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The Omni-Channel Retail Customer is Changing

The Omni-Channel Retail Customer is Changing

In 2019, the average consumer has evolved into a multi-channel purchasing machine. As the traditional customer buying journey continues to grow, retailers and wholesalers need to consider opportunities to cater to a new, savvier buyer.

The question is though, where should retailers be investing to ensure they are front and centre in their customers’ buying process, and what changes can they make today to begin moving towards an accurate omnichannel focus.

So, what is omni-channel retail?

Omni-channel is a term given to standardising and streamlining a customer’s buying experience across all potential points of purchase. Whether in a bricks-and-mortar store, online, on the phone, ordering from a catalogue, door to door, or on social media, the focus of omnichannel is to provide a seamless transition between all points of engagement.

The good news is that in 2019, giving your customers a genuinely engaging and valuable omni-channel experience is easier than ever with the help of modern technology, eCommerce solutions and cloud ERP.

That being said, the key to minimising the difficulty in managing this technology platform is investing in a single, business-wide solution. This platform should cover from eCommerce, POS through to order fulfilment, warehouse management and pick-pack-ship automation.

When retailers invest in a single system, they are consolidating the mass amounts of data they collect into a single database, which means automation, workflow, reporting and business intelligence becomes standard, not the exception.

Rise or fall? It’s up to you.

Retailers who are reporting strong growth and stable revenue streams have already made a significant investment in technology ecosystems to support the changing needs of their modern consumers. Retailers indicate that the unification of their management into a single cloud system has not only streamlined their operations and increased their efficiency, but it has also made it possible to begin trialling bleeding edge retail strategies, and it is paying off.

In 2019, one in every three dollars of discretionary income in the USA is spent online, and Australian consumers are quickly catching up. In a recent report, consumer behaviour trends state that the number 1 thing customers do before making an in-store purchase is to check both product and seller ratings online. Customers are searching for information to confirm from other buyers that the product is as described and well received.

%

Discretionary income spent online in US.

In consumer electronics, this is especially so with 82% of consumers who purchased goods over $500 reporting that they had researched the product online either before coming to the store or whilst in the store.

%

Research online before purchasing.

Consumers are not just looking for positive or negative product reviews, they check additional information about the product and make price comparisons with other distributors of the product.

What does this mean for retailers and wholesalers?

It is quite simple. If you are not focusing on gaining positive online reviews, providing additional information online about the products you sell as well as ensuring that your products are competitively priced, then you will lose your buyers either at the point of sale or worse, before they even walk in your store. Also, if you are not offering your customers an easy way to purchase online, you might be losing the battle before it even starts.

In an increasingly competitive retail environment, every sale is hard won. The retailers that are providing customers with the path of least resistance are experiencing increased sales, marketing visibility and leaving their competitors in their wake. Omni-channel customer experience is crucial.

The stakes are rising for omni-channel retail companies.

In a recent study on online purchasing behaviour, researchers discovered that consumer willingness to buy online had almost doubled in the past five years, and the amount they are willing to spend online had also nearly doubled to an average of $720.

When asked what drove a customer’s decision to complete their cart and make their purchase the results were mixed, which means retailers need to be willing and able to satisfy many different purchasing criteria’s to fulfil the consumer psychology that essentially drives people to buy online.

Online shoppers expect to return one in every four online purchases. Online stores with generous return policies are experiencing higher levels of sales. A popular incentive is providing “free shipping for returns”.

Industry giant, ASOS pioneered this strategy more than four years ago and immediately saw a sharp rise in both their online orders by dollar and unit value, but also the average total purchase and number of items purchased in a single transaction.

Many online retailers have followed suit and are now providing their customers with the same incentive, and the results are positive. Their trials of omni-channel retailing examples have given them enough information to make key decisions towards continued investment into all things omni-channel.

Whilst there is a cost incurred to cover returns shipping, as well as administrative and operational costs to process, inspect and restock returned items, businesses that have taken the time to invest in the right ERP software have optimised their internal systems to minimise the overall impact and net cost of offering this incentive.

Realistically, without a single integrated ecosystem of software and technology, retailers and wholesalers could find this type of incentive challenging to manage. However, when you have a system that is designed to simplify your operations, then the options for experimenting with new and enticing customer incentives becomes manageable, and potentially, more importantly, MEASURABLE.

Designing your omni-channel retail strategy.

To ensure success with any significant realignment of strategy is to research, plan carefully and execute, but the journey shouldn’t stop there. Smart retailers understand that we are now operating in a market that changes faster than ever before and to be able to compete and stay relevant they need to have a system that is as agile as consumer trends.

