The COVID-19 pandemic has hit retailers hard. Overnight, malls, boutiques, and shops teeming with customers were evacuated. As the days dragged by and shutters remained close, many retailers had to let go of employees and even shut their shops permanently. We will see how, but this blog aims to show that this does not need to be the case for your retail business. You can still stay afloat, beat the competition, and rise to success with a little help from SAP!
Changing market conditions show no mercy on retailers
With the pandemic raising its ugly head, 2020 seemed to paint a dismal picture for the future of retail. Major retailers have been canceling orders and delaying payments to their suppliers. This forced some brands to store their seasonal articles or move them into distribution centers or outlets. For some retailers, the coronavirus pandemic increased the risk of bankruptcy due to store closures, while others barely made it through.
For example, Rubana Huq, the president of BGMEA (Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association), told the press that 3.18 billion orders were suspended. This had an impact on more than half of the 4 million garment workers in Bangladesh.
At the other end, brick-and-mortar presence is seeing a shift to the online commerce environment, which picked up at an exponential pace. E-commerce proved to be a pivotal moment for retailers, making it necessary for them to invest in digital capabilities. A critical aspect of staying competitive in such unprecedented times is the growth of technology and its importance in operational success.
Read on to find out how SAP plays a crucial role in turning things around for the retail industry.
SAP enables a differential strategy in the competitive market
More and more companies are recognizing the advantages of implementing SAP solutions. In the current recessionary and competitive market, delaying digital transition may prove a costly misstep that retail businesses will find hard to retrieve. Solutions offered by SAP can help retailers control various aspects of their business and identify trends in customer behavior and capitalize on opportunities at the right time.
With ever-changing customer behavior, SAP equips retailers to become customer-centric. It can help retailers analyze buying behavior by providing much-needed consumer insights. These insights will help them offer more personalized and delightful buying choices that attract customers and retain them.
Here is how SAP equips retailers:
- Provides real-time behavioral information, both online and in-store
- Reduces cycle time
- Helps retailers identify newer ways to find leads and build loyalty
- Streamlines operational process
Also, SAP solutions can help retailers offer a real-time personalized buying experience as it influences buyers’ behavior at the point of purchase. To create such a customized offering, retailers will need insight into buyers’ purchase history, profile, and shopping behavior. That’s where SAP solutions come to your rescue. SAP can provide retailers with all the information required to help them stay competitive.
SAP solutions help deal marketing and merchandise challenges
The retail industry can be volatile, especially during times like these. Retailers who manage seasonal merchandise might find it challenging to maintain multiple products and keep track of all that product data. Any incorrect data can prove costly for the organization. Such inaccurate data can also lead to a mismatch of data across all sales channels, presenting inconsistent product pricing and customers’ eventual loss.
Thankfully, SAP is the backbone for merchandise management, nullifying all these challenges. It comes with a simplified data model that offers end-to-end support for all retail functions. This concept works across the product lifecycle, from master data creation to stock management. It allows retailers to create and maintain the data effortlessly while ensuring pricing consistency across all the channels. These features can increase the organizations’ revenue, minimize data errors, enhance time to market, facilitate a better customer experience, and increase conversions.
Here is an example of how SAP solution helps:
Fewer markdowns: Retailers such as consumer electronics and fashion deal with seasonal goods. To stay competitive, retailers must ensure that these products are available in good time. SAP solutions offer more efficient season management and optimized ordering.
SAP solutions can help manage challenges in the supply chain
Inaccurate data can create challenges in planning, leading to longer response times and increasing the risk of losing the consumer to competitors. Fortunately, SAP solutions come with a single platform for all warehouse and transportation management. Features such as real-time analytics and advanced shipping capabilities can eliminate inventory challenges and enable live inventory management.
Thus, the supply chain process becomes agile and leads to higher revenue. It can also reduce the operating cost of the warehouse. By simplifying and automating processes, SAP can redefine retail and bring value to any retail business.
Following examples prove SAP helps with supply chain:
1. Fewer stock-outs
Supply chains are typically complex and need high levels of agility. SAP solution enables retailers to track procurement journeys automatically that helps reduce revenue loss due to the late arrival of seasonal goods.
