days. And, while deliveries must be fast, the post-sales services like returns and repairs must be equally as efficient.

To cope with the above challenges, complexity, and demand that cross-border markets bring, it’s time for new tools of the trade.

So, if retail businesses want to succeed, it’s critical that they take advantage of what’s available to them in order to fulfil their customers and continue to expand the business.

This includes automating current processes, scaling to fit emerging opportunities, delivering real-time visibility and gaining insight into where future opportunities lie.

Retail ERP Software

In order to manage the many complexities that lie within managing a retail business, along with ensuring that cross-border customers are kept happy, an increasing number of companies are seeking retail ERP software to help them stay competitive.

Real-time visibility into inventory levels, delivery performance, order management, CRM, multiple currency management  and eCommerce all contribute to why retailers choose ERP software – but above everything, retailers must adopt an open, agile mindset about their overseas opportunities.

To find out more, download the white paper below or get in touch with an expert.