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Mobile optimisation to ERP software – what retailers should take from Black Friday (Part Two)

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In this second of our two-part feature, we look at the importance of having reliable Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software in place to support the management of your eCommerce site and improve customer service. 

The digital dust from Black Friday may have settled but the run up to Christmas is well underway, and is sure to present retailers with further opportunities to exponentially market and sell products online. In fact, internet sales per shopper in the UK have risen by almost 10% over the past twelve months (source, eConsultancy) and this only looks to increase as we move into the new year.

Read about the importance of mobile optimisation in the first part of our feature here.

In short, consumers are performing more and more online transactions every day, which means it’s more important than ever for retailers to ensure eCommerce systems are properly integrated with their ERP. If not, the shopping experience for customers can be severely disrupted, whilst everything else behind the scenes can be a real headache for staff and IT departments to manage.

Managing operations

The success of any organisation, whether B2C or B2B, relies heavily on the effective management of all its numerous departments, and eCommerce is no exception. What goes on behind the scenes is equally important as to what people see on the surface, from finance and inventory to customer relationship management. Throw the technical complexities of maintaining an eCommerce platform into the mix and all of a sudden there are multiple areas of your business requiring round-the-clock visibility.

When these areas are managed under one reliable system, visibility is vastly improved and staff are able to work cohesively across all departments, preventing misalignment between otherwise disparate systems.

To put this in perspective, Black Friday saw around a 37.5% increase in day-to-day online sales within the UK (source, Barclaycard). Managing multiple processes across independently operated systems, especially during busy periods like this, is far less efficient than if systems were properly unified. It can also lead to costly mistakes, which are a common result of having to manually input the same information again and again.

If a retailer’s stock control system is not linked to their eCommerce site, financials and order management, how are they going to adequately manage sales during busy periods? Running out of stock after orders have been placed and incorrectly billing customers are just some of the problems that they will likely encounter.

Furthermore, failing to integrate multiple systems is not exactly future-proof, as one system upgrade may render other connected systems incompatible and is by no means a robust solution for any business, least of all retailers with an eCommerce platform.

Thinking about customer service – 3 reasons ERP can help push online sales

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Customer management has become so much more complex, and this means that businesses of all types need a common back end in order to properly deal with their customers.

So what about for online retailers specifically, how can ERP software help drive more sales? Well, it’s the same as with any business and boils down to the quality of your customer service.

Quality customer service is reflective of effectual management behind the scenes; a unified system helps to streamline management, making processes quicker and simpler, the result of which filters down to each individual shopping experience.

Increased personalisation

Nowadays, online shoppers want a tailored experience that is relevant to their immediate needs. This requires access to customer information based on previous behaviours (order history, geo-location, items browsed, returns history, etc.), all of which can be cultivated and shared freely across properly integrated systems, allowing retailers to actively ‘customise’ every shopping experience before, during, and after sales. This may involve suggesting recommended or related items, trending products and services, or cross-selling to existing customers via an automated ad or email campaign.

Improved calls to action

Being able to implement and share data across their inventory and online shop enables retailers to keep customers informed of stock levels in real-time. This is not only a convenience, it also allows retailers to target  customers who have browsed a particular item and have yet to purchase, hopefully prompting a sale once stock-levels reach a critical level.

Improved responsiveness

An integrated system can allow a retailer to automatically notify customers when items have been shipped, returned, and when finances have been taken out of/credited to a customer’s accounts. This level of responsiveness helps establish trust, alleviating any customer doubts about sharing personal information and purchasing online. This makes customers more likely to come back again and again. 

If you already sell online, or are looking to start selling online, then it may be time to look at investing in seamlessly integrating your ERP with your eCommerce, or opting for a single solution that can manage all of your key business processes in one.

Read about the importance of mobile optimisation in the first part of our feature here. 

NoBlue provides NetSuite which is a single solution to support all your company’s back office processes including ERP (financials, inventory, order management, etc.), customer relationship management and eCommerce. 

Recent new NetSuite customers include WHSmith, Pret A Manger and Deliveroo. Read more about how they are using NetSuite here. 

If you’d like to discuss how integrated ERP can improve your customer management, then don’t hesitate to get in touch.

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