2. Lower inventory costs
SAP can harmonize stock information and keep it up to date. At any given point, a retailer can intervene centrally and place a repeat order when necessary. This reduces inventory carrying costs and enables better inventory management which increases revenue.
3. Create seamless customer experiences
Retailers realize the significance of adopting sensor technology to create seamless and highly personalized business processes across all channels. SAP simplifies logistics and digital channel processes from order to payment, both in-store and online.
Key solutions from SAP for retailers
Here are some key solutions that SAP has made available, which can help your retail business:
1. SAP S/4HANA Retail solution for merchandise management
With the SAP S/4HANA retail solution for merchandise management, you can perform necessary checks on inventory, offers, availability across stores, and more in a single, unified view. It is instrumental in engaging your customers with cross-channel interactions.
Read more: SAP S/4HANA: Redefining End-To-End Solution
2. SAP Commerce Cloud
Through the SAP Commerce Cloud, retailers gain the ability to “launch new digital experiences with headless e-commerce capabilities.” SAP Commerce Cloud empowers your retail business with Web apps, chatbots, messengers, and other capabilities to enhance your customers’ digital experience, engagement, and conversions.
3. SAP Ariba Strategic Sourcing
The SAP Ariba Strategic Sourcing Suite is “a single, closed-loop, source-to-contract solution bundle for managing sourcing and suppliers across all spend categories.” It helps retailers efficiently manage their direct materials sourcing without going through laborious and faulty manual processes.
Read more: SAP Ariba & SAP IBP Integration to enhance supply chain visibility in manufacturing
4. SAP Extended Warehouse Management
The SAP Extended Warehouse Management system is a brilliant solution to managing high-volume warehouse operations. It gives you complete visibility of your supply chain logistics, warehouse operations, and distribution process, giving you seamless control and maximizing the use of your resources.
5. SAP Business One for Retail
SAP Business One for Retail is a comprehensive digital solution that enables retailers to manage all their retail operations, including Point of Sale (POS) insights. It helps retailers with better inventory control, a streamlined ordering process, and seamless multi-channel e-commerce.
Empower your retail business with SAP
An industry capable of adapting to new and evolving trends will rapidly recover from the pandemic’s effect. SAP solutions can help retailers examine those trends in great detail. SAP is a powerful tool that allows you to gather all the essential data needed to improve your business. Powered by insights gathered with the help of SAP solutions, retailers can redefine loyalty programs and stay competitive in the current market space.
Fingent offers custom implementation and migration services to SAP and can help you move quickly and make the best use of this technology NOW when you need it the most. Leveraging SAP solutions with a Silver Partner of SAP will give your retail business an added advantage. Drop us a message, and let’s get you started.
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Best Retail Mobile App Features To Enhance Your Customer Experience
Speed, convenience, innovation, and customer experience – these are the elements that drive the retail industry today. With consumers becoming increasingly connected and demanding personalized services, retail brands can no longer sit back and expect a good product to do the trick for them. Newer, smaller and yet better tech-enabled retail players are pushing into the market and giving big brands a run for their money. Technology is thus the biggest competitive advantage in today’s digital age, and retailers are recognizing the importance of mobile app technology to communicate their tech-driven goals. In this blog, we will discuss exactly how retail mobile apps are helping retailers boost their business. We will also discuss 3 must-have features in retail apps.
Related Reading: Although mobile apps are a source for greater business success, it’s vulnerable to hacker attacks. Check out the top 8 security issues incurred in mobile app development.
How A Retail Mobile App Can Help Boost Business
The number of mobile apps available today is a testimony to the popularity of mobile apps across the globe. A report by Statista shows that as of the first quarter of 2019, Android users were able to choose between 2.1 million apps and Apple’s App Store had nearly 1.8 million available apps. The demand for apps keeps increasing every day, which proves that they are the preferred choice of interaction among consumers today.
Convenience is the factor that is tipping the scales in favor of mobile apps. E-commerce and online shopping brought shopping into the homes of customers, but mobile apps go one step further and bring it to their fingertips. Here are a few more reasons how retail mobile apps are helping businesses boost sales.
