24 July 2023
Enhancing Efficiency and Profits: The benefits of integrations in the retail industry
Retail is a term that covers an incredibly broad and dynamic landscape. But whether you’re a car dealer, a grocer, or a department store, everyone in the industry faces similar challenges.
High churn rates and low employee engagement are a constant looming shadow, while you must race to keep your profitability up without making those problems worse.
Margins in the world of retail are typically tight, this means retail organisations don’t always have the disposable cash to spend on high-value ERP projects. This approach does leave cash for investment into stores, e-commerce, and inventory but it also comes with an inherent risk.
For a more cost-effective approach, a stronger retail software system will consider a very tight and well-supported integration strategy. This can enhance your existing retail HR software setup without costing a fortune in time and money to implement.
The below are key areas of consideration for retailers with these challenges as well as the most important outcomes from delivering these integrations.
Business integration solutions are all about improving and connecting your current processes. One way key improvement is through automation.
Automation involves using artificial intelligence and data to have a system or computer perform tasks without human intervention. It’s most commonly used for customer service purposes, but this is starting to spread out into other functions.
For example, you can have the system set up to process a service ticket and decide the next step. That may involve fulfilling a simple request, following up with a pre-written email, or forwarding it to someone who can help.
On its own, automation brings a lot of huge benefits to a retail organisation. You can expect faster feedback, improved quality assurance, and lower risk.
However, none of this is possible if you’re stuck with legacy systems that don’t communicate with one another. You’ll need everything connected in some way for the AI to have complete access to your system’s data and operations.
Easier Data Access
Another benefit of integrated retail systems is that it allows for easier data accessibility. A big part of the systems integration process is storing data from multiple different areas in a single location. A common type of location is a cloud network or platform offered by a service provider.
Since everything is connected either through the intranet or the internet, you can access data instantly. Changes made in one subsystem are synced automatically across all other systems.
Not only does this improve efficiency, but it also helps eliminate any errors. You won’t have to worry about the potential of working with outdated data or notifying other workers that changes were made.
One way to apply this is with inventory management and control. You can see when something runs out of stock as soon as it happens. Other employees will then know if new shipments have been ordered.
Business system integration allows more than just shared data. It also allows you to get performance insights related to every aspect of your business.
Retail data analytics means using the data collected by your various systems to optimise your business’s various processes and decisions. The platform you use should come with some kind of data visualisation feature that can help you view various patterns, trends, or associations.
The data gathered offers a greater understanding of how your customers shop, which can help you strengthen your entire retail management system. You can use that data to update your pricing, make changes to your supply chain, and improve customer service.
For example, there may be a certain product that has seen a noticeable amount of returns in recent weeks. You can gather and review data on the product, such as how quickly customers returned the product and their most common problems.
More Sales and Cost Efficiency
When you’re able to properly analyse customer behavior, you can use that information to better serve their needs. This can involve something like reorganizing your floor layout to prioritize certain products or eliminating products that aren’t selling. It may also involve changing up sales and marketing strategies for your more popular items.
One example is promoting items that are popular with buyers but don’t have a lot of reach. You can also try cross-selling by pairing certain types of items together or offering them as a package deal.
In addition, your business will save money by eliminating redundancies and menial tasks. Integrated systems allow you to automate tasks that may require two or more different databases. The employees previously in charge of that set of tasks can then benefit from a lightened load or be assigned a different role.
A big problem with legacy systems is that they weren’t made to integrate with newer architecture. As such, transferring all of the relevant data and replacing systems is usually done piecemeal to save on time and costs. This can make upgrading your retail software seem like a massive and intimidating task.
Once those systems are updated and integrated, it becomes much easier to connect to newer systems in the future.
MHR’s software solutions can be built with retail integration in mind, meaning you’ll get be able to draw from a single source of data while using all your retail software to its fullest potential. We’ll be able to talk you through your exact needs and build a retail software system that works with your strategy in mind.
Unlock all-new efficiencies without adding more admin to your employees.