3 Proven Software Integrations to Boost Retail Business Process Efficiency
Business efficiency is a sophisticated topic that on the surface appears easy to understand but can be very difficult to implement. The more processes, people, and software involved in the business, the more challenging it becomes to manage. Processes have different inputs, outputs, stages, and settings. People are divided into different teams often with different goals. The software speaks different languages and requires additional support. Add to the complexity that the retail business process is which includes simultaneous work online and offline. So, how does a business turn chaos into efficiency and create a predictable, repeatable process?
For online retail, a good starting point is the integration of third-party solutions. Things like PIM, CRM, and POS could skyrocket efficiency by decreasing human factors, automating routine activities, and reducing micromanagement. By implementing these systems, your business gains access to new capabilities and value that directly affect profit and customer satisfaction.
Product Information Management System (PIM)
Content management is a challenge for every online merchant. In most cases, it’s a cumbersome, manual process. The content team receives raw data from a supplier, examines it, adjusts it, and finally adds it to the website. When there’s an update, the process starts over.
In a manual process, to increase efficiency and bandwidth, more employees must be added. Such a solution significantly increases costs and does not affect the quality of the output. Fortunately, we have another option that is much more effective and less expensive in the long term. Integrate a Product Information management system or simply PIM.
PIM aims to automate the entire process. Let’s review how it helps on each stage:
- Automates processing and reduces human interaction. The data can be automatically collected, processed, systemized, and organized. No matter the number of attributes or the complexity of products, the data will always be in the order needed.
- Reduces time-to-market. With PIM integrated, your team doesn’t need to manually upload content to a website. The solutions make it happen within seconds. Moreover, the data already has the required format, look, and design.
- Boosts productivity. There is no need to hire additional employees to scale the process. PIM allows one specialist to handle more products simultaneously.
- Ensures security. With data stored in one place, you don’t need to be concerned about any losses. Only those authorized can add, edit, and delete product information.
Product Information Management system is crucial for almost every category of retail. From furniture & home furnishing retail to fashion, home improvement, and baby products. Any retail business process will benefit from it.
To give you an example of how PIM helped business in real-life, let’s review Printkick’s business:
Example from the Maven’s portfolio:
PrintKick is a family-owned business based in the UK selling merchandise products to businesses around Europe. The main difficulty in the merchandise industry is that every order is unique and made-to-order. This means a wide range of customization, tens of suppliers, and a lot of communication. When Printkick first came to Maven, they were suffering from an inability to scale their business.
The initial Business Analysis showed that overcoming these issues required a complete change to how business works. As part of this transformation, we decided to implement PIM.
PIM has solved many problems. First, PIM helped to manage work with suppliers. By automating this process, we were able to triple the number of Printkick’s suppliers. Next, the Client started to offer more SKUs because they are now able more easily to manage them. The overall SKU number grew from around 10,000 to more than 30,000 SKUs. Finally, all of this was completed with a $0 investment in hiring. Today, the same number of people work with 3 times more content.
Customer Relationship Management System (CRM)
Another significant efficiency loss happens within the customer services and marketing teams. Since both directly interact with customers and need personalized data to work better, they often operate under the same roof. The poorer these processes are managed, the lower the profit, customer satisfaction, and retention of the business.
Can the impact be quantified? Niel Patel’s research shows that 61% of customers take their business to a competitor after a poor customer service experience. At the same time, Instapage says 74% of customers feel frustrated when website content is not personalized. So, how does a business address both challenges simultaneously without micromanaging the teams? One strategy is to implement a Customer Relationship Management system or CRM.
The Customer Relationship Management system collects data about customers and processes it. As a result, you receive the following advantages:
- Effective customer support. With tight CRM integration, your customer service team can see all the necessary information on a customer to resolve issues faster. Plus, employees’ workflows can be reorganized by establishing different automation flows within the system, eliminating the need for managers to spend time on little things.
- Lower customer acquisition cost. CRM enables you to segment your customer and collect information on their behavior. The system becomes a single source that stores all the data about each customer. It allows your marketing team to create a variety of personalized offers including upsells, cross-sells, and recommendations as well as smarter email marketing, social media ads, and loyalty programs.
