As a consumer I know how fickle I can be! If I see something I like but it is out of stock I won’t wait, I will search online and probably find a cheaper deal.
There is no brand loyalty online.
So, with declining in-store growth, retailers have two key challenges: efficiency with stock levels and connecting with consumers.
Dynamics 365 is helping retailers to utilise technological developments and the Internet of Things (IoT) to overcome these challenges. Integrating CRM, ERP and Office 365; it uses machine learning and Azure cloud technology to extend the reach and understanding of consumers alongside using real-time analytics to ensure back-office processes are as efficient as possible; offering a complete retail solution.
Understanding the consumer
Millennials are now the largest group of consumers in the world, a community often referred to as “tech-savvy”, and with Generation Z (mid 1990’s onwards who don’t even remember a time without technology) rising through the ranks, retailers must adapt in order to offer the service this group of consumers now demand. Indeed, In April, Debenhams even announced a change of strategy due in some motivation to fast growing mobile interaction.
However, embracing the digital age doesn’t simply mean having a mobile friendly ecommerce site; consumers are offering up information on a plate via interconnected IoT devices, and in return, expect a personalised experience – both in store and online.
The Internet of Things (IoT) is a network of connected objects/devices, embedded with sensors that transmit data. In the retail industry specifically, “things” can include RFID inventory tracking chips, traditional in-store infrared foot-traffic counters, cellular and Wi-Fi tracking systems, digital signage, a kiosk, or even a customer’s mobile device.”
With this reach, retailers have plenty of opportunity to extract information about their consumer groups and deliver the best possible customer experience. But, it’s pointless having access to this information if you can’t use it – retailers must therefore have suitable systems in place. As Dynamics 365 combines traditional CRM capabilities with Azure, it enables the organisation to gather and analyse real-time data to respond to customer demand; use preference information to up-sell and give automatic discounts to frequent shoppers. It will even offer consumers special birthday promotions.
Alleviate supply chain issues
Understanding behavioural habits is just one element of staying competitive. Offering a customer-centric approach means being able to respond in real-time to low stock levels. ASOS are a prime success story of this – by migrating it’s platform onto Microsoft Azure (cloud platform) they were able to handle more than double the volume of infamous Black Friday orders, compared to the previous year.
Not only does this help deliver the best possible service for customers, but it enables sustainable growth for the company, by reducing inefficiencies and delivering more streamline back-office processes. Traditional legacy systems rely on manual tracking of stock levels – a recipe for disaster when you consider the size and diversity of the some of the larger retail chains.
Dynamics ERP on the other hand offers insights, analytics and inventory management features, empowering retailers both big and small to make smarter more informed decisions on stock (in real time!) and ultimately, reduce the inefficiencies that come with managing a retail business. Additionally, migrating onto a Microsoft platform offers the familiarity of the standard Office suite, making it far easier for users to adapt to a new system.
Due to the proliferation of Dynamics in this industry, several Microsoft Partners are setting up dedicated Retail departments. This demonstrates the growing demand for consultants with retail skills. So, your experience in this field will make you a very valuable candidate. On the other hand, as more retail projects get underway the talent pool widens; creating the opportunity for those with similar skillsets to migrate into the Retail Dynamics space.
If you are a retailer looking to implement a Dynamics solutions, or consultant looking for a role, get in touch:
Cognitive Group are specialists in Microsoft Dynamics recruitment with a focus on Microsoft Dynamics AX jobs, Microsoft Dynamics CRM jobs and Microsoft Dynamics 365 jobs.