In the world of retail, Mary Portas has become renowned as the undisputed ‘Queen of Shops’. Having worked for top High Street brands like Harvey Nichols, Harrods, John Lewis and Topshop, she’s shared her vast experience and knowledge to improve retail businesses across the country.
Well, there’s another monarch in town, but don’t fear Mary, this regal rival isn’t after your crown. In fact, it serves as an effective companion to her forthright business advice.
Looks aren’t everything
While Mary’s TV shows aim to help struggling retailers with commercial advice and a few tricks of the trade, it’s mostly based around the overall look and feel of the store; its layout, branding, décor and customer engagement. When she leaves the business, the owners are left to fend for themselves when it comes to their day-to-day processes.
There’s more to making a retail business profitable than just its appearance, although that obviously helps. Modern retailers need to evolve from the traditional way of selling products in store and relying on walk-in trade. The way people buy products has changed drastically with the emergence of ecommerce and multi-channel selling. Today’s consumers are more likely to carry out research and buy their products online, without leaving the comfort of their armchair.
Don’t take our word for it. Numerous studies and reports have reached the same conclusion.
90% of consumers regularly research products online before they buy
86% of consumers will pay more for a better customer experience
23% of brick and mortar sales are influenced by their website
74% of customers leave if a website doesn’t load on their smartphone in 5 seconds
56% of consumers research a brand on social media before purchasing
75% of consumers said product information found on social channels influenced their shopping behaviour and enhanced brand loyalty
71% of customer go online first whenever they have a problem with a product
Survival of the efficient-est
Today’s retailers need to adapt to the way that they sell, putting the demands of a customer at the forefront of their minds if they are going to survive and thrive. This generally means that, as a retailer, you need to become more connected, more creative, and more proactive in order to compete.
In order to achieve this, as a retailer you need to:
All hail ERP
You can achieve this by implementing a new Business Management Solution (or ERP) within your company. One solution would be using Microsoft Dynamics NAV along with industry leading EPOS (Electronic Point of Sale).
Microsoft Dynamics NAV for Retail provides a complete integrated solution that will help retailers manage every aspect of their operation, from front of house (store or online) through to warehouse and suppliers. The functionality within Microsoft Dynamics NAV allows you to have up-to-date records of all sales through your tills and on your website, accurate stock levels in all locations, contact information about your customers and suppliers, and the complete financial status of the company, wherever you are and whenever you need it.
Long live the king
Easy to use and offering full visibility across the entire business, Microsoft Dynamics NAV for Retail can help to improve your overall efficiency. With access to the most relevant information, staff can provide a more satisfying customer experience, informing them about availability of stock, different locations and delivery times.
You will also be able to reduce costs by effective management of inventory, increasing awareness of stock levels in various locations, with automatic replenishment when stock hits a certain level. Buying trends will also be identified, so that you can anticipate your next big seller. All of this can be managed centrally rather than through each individual store, allowing you to control pricing, stock, merchandising, and supply chain, leading to reporting that is a lot more effective.
Hardly surprising then that many retail owners are suggesting that Microsoft Dynamics NAV is next in line for the throne as the new ‘King of Retail’ in the world of software.
Written by Mark Blackmore, Head of Telemarketing QBS Group
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