by   |    |  Estimated reading time: 4 minutes  |  in Retail

As you’re surely aware by now, there is a paradigm shift within retail. How do you tackle it? As bricks are replaced by clicks at an increasing speed, and the balance of power has shifted to the consumer, many companies fall short when it comes to securing the very backbone of any efficient retail approach: the ERP solution.

With that in place, though, the rest will follow with less obstacles.

Retailers are under extraordinary pressure, there is is no doubt about that. Every day I hear from retail companies affected by rapid developments within mobility, social channels, and IoT; and with endless numbers of global competitors lurking only a quick click or tap away.

They continuously strive for customer acquisition, retention and fulfilment, but it’s a long and winding road—and surprisingly many are still busy with front end solutions such as web pages and payment models instead of taking on a more holistic approach.

Pay attention to the foundation!

Why is it so important to secure the backbone? Because a major dilemma is that many companies run several sets of enterprise software in their operations, something that hampers future development, decision-making capabilities and agility.

As physical processes are pushed back in favor of digital, and new methods of doing business emerge, demands on the underlying IT functions are naturally raised.

Several crucial issues occur. Do we have the transparency required in the chain? Can we handle third-party logistics? What about traceability? And above all: who is the customer and what does his or her needs look like? This is crucial: the new frontier is all about personalization – the one who manages to engage the shopper through the right offers, at the right time, and at the right place, wins.

Important areas to master

To be able to handle all of the above, there simply are no shortcuts—you need a solid, integrated platform to rely on. With that in place, you enable management of all key elements required to facilitate the future retail experience:

  1. Become a fast mover. Adaptability, accessibility and agility are major success factors for any retailer. Responding to changing markets and seasonal demands are key to achieving profitability, something that requires immediate access to real time data—the full picture—together with the power to quickly adapt. With an integrated platform, you can make smart, speedy decisions based on current facts.
  2. Prepare for omni-channel shopping. As additional touchpoints constantly emerge, you stand chanceless without a trustworthy platform that puts you in control of the processes and helps you provide a consistent and safe shopping experience. Every retail company needs a unified foundation for research, selection and payment.
  3. Know your customer. With a range of means to research and compare, no customer simply need to be loyal anymore. Make sure you have a platform that helps you gather personal preference data in order to enhance the shopping experience. This is essential when it comes to making accurate forecasts, personalized offers, and to build long-lasting loyalty.

IFS empowers a forceful approach

After years of experience from working together with leading European retailers and wholesalers, IFS Applications is now among the top retail solutions available. Thanks to its component-based structure it supports a variety of needs while facilitating a faster and more aggressive retail approach:

  • IFS Applications was deployed in record time at Swedish home and leisure retailer Rusta: within nine months of the initial analysis.
  • Gina Tricot puts trust in IFS Applications, integrated with POS systems from IFS’ partner Centric, to become the fastest-growing chain for women’s fashion in the Nordic region.
  • Systembolaget, the Swedish alcohol monopoly, recently decided to upgrade to IFS Applications 9 in order to optimize workflows and productivity in its more than 400 stores.
  • Scandinavian sports and leisurewear retailer Stadium use IFS Applications to support its omni-channel strategy and to manage the entire supply chain efficiently.

IFS’ recent acquisition of VisionWaves, offering operational intelligence software, further improves the IFS retail suite as it now becomes possible to analyse, visualize and manage data in order to increase business performance.

(Picture at top via Augmented Pixels.)

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