The key outcome of a successful omni-channel retail strategy is giving the consumer what they want. To succeed, companies need to define what they want to offer and then design a plan to deliver it. It seems simple, but even slight changes in strategy can have significant impacts operationally. Having the right technology ecosystem to support these changes is vital.

Define the Key Motivation Factors for your customers, and you will be able to design a correct strategy that appeals to them. As with traditional marketing efforts, accurately profiling and segmenting your market will offer many rewards. The things that motivate one demographic of shopper won’t necessarily motivate another.

A recent study into the motivations of different generations buying online revealed some interesting insights:

%

53% of Generation Z's were highly motivated by shipping, but only 23% of seniors listed this as a critical factor.

%

52% of Millennials stated that limited time discounts more enticed them, a tactic not as effective on Baby Boomers.

%

The key driver for both Baby Boomers and Seniors was data privacy and website security. 50% said that if they found it difficult to trust a web-store and would only consider purchasing if they had a friend or family member who had already purchased there.

Retailers and wholesalers need to not only understand these key consumer behaviours, but they need to plan and execute strategies in line with research data. If they don’t, they are limiting their chances of successfully converting customers, or worse, not even getting them to the online cart stage in the first place.

Using omni-channel to support in-store sales success.

While most retailers are focused on increasing sales and conversions online, successful retailers understand that their online presence should be designed to engage, inspire and provide real value to a customer, even without the intent of purchase.

The sky is the limit when it comes to engaging with your customers, and there is no one answer on the best way to do this. Innovations in retail have seen Artificial Intelligence and Virtual Reality starting to creep. New technology like 3D body scanning, virtual change-room and augmented reality experience are beginning to sneak into the mainstream marketing tactics of more astute retailers, and consumers love it.

Starting right with success in mind.

In 2019, new competitors to the market have the benefit of being able to choose modern technology and ERP platforms to support their businesses not only in the start-up phase but well beyond. Solutions like NetSuite SuiteSuccess Starter and Emerging Markets edition are designed to give a growing retailer a platform to manage their immediate requirements and continue to evolve and scale as their business grows.

With functionality covering Sales and Marketing Automation, Wholesale Distribution and Warehouse Management, POS and integrated eCommerce, small wholesalers and retailers can more effectively compete in an increasingly crowded and noisy market.

Many old retailers have grown on top of a legacy and outdated on-premise technology platforms, and are unable to migrate to a modern solution without a significant upheaval. Smaller and newer retailers have the opportunity not to make the same mistake as the software available in 2019 is more integrated, modern, scalable and modular.

A smart move for retailers is to invest in technology that puts the customer in the centre and provides real-time data about their responses and buying behaviours. Start with an omni-channel focus but keep things simple, invest in a solution that can grow with you in the future.

Retail trends 2020 and beyond.

The state of omni-channel retail trends has changed. More and more companies accept that omni-channel is not part of an innovative strategy, but a critical factor to stay relevant and deliver competitive customer service.

At Klugo, we have helped many Australian retailers and wholesale distribution systems modernise their IT strategy, with the world’s leading omni-channel Retail ERP platform, NetSuite. This cloud platform provides an opportunity to streamline and accelerate your growth, with a focus on simplifying your data management and customer service. As a single system solution, NetSuite was born omni-channel. From web-store to bricks-and-mortar retailers have access to a single platform of technology to manage their entire customers’ buying cycle, as well as have access to key metrics and data that help them differentiate in an aggressive market.

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How Aussie Retailers are Surviving the Arrival of Amazon

How Aussie Retailers are Surviving the Arrival of Amazon

After a slow Christmas, retail businesses across Australia brace for 2019. Investing in efficient and fast-implemented technology seems to be the trending solution to aid the highly competitive retail industry.

With increasing adoption of Google Home, Apple’s Siri and now Amazon’s Alexa, artificial intelligence makes decisions for consumers. “Hey Google, order milk”, yet Australian retailers aren’t ready to scale to the level of service offered by Amazon’s Alexa.

“Don’t wait for the consumer to come to your milk shop, take your milk to the customer where and when they want it.” says Paula Dootson from ABC.

PWC in their Q1 2018-219 survey report says that half of the consumers (51 per cent) turned to innovative retail technology like ‘Click-and-Collect’ and ‘buy now, pay later’. Only 44% shopped at bricks-and-mortar stores weekly. 46 per cent of respondents stated mobile payment is their preferred method when purchasing in-store. Mobile sales became the dominant force for Black Friday, mobile sales for 2017 were up 112 per cent. To succeed, retailers need to invest in technology to integrate with Internet of Things devices, and shift to a proactive approach to customer needs.

