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Ken Jacobsen, The TM Group Inc.

Is Your Company Ready for Holiday ERP Data?


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The holiday season can be a source of great business success or frustration depending on how a company prepares. Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's mean increased spending and travel, as well as general alterations of business and consumer routines.

A small business should employ CRM and ERP solutions to accommodate any change in normal practices. How a company handles increased CRM and ERP data needs during the holidays should be a good indication of how a business utilizes software features and where new solutions are required.

Increased traffic
People spend more money during the holidays. Consumers buy presents, families prepare their homes for guests and B2B companies make end-of-the-year purchases. Manufacturers must have products on hand and retailers should be ready to distribute goods.

Modern companies receive holiday orders from numerous sources. MarketingProfs reported eCommerce grew 17 percent from the 2013 holiday season to 2014. Much of that online traffic came from mobile devices. More consumers are turning to mobile solutions for holiday browsing even when they are shopping at a brick-and-mortar store. Eighty percent of customers who visit a physical location use their smartphones to compare deals.

Businesses need tools that can process phone, online and in-person orders. NetSuite's CRM, ERP, POS, and ecommerce solution offers a unified infrastructure that can handle data received from omnichannel operations all from one SaaS vendor. NetSuite's cloud solution offers an intuitive interface that unifies all the business processes including ecommerce and point of sale under one solution. A streamlined business solution facilitates increased traffic and unique orders.

Customer insight
Not all the data that pours in from the holidays is sent directly to a company. Any major sales season increases the amount of time consumers spend talking about a company online. The holiday seasons can cause an uptick in promotional searches and user reviews.

Social media monitoring tools allow a company to see how the general public feels about its products and services. Watching for use of certain keywords or tracking interactions on business social pages provides candid insight into customer opinions. Employees should capture the data collected from online monitoring in a CRM solution like Microsoft Dynamics CRM. Comparing direct interactions to social media chatter with Microsoft Social Engagement allows businesses to meet needs the customers don't communicate in person.

The holidays are a good chance to nurture relationships with existing clients. CRM systems help plan promotional messaging and communication guidelines with the people who use a business. A complete customer profile indicates best practices, although Inc. contributor Julie Gordon said most consumers prefer a physical card from companies over a digital option.

Informed marketing
The information a business captures over certain sales seasons helps the company plan for the next one. By logging the details of the holidays, an organization knows what products to promote and what marketing tactics would be effective in the future.

The holidays allow a company to look at specific trends. Additionally, businesses can track the progress of multiple marketing campaigns. CRM solutions can measure customer interaction with advertising content and contrasting the numbers to ERP data indicates how effective the material was at driving sales. Starting data analytic campaigns helps companies adapt new features.

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