In the fast-moving world of retail and hospitality, those companies building their business strategy around a customer experience that joins up both bricks & mortar and online shops are the ones that are successful
Digital technology is having a significant impact in retail. Electronic Point of Sale, online shops, marketplaces, digital customer record management, electronic payments and online accounting are well provisioned by a variety of systems and services, that mainly run in the cloud.
The challenge for businesses who are implementing systems is to join them together so that data and processes integrate and operate together. However, it is most likely that each system will have its own way of representing critical business data like Customers, Products, Stock and Sales. Each product is also likely to have its own view on what features and functionality are important.
Connecting these systems cost effectively is often difficult and complicated. Prioritising and identifying the areas where close integration will benefit retail operations, both in costs and time, is a way forward.
In retail businesses, accurately and efficiently managing stock, sales, products and returns across all channels is key. Integration can be straightforward and less expensive if the tools used take the following approach:
- Connect to standard two-way connections based on open and comprehensive API’s, such as those provided by Shopify, Xero and Vend.
- Integrate data by using a common data field like a SKU for example as the key, convert each system’s format to a standard format and then to the required format for the target system.
- Use flexible business rules to automate routine and time costly processes like product update, pricing, stock synchronisation, sales and refund transaction processing.
In the fast-moving world of retail and hospitality, those companies building their business strategy around a customer experience that joins up both bricks & mortar and online shops are the ones that are successful. Integration platforms, like TIDE, join businesses together by automating key processes. Costs are then managed and reduced, errors minimised, and importantly customer satisfaction is high because:
- All sales channels have a consistent and accurate view of stock levels
- Sales reporting is accurate and comprehensive, stock ordering and customer marketing can be optimised
- Fulfilment is timely and accurate because accurate stock levels and location are available and customer order information is complete
- Refunds and returns are accurately processed, even when dealing with multiple currencies
Connecting, integrating and automating a retail business need not be expensive, investing in tools to help achieve this reward both the business and ultimately their customers.