    %

    Shoppers turned to innovative technologies.

    %

    Shoppers use brick-and-mortar stores weekly.

    %

    Shoppers prefer mobile payment methods.

    %

    Mobile sales growth on Black Friday 2017.

    How Amazon Survived  2018

    Amazon, the American retail giant, is the largest online retail business in the world. Its reported an annual revenue in 2018 of $135.99 billion USD – twice the combined revenue of its nearest competitors; JD.com, Alibaba and eBay. The arrival of Amazon was major wake up call to the local Aussie retail market. A Commonwealth Bank survey found that 41% of businesses saw Amazon as a threat – and it’s no surprise; while Amazon is not only the biggest retailer on the earth – it’s also larger than most of our own retailers combined.

    2018 was a challenging year for Amazon says Claire Webber strategist from MercelBell, even with the strong push of the budget they bring from the US, 2018 was a slow burn. But 2019 will, unsurprisingly, see Amazon growing. Amazon Australia is now undercutting the dominant supermarket chains by as much as 50 per cent on household staples.

    Consulting firm Bain & Company predicts that Amazon could become Australia’s sixth largest retailer by 2022, this thanks to their vast omni-channel experience along with their strategies setting the bar in terms of price and convenience. Amazon is winning customer’s hearts and minds with their seamless buyer experience and convenience in price and delivery.

    Aussie Retailers Are Not Winning The Price War

    While there’s no reason that smaller, independent businesses can’t thrive, it’s JB Hi-Fi, Harvey Norman, Myer and David Jones that are in the firing line.

    Scott Kilmartin, producer of documentary ‘David vs Amazon’, explains “globally, these are the type of businesses that Amazon has a huge impact on. Businesses have to focus on their customer and what they want rather than trying to compete on price.”

    The arrival has no doubt caused plenty of headaches for retailers’ management teams and investors across the country. Amazon’s dominance is drawing shoppers away from traditional brick-and-mortar stores to Amazon’s online store. Amazon’s Online Local Fashion Store, houses more than 150 Australian fashion brands including Sol Sana, Finders Keepers, Lorna Jane, Cooper St, Oroton, Tony Bianco, and many others.

    One of Amazon’s draw-cards is that it offers lower prices than other retail stores and eCommerce sites. However, for Aussie businesses, a price war is not the strategy to take. Aside from low prices and a wide variety of products, one other factor that attracts so many individuals to Amazon is their fast and cheap delivery options. This is where competitors, like JB Hi-Fi, are trying to compete. Having already launched a speedy same day delivery plan for online customers, and in some cases, delivery within three hours, they’re upping their game to make their omni-channel experience more appealing.

    What Does the Future Look Like?

    According to ABS, a faint hope lurks in the horizon for the retail industry, as sales closed up by 0.4% ($27.1 billion) in November, beating all expectations. This push mostly driven by Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales, narrowed again during December, with shoppers spending less on the Christmas season. Commonwealth Bank card data revealed a 3.7% decline in spending and Citi researchers tracked a 9% decline in foot traffic between Black Friday and Boxing Day, a slow year is to be expected but there’s room for innovation and differentiation.

    We’re experiencing a wave of smaller, innovative Aussie companies who are making their push to take on established industry giants. While Amazon is putting pressure on some of our household named brands, nearly half of younger consumers (41.8%), said they would switch brands if presented with a poor buying experience – so if retailers pay attention to their customers and remain innovative and transparent, they should be able to respond directly. For Aussie businesses, a business management system like NetSuite for Retail can give them the competitive edge they need to build up a great customer journey.

    With thousands of successful implementations, NetSuite has a deep understanding of the retail businesses in Australia and the many challenges they face. Leveraging this experience, NetSuite introduced SuiteSuccess to Australia, a new methodology for customers to succeed as their scale their businesses, fast. Here is how it works:

    1. The first step ensures retailers have a single view of customers, orders, items and inventory. A real-time platform with all the channels operating from a unified base.
    2. Once they have laid the foundation, retailers add eCommerce and other Omni-Channel capabilities that enhance and build up greater customer experience.
    3. Freed from the constraints of their legacy systems, businesses can tackle greater challenges such as a lack of visibility or inefficiencies in their supply chain.
    4. Ultimately, they can focus on more innovative and disruptive strategies such as pricing and margin management and business intelligence.

    Download NetSuite Guide for Retail and eCommerce

    Find in this guide all the modules and technologies integrated into NetSuite, the cloud-based ERP that can support your growth.

