Meeting customer expectations with digital solutions
Digitization and the COVID pandemic have been major challenges in all sectors of commerce. Whether the wholesale, mail order or retail trade; hardly a single area in the retail sector should rely on entrenched forms of operation to cope in future.
The converse applies: the expectations of customers have changed dramatically when it comes to retailing. For that reason, dealers have to take into account the sometimes dramatic changes in customer demands in addition to the challenges that they are already facing. Because if they do not take heed of the interests of their customers they will not be able to gain new customers in future, nor will they be able to retain their existing customer base in the long term. What are therefore needed are solutions and strategies that cover both aspects: The challenges and the customers.
We are of the opinion that the answer must be digital, as a matter of urgency. Let us therefore take a look at a few challenges to commerce as examples and then see how software can help to overcome them.
How modern ERP systems help in meeting customer requirements
Todays customers use an increasing number of channels. Companies that wish to reach their target groups at all the relevant touch points must therefore also be found there. This requires multi-channel concepts: They could be your own Webshop, but also marketplaces such as Amazon and eBay or certain social media platforms. All the relevant channels must be integrated into the ERP system, and thus make seamless processes possible so that customers do not end in a digital maze when making the purchase or the initial contact.
Another example: From time to time customers have questions for the Service section. It is precisely here that there can be a problem if all the relevant data is not available. A modern ERP system such as SAP S/4HANA supports customer data management and ensures that there a uniform stock of data, including the customer history. Marketing Service and Sales are always at the same level all the time if it concerns giving answers to customer questions.
The price awareness of customers will increase at the latest if there is increasing inflation. This also applies to procurement: It is more necessary than ever before to keep a sharp eye on the prices when purchasing. Modern ERP systems can support you here as well. For example, they help you to purchase the right amount at a suitable time and for the best price. Trend and seasonal items can be also be organized well ahead of time by using an up to date ERP system.
Meeting delivery dates is increasingly more important for customers despite all the usual problems in the supply chain. Companies should therefore set up their ERP systems such that it is possible to keep an eye on all the supply chains across all locations – everything from purchasing and transport to warehousing. For example, warehousing capacities, locations and routes can be optimally planned for this.
Last but not least, the payment systems that are preferred by customers are becoming increasingly diverse. Whether it involves the classical invoice, instant bank transfer, credit card, PayPal or payment with a mobile telephone through systems such as Google Pay and Apply Pay: Accounting departments can only manage the various systems by having an ERP system that integrates the various forms of payment.
Summary: In commerce it depends on the ERP!
It has been shown that ERP systems are the key to a successful future when it comes to retaining companies. Modern ERP solutions such as SAP S.4HANA offer unlimited possibilities here. An example of this is support for subscription models, which are at the moment all the rage.
Do you have questions about S/4HANA and innovations in retail? Talk to us! We support retailers in entering the digital age.