- Increases Reach
The most important aspect of sales and marketing is to reach customers where they are. That’s where mobile app technology brings the biggest advantage. Here are some statistics to show that mobile devices are the best way to reach customers.
- Up to 70% of web traffic happens on a mobile device.
- U.S. consumers’ time spent on mobile crosses 5 hours a day.
- Customers have 2X more interactions with brands on mobile than anywhere else.
- Mobile app usage for shopping grew by 54% in 2017 and continues to increase.
As these statistics show, mobile apps are where the customer is and that is where retailers must focus.
- Builds Loyalty
Mobile apps allow the customer to interact directly with the company quickly and on their schedule. Push notifications and recommendations on their mobiles keep them connected to your brand at all times. Many mobile apps incorporate loyalty programs and gamification features into their mobile apps. This helps in increasing engagement with customers in the way they prefer it.
It also discourages customers from having to look elsewhere – the more they shop, the more they win and the more loyal they become. Rewarding customers for social sharing and referrals build loyalty to the brand as they feel included in the success of the business.
- Improves Efficiency
Mobile apps do much more than bring your products to consumers. They help in building efficiency along with providing ease of access. When it comes to helping customers, features like integrated shopping carts and payment gateways make the purchasing process much smoother and hassle-free.
From the operations perspective, this helps efficiently record, track and implement invoicing and inventory management. Mobile apps also offer features like employee scheduling, CRM, real-time inventory check-up and other functionalities that help employees better serve the needs of customers.
Contrary to driving business away from brick and mortar stores, mobile apps can impact and support in-store operations as well. With features that can help locate products in the store, Wishlist building, barcode scanners, and faster payment options, mobile apps can provide excellent support in-store as well.
3 Must-Have Features in A Retail Mobile App
Now that we’ve established how important mobile apps are in the retail business, let’s see what will get your app ahead of the competition. For a mobile app to be successful, it must be packed with features that are focused on making the customer’s journey hassle-free and enjoyable. As a start, here are some features that you absolutely must include in your mobile app.
1. Easy to Use Interface
This is one of the most important aspects to concentrate on when building a mobile app. This is the face of your company and the first point of interaction for a mobile app user. Logic dictates that this is where the customer will decide whether he wants to continue his journey with your brand or not. A few key principles to remember here are Simplicity, Ease and Brand Recognition. Do not overload your UX with too much information. Keep it simple. Ensure that the user can navigate through your site easily with simple drop-down menus and clear icons. Ensure that your brand colors, logo and other aspects of your brand image are clearly communicated in your UX.
2. Hassle-Free Purchase Options
Impulse buys are the most important advantage for retailers even when it comes to mobile apps. The best way to capitalize on this is to ensure that the customer is led through the purchase process quickly and without any hiccups. The moment customers face a glitch in the purchase process, the frustration caused could overrule their impulse to buy. The result is abandoned carts and loss of customer loyalty.
To combat this, it is important to offer multiple purchase options. In addition to cash and card on delivery, other options like debit and credit cards, Google Pay, Apple Pay, and PayPal must be included. This will allow the customer to make the purchase the way they prefer. Easy returns options are another way to ensure that the customer doesn’t hesitate to make the purchase. Ensuring that the inventory is up to date is also an important aspect of eliminating buyer frustration and improving customer retention.
3. Personalized Experience
Machine Learning has brought the online shopping experience a long way from what it used to be. Shoppers don’t have to deal with irrelevant spam emails or browsing through thousands of products to find what they want. Apps equipped with machine learning now know exactly what the customer wants when they want it and the best way to give it to them.
Apps are continuously learning customers’ buying preferences and finding ways to personalize the experience for them. Push notifications featuring the items they like and specialized offers for those products will give buyer’s added incentive to purchase from you.
Are you looking forward to building an innovative mobile app to boost your revenue? Get your FREE mobile app specification template here!
Go Custom with Retail Mobile Apps
While we have presented just three must feature to be included in your mobile app, there are many more that may be relevant to your particular brand and customer base. At Fingent, we specialize in custom-built mobile apps to cater to our client’s unique needs. Give us a call and let’s talk.
Read More: Mobile App Development : 4 Tips To Consider