- Better reporting. The Customer Relationship Management system allows more detailed reporting on customers such as what a certain customer did, when, where, how often. Everything is stored securely in a single location, so the report could be accessed within a few clicks.
CRM systems are a cornerstone of furniture retail. Due to the specifics of the category, products are usually made-to-order. A CRM system is a perfect choice to simplify and automate communication between both customer and supplier.
Read also: Top 9 the most popular CRM for ecommerce
Example from the Maven’s portfolio:
Going back to Printkick, another aspect of the client’s business was the large amount of paperwork and manual communication. The agreement process on the order involved around 10 steps and took up to a few months from the first Request for a Quote to the final shipment. Customer, manager, and supplier were communicating with each other using different tools and channels, including regular mail.
CRM helped to resolve this problem. CRM became the central hub for any communication between each side. Any data, message, or other relevant pieces of information exchanged between the parties are stored in a single location for access at any time.
As a result, the amount of paperwork was reduced to almost zero, the number of orders processed by a single manager grew from a few to 10 or even 100, and requests for a quote time decreased from days to minutes.
Read more: Printkick Case Study. How custom-made CRM and OMS helped the largest merchandise business in the UK to succeed in digital transformation.
Point of Sale System (POS)
Last, but not least is inventory management and the connection between the online and offline part of the retail business. If you have a few warehouses, a few brick-and-mortar stores, or both, you know how challenging it can be to control stock levels without losses.
The challenge is a lack of visibility. The same is true with the omnichannel experience. Should you decide to connect your online presence and offline retail, it becomes a struggle to manage stock, prices, and other important details across the different channels. Poor management of these variables results in profit losses, negative customer experiences, and inefficient performance. Is there a way to automate this? Sure, integrate a Point-of-Sale (POS) solution.
More than likely you’ve heard about POS before. POS is well known to help register sales, calculate taxes, accept and process payments, and generate receipts. But that is not all POS can do. Modern POS systems can bring efficiency to a broader number of processes:
- Precise stock control. Custom Point of Sale includes inventory management functionality. Integrated POS includes real-time tracking of inventory, reordering, and forecasting functionality, and the ability to scale the system by adding more stores, channels, and warehouses.
- Seamless omnichannel experience. The Point of Sale system connects online and offline parts of the retail business process. New product info, stock statuses, special offers, and other important information can be updated automatically, everywhere at once.
- Better analytics. With everything integrated, you’re able to analyze the overall performance of the business from a single interface. Any sort of custom report could be generated rapidly and conveniently.
Additionally, the POS system helps to manage in-store employees and improve loyalty programs. The system is a perfect fit for businesses that already have different sales channels or want to develop them. Home improvement retailers, in particular, will benefit from POS due to category specifics like a huge number of SKUs and complicated customer decision-making processes.
Find out more: Maven’s POS software development services
Example from the Maven’s portfolio:
A great example of the positive effect of a POS integration is the Babypark business. Babypark is a children’s goods retail network in Europe with headquarters in the Netherlands and 11 brick and mortar megastores. Initially, the client needed to migrate their existing online store. This requirement quickly transformed into a much broader challenge. It became clear that Babypark growth was stalled due to outdated software architecture.
A core element of the software architecture was the Point of Sale system that the client had been using for over 20 years. Maven rebuilt the whole architecture and implemented a custom POS solution.
The custom POS system helped Babypark save money because the solution was custom-made and didn’t require any license fee. The company has significantly improved efficiency. The order process time is 30 times faster and updates from the ERP are 24 times faster. Quite simply, Babypark can process more orders and upload more products to their website.
There are 2 types of problem-solving. Reactive problem-solving is when you react immediately after the problem occurs. With proactive problem-solving, you try to predict what could cause a problem in the future and address it in advance. No matter when you integrate PIM, CRM, or POS, they will increase overall business efficiency. Moreover, these systems improve sales, ensure seamless workflow, and allow the business to grow faster and smarter. Does it sound reasonable to learn more?
Contact Maven today, and let us make the efficiency of your retail business process go through the roof.