    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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    New Tools of the Trade Needed for Retailers

    New Tools of the Trade Needed for Retailers

    As the holiday season ends, retail projections tell that consumer spending may weaken slightly, but it will remain active in Australia this 2019. As we close the second decade of the millennium, challenges and opportunities arose in a highly competitive market where consumers’ behaviours and expectations evolve fast.

    Forbes describes Millennial as consumers that buy with their emotions instead of their wallets, they appeal to brands that promote social consciousness. Millennials buy experiences more than products, and for them, omni-channel is the new normal.

    Australian Retailers that want to adapt quickly to these changes must be backed up by the right management technology. Reducing the overhead time and investment in administration and IT enables decision-makers to focus on developing better customer experience strategies.

    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”.

     

    Australian eCommerce Market Revenue.

    Source: Contevo

    %

    Global eCommerce market is set to grow by 25% annually

    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.

    NetSuite ERP Software for Retail

    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.

    Download our white paper for eCommerce and Omni-Channel Retail with NetSuite: 

    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.

    Today’s consumers are more demanding than ever. They want to shop whenever and however they please through any channel—without sacrificing choice, convenience or price. Choosing an effective Business Management Platform can make the difference in delivering substantial and tangible results for retail businesses.

    References

    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.

    Top 5 SuiteSolutions to Improve Sales Management in NetSuite

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    4 Simple Steps to Reduce Cart Abandonment and Increase Online Sales

    4 Simple Steps to Reduce Cart Abandonment and Increase Online Sales

    You spent the money on marketing and created great ads, you attracted the shoppers into your eCommerce, and they came. They read, clicked, surfed and compared, but after promising signs of closing a sale, your potential customers left your site. They turned away. Why?

    In 2018, the online shopping industry is booming. This prosperity has caused a flood of new small businesses coming to the market in an attempt to get their piece of the pie. Unlike in the past, technology in this space has progressed immensely, and it is now easier than ever to integrate your website, online shopping carts, inventory management systems and CRM, into a single solution to give a true omni-channel experience.

    Furthermore, products like SuiteSuccess by NetSuite, are helping small retailers go live with industry-leading solutions quickly and providing them with a platform to build their businesses and grow their customer bases. The key performance indicator driving online businesses are sales. Simple, yet essential things need to be considered to ensure that when a customer reaches your shopping cart, you are giving them the best possible opportunity to convert and get the sale closed.

    Why is cart abandonment an issue all online retailers should be concerned about?

    In 2017, SaleCycle conducted a study where they consolidated statistics from over 500 global brands and discovered that the average number of shoppers leaving before purchase is an average of about 70% which is huge! Think of all the effort it took to get the shoppers there, and then they leave without purchasing.
    In an increasingly competitive market, every customer is gold. In 2018 sending abandoned cart emails to recover a customer isn’t enough. Many online retailers focus too much on traffic. The truth is, all the traffic in the world will not help your conversion rate. By giving your customer the best chance of converting, you will increase your sales and bottom line.

    Abandonment rates in related industries.

    • Travel 82.7% 82.7%
    • Retail 77.5% 77.5%
    • Fashion 66.8% 66.8%

    %

    All eCommerce

    So why are shoppers doing this and how can you help to combat this negative trend?

    1. Shopping Cart User Experience (UX)

    If it’s too hard to find what they want, they will leave. It’s key to ensure your website is as user-friendly as possible. Providing your site is responsive to all devices isn’t just important, it’s expected.

    It sounds obvious, but make sure you showcase a “Buy Now” button clearly on the page to encourage shoppers to progress to the checkout. If they do make it to the checkout, ensure there is a “Guest Payment” option. People do not like things that take too long. If you are forcing them to set up an account, they might think it is too time-consuming and bounce. It’s best to give your customers an option to check out as a guest. At the end of the checkout process, you can then prompt them to sign up to make the process more efficient next time.
    A good eCommerce software or retail ERP will make this process easy. Also, by having retail software that is integrated to your website, you can give customers live information about product availability. This information has been proven to be a significant factor in a buyer’s decision to purchase.

    eCommerce automation solutions also help by providing A/B testing options for landing pages and carts. By trialling different layouts, you will accurately see which ones work best for your site, and replicate this across your product range. Also, eCommerce Automation solutions allow you to send cart recovery emails to their email addresses with promotional offers such as free shipping costs. Often, this additional discount or offer is enough to bring the sale back to life.

