What retailers need to look for in an ERP solution

  • Posted on March 21, 2017

ERP for retail

The following blog post was written by Avanade alum Nick Lefkonidjates.

Today’s retailers face a complex operating environment. They need to sell seamlessly across multiple channels. They need to deal efficiently with a huge number of daily transactions. And they must accommodate an increasingly global customer base. It’s no longer enough just to have the right products in the right place at the right time. Instead, it’s about being proactive and thinking ‘consumer first’.

Of course, many retailers realise this. That’s why they’re bolstering their social efforts, improving their mobile shopping experience and implementing smart technology instore  [CLICK TO TWEET].

However, this is leading to a situation where for some retailers, front-end innovation is being favoured ahead of holistic change. And, as a result of this, back-end processes are struggling to keep up with the rest of the business. Addressing this mismatch is critical.

An efficient backend system allows any retailer to effectively manage its inventory, supply chain and orders. A key part of this is the ERP system, which helps retailers bring their disparate systems together and allows for a complete view of operations.

For instance, an ERP can allow a food and grocery retailer to better instruct their farmers on how much of what produce to deliver the following week. Fast fashion retailers can tell their manufacturers which garment designs are flying off the racks. Sport apparel retailers can forecast which styles and colours will be popular a season in advance.

ERP has many uses but, to ensure success, retailers need to find an ERP supplier that understands the industry as a whole, as well as their vertical. They also need to find a supplier that can help them regardless of their digital state, as all retailers will be at different stages of the digital transformation journey.

Some tips for retailers to consider:

  • Look for easy ERP implementation. A suitable template solution will help as it’ll keep installation time and costs down.
  • Find an ERP solution that enables a holistic view. It’ll help you improve your instore experience and automate the way sales are fulfilled online.
  • Allow room for growth. A cloud solution can give you the foundations to operate as well as the option to add more users as necessary.
  • If you plan for international expansion, make sure your ERP solution can support multiple currencies, languages and jurisdictions.

With the right solution, retailers can leverage an ERP to create a more efficient, enriched and personalised customer experience. However, this requires a digital approach from the inside out. Retailers can no longer afford to focus of their efforts on customer-facing innovation. They need the right backend to support it.

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