Today’s retailers face a number of challenges, from changing shopping habits to dealing with returns. Here we go through some of the issues they are facing, and explain how a cloud-based solution, such as NetSuite, can help due to the proven success in this sector.
1. Changing shopping habits
In the age of omnichannel, consumers want to be able to do their buying in the way that works best for them, and they are looking for a seamless experience whether they are shopping online from a desktop or mobile device, over the phone or in a bricks and mortar store.
Many customers also have a habit of ‘showrooming’, which is where they will check out items in store, but then leave and make the purchase online, sometimes at a lower cost (and sometimes from your competitors).
If you are a retailer, how are you able to successfully manage your sales from these different channels, whilst ensuring you are providing a great customer experience and not losing out to your competitors?
How can NetSuite help?
A single integrated solution
NetSuite is an all encompassing business management solution that brings together all of your data into one place. So rather than using one system to manage your online sales, one to manage your call centre, and one to manage your in-store sales, you are using a single integrated solution.
Customer relationship management has become really complex, and NetSuite provides you with a common back end in order to properly deal with your customers, regardless of where you encounter them.
Your employees can access this ‘single version of the truth’ in real time which allows you to react quickly to changes in customer behaviour and stop them from going to your competitors.
2. Higher customer expectations
Consumers have become used to the high level of service they receive from the likes of Amazon, including fast payment processing, speedy delivery and a truly personalised shopping experience.
How can NetSuite help?
A personalised approach
Since NetSuite integrates all of your customer-facing and back office processes under a single system, it provides the complete visibility and functionality you need to provide the best quality service to your customers. You can carry out truly personalised sales and marketing activities based on your customer interactions.
Easily manage your deliveries
It’s also integrated with top shipping carriers (i.e. FedEx and UPS), allowing you to manage all of your shipping needs from within the same software. Plus you’ll have access to up-to-date shipping rates which increases efficiency and improves customer satisfaction.
Integrated with your eCommerce offering
NetSuite can be integrated with your current eCommerce website or you can opt for NetSuite’s own eCommerce offering. SuiteCommerce allows you to provide an easy and information-rich shopping experience, even when dealing with different channels, different brands, different languages and / or different currencies.
Great eCommerce features
You can also take advantage of technology such as the shopping cart, faceted search, wish list and “previously viewed” items. Features such as these allow you to provide a more personal ‘Amazon-like’ experience.
3. Streamlining the returns process
Consumer expectations for the returns process are high – a smooth returns process is a key part of a strong experience, as it can reassure your customers that you are a reliable company to do business with. If it is long and complex, they will be more likely to take their business elsewhere next time.
The Consumer Contracts Regulations apply to items bought online, at a distance, or away from a trader’s premises. Retailers must give consumers 14 days to cancel their order and provide a refund within 14 days of them returning the goods. This can be tricky to manage.
Whether or not you manage online or distance sales, returns can cause a number of administrative headaches. It can be a time-consuming and highly manual process; typically this will involve speaking to customers directly to confirm the details of the return, and manually setting up the necessary requirements to fulfil it, such as creating and sending out delivery labels and processing refunds.
How can NetSuite help?
Manage the whole returns process
Due to the integrated nature of NetSuite, the “Case Management” functionality is able to manage the whole returns process – from the initial assistance request and response with agreed and approved resolutions, through to the issuing of a “Return Merchandise Authorisation (RMA)” number which can be tracked through the normal goods-in procedure at your warehouse.
Once the goods have been received from the customer, you can then seamlessly initiate either an electronic payment for a cash refund, or a credit to the account. At each stage you can use workflows to prompt or inform the customer until the process is complete.
Easily monitor returns with alerts and workflows
Standard NetSuite functionality allows you to monitor returns and re-stock as appropriate. You can also set up a variety of alerts and workflows specific to your business. For example, you could set up an alert to let you know about any customers that return well above the average, allowing you to spot issues with a particular product line and correct them as soon as possible. You can also get in touch with those customers to find out if they are having any specific issues that you can help them with, improving your customer service.
In addition, you can initiate a variety of workflows; for example, you could set one up so that the processes are in place where upon receipt of a return, the product is sent to the right department where it can be assessed as to whether it is re-saleable or not.
It’s also possible to set up automatic emails based around certain triggers. For example, as soon as the 14-day cancellation period has ended, you could set up an automatic email asking your customers to review their recent purchase. Similarly, during the cancellation period, you could automatically email your customers to check they are happy with their purchase and remind them of your easy returns policy. This could go a long way towards customer loyalty.
Deal with your customers with confidence
With NetSuite you get a 360 degree view of your customers including their browsing behaviour, previous purchases, number of returns and payment history. And because you can track exactly when a customer’s 14-day cancellation period has started / ended, you can confidently reply to any customer enquiries, knowing the exact status of their order.
Record the cost of shipping returns
NetSuite can also automatically record and attribute the cost of shipping returns so you can get a real-time true view of your financials, providing you with the ability to accurately monitor and measure your return shipping costs.
Identify repeat returns
NetSuite allows you to run a report to help you easily identify which items are being returned. The purpose of this report is to identify repeat returns linked to a particular batch or manufacturer. Additionally, it can highlight any customers that repeatedly return items, so that you can communicate with them accordingly.
NetSuite has helped a large number of retailers solve their problems. Some of their new customers include clothing brand Fat Face and contemporary kitchenware brand Joseph Joseph. Take a look at some of relevant case studies here.
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