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Indusa (now Synoptek)

E-commerce and ERP: Five Reasons it’s a Match Made in Retail Heaven


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For retail companies, the advent of technology has meant multiple channels by which to reach the customer. An omnichannel approach allows your customer to browse and buy at their convenience, whether at a physical brick-and-mortar store, through social media, on a website, or via phone. E-commerce in particular is a key technology channel which not only allows you to sell directly to the customer, but also to deploy, manage, and customize so as to create an end-to-end experience from a business operations standpoint as well. Choose to build an e-commerce approach with an ERP like Dynamics AX, and then you are able to incorporate inventory, catalog management, reporting, and more – everything that departments across your company need to manage and operate smartly.

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According to the research and advisory firm, Frost & Sullivan, B2B and retail e-commerce will hit $12 trillion worldwide by 2020. This huge volume of data and bottom line impact makes it both a challenge and an opportunity for you as a retailer. Let’s take a look at how the e-commerce capabilities in AX can transform your retail challenges into opportunities to win more customers and drive up sales:

1. Single View of all Data: More channels mean more technology, which means more disparate, siloed databases. With AX ERP and its built-in e-commerce capabilities, however, you can benefit from a single view of all data, no matter where the transaction is taking place – an outlet, online, or through the mail. AX allows you to build organization hierarchies, and access nodes to understand what is happening at any given location or channel. With PowerBI embedded in AX, and a Retail Channel Performance content pack, out-of-the-box never looked so good, with the ability to see high level data as well as click on various graphs and charts to drill down and learn more details:

As always, data is not important just for the sake of collecting data. Rather, there are many strategic uses that a single view of data can offer your retail enterprise. One is forecasting and demanding planning for your manufacturing unit; another is customer sales and preference history for your marketing unit; still another useful data view is pricing analysis of various products for the finance department.

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2. Real Time Access to Inventory for Sale From any Location: Dynamics AX ERP is a platform where you can track inventory in real-time; through its e-commerce features, you can enjoy a seamless experience. Say a customer orders a product online. That online order will be available immediately at the head office where rules-based order management will reserve the order inventory in the correct location and flag the order for collection in the chosen store. Through this automated effort, your backend teams know exactly how to account for inventory, and customer-facing teams can offer faster and convenient service to customers.

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3. Faster and Secure Credit Card Processing: Nothing is more frustrating for the customer than going through multiple steps online to purchase one of your products, only to get stuck at the payment stage. In the latest AX release, the platform supports integrated payments and Open ID integration to provide seamless user authentication. For the customer, it means a faster, secure checkout experience, and for you, it ensures payment verification.

4. Easier Online Experience for Customers: The newest release of AX allows third-party online stores to plugin and create a full-featured e-commerce site. AX includes shopping cart and checkout features that support cross channel scenarios. In addition, the platform can create a single customer identity and enable managing the customer account, order history, wish lists, and loyalty through the online store. For the customer, that means an enjoyable and consistent shopping experience.

5. Orchestrate Operational Gains: You can deploy, manage, and customize an online sales channel that is fully integrated with Microsoft Dynamics AX. This will help create concrete operational improvements, such as minimizing or eliminating manual data entry processes. Not only that, integration also enables you to better manage inventory and product information – both sales and returns.

As a modern retailer, you are probably strategizing as broadly (channels) and specifically (personalization) as possible. The combination of ERP and e-commerce aims to facilitate just that. For the customer, purchasing through your online retail site can be as simple as walking into a physical store. For your team, there can be improved readiness to service customers, stock inventory, and process payments. For the business, you can promote improved financial performance through online channels as well as increase brand loyalty. From all angles, the ERP and e-commerce link brings together two complementary and powerful technologies to create countless benefits.

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by Indusa

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