    2. Online Payment Options

    Have you ever reached the checkout and realised that the site doesn’t accept your card? Frustrating right? One of the reasons people leave and abandon their carts is because your website only accepts a handful of payment options. Help your customers complete their purchase and reduce shopping cart abandonment rates, by offering many payment options. Flexibility is key. Leading retailers let their customers pay the way they want to.

    As a retailer, your goal is to create a personalised shopping experience and make that journey an enjoyable one for your customers. You might not think it’s important but having a variety of payment options for online shoppers such as PayPal, credit card, aids in a positive experience. In more recent times, services like AfterPay are giving shoppers the ability to buy now and pay later. Make sure you are meeting customer expectations and giving them what they want or more.

    With the way cloud technology has evolved, modernising your cart with multiple payment options is a quick and easy process and will reward you with lower rates of cart abandonment. Take the time to review the options you currently have available and make sure you are keeping up with current trends in payment products and gateways.

    3. Hidden costs and building trust

    Following from payment options as the number one concern customers have, they also dislike surprises – especially if it means they have to pay for shipping and tax fees. If these costs aren’t clear from the start, you will lose your customer.

    Display any hidden costs on your site, so your customer doesn’t feel like they have been cheated. Being upfront and honest at the start will assist with building a differentiated brand trust. eCommerce businesses have an additional trust barrier to eliminate that isn’t there in bricks and mortar stores. Because the customer can’t see, feel or smell the product they are placing trust in you as the retailer that your product will arrive as described.

    4. Lack of product range/availability

    Another critical factor that increases the chance of cart abandonment is product offering and availability. If there are limited size ranges, colour options or stock on hand, customers will turn away and look elsewhere. The Point of Sales is usually the place that bricks and mortar retail manage to trump online stores. Therefore, having real-time information about stock availability will not only increase your sales but also improve inventory management. Modernising cloud-based automation tools can go a long way to removing this burden for customers and suppliers. By having your inventory directly linked to your eCommerce cart, you can eliminate the uncertainty that some buyers have when it is not clear whether an item will be immediately available.

    To counter this effect, you could try and have a pre-order option on your website where customers can select the item, but it won’t be shipped until it is in stock. Another differentiation option is to have website functionality where your customer can find the article at the closest bricks and mortar store.

    Download the Guide: NetSuite for Retail and eCommerce

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

     At Klugo, we help businesses of all sizes leverage the power of NetSuite to improve their online sales, get a 360-degree view of their customers, and automate the accounting, inventory management and marketing processes, empowering managers and officers to lead their company’s growth.

    In recent months, NetSuite has announced the launch of its SuiteSuccess editions, which are now available in Australia and are taking the market by storm. SuiteSuccess Small Business Edition gives a growing online retailer a platform to grow. 

    By investing in the right technology early on, you can eliminate a lot of the complexity that comes with running a growing retail or distribution business and focus that time on building the business rather than running it. NetSuite SuiteSuccess editions come out of the box with industry-leading practices, that make going live in 45 days a reality.

    Need a specialist’s free advice?

    If you are a growing online retailer, a distributor who is wanting to expand their sales distribution channel or a large retailer who is wanting more accurate and usable data, talk to one of our experts today.

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    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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    The furniture retailing industry has faced a challenging market over the past five years. Weak consumer sentiment, reflecting subdued retail spending across the domestic economy, has adversely affected trading conditions.

    However, rising disposable incomes and increased demand for residential property construction have boosted industry revenue, which is expected to reach $7.4 billion in the next five years.

    So, what’s the difference between businesses who are reaping the rewards from the growth – and those who aren’t?

    Barely Surviving 

    Having disjointed business systems can be instrumental in the downfall of a furniture retailing company.

    Outdated technology and/or multiple business processes can be the cause of several issues that can impact long term success, including:

    • High operational costs and business inefficiencies.
    • Limited business growth.
    • Manual information exchanges that don’t communicate in real-time.
    • Lack of visibility into key business metrics.

    Successful home furnishing businesses spend their time on customer service and business strategy because they don’t need to focus on the management of spreadsheets, old on-premise solutions and/or point solutions.

    Thriving

    By acknowledging that modernising back-office technology is the key to making informed, data-driven decisions, home furnishing distributors have the insight to capitalise on new business opportunities.

    Streamlining operations is imperative for new product and service offerings, and development, supplier, and order  management.

    Successful home furnishing businesses are using agile business technology that allows them to explore new distribution channels, gain real-time industry specific KPIs, demand planning, supply chain, inbound shipment management, procurement, eCommerce and more – all in one complete system.

    In today’s fast paced environment, cloud software for retailers provides insight, which is the difference between businesses who are thriving and barely surviving.

    Cloud Software for Retailers