Retail has seen a considerable transformation over the years, dictated by both technology and consumer demand. Shop windows have transformed into global digital billboards, and consumers have become insatiable for new ways to experience products and services. The pace has increased to a mad dash; retailers forced to rely on increasingly flexible and sophisticated software to keep up.
With transactions coming through thick and fast, retailers have considerable challenges in keeping everything running smoothly, accurately, and efficiently managing the associated data. The solution to this is to put a robust Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system in place, which many larger retailers have been doing for many years. Thanks to NetSuite ERP, these highly valuable and productive systems are now more affordable and available to more retailers.
What is an ERP System?
An ERP system is a solution that pulls all of the businesses functions together. ERP includes accounting, stock management, order management and supply chain, to name a few. By having all this information in one place, retailers can get a more transparent and more accurate view of their business. They can also reduce costs as they don’t require many different systems to deliver their various business functions.
In the past, retailers ERP software sat on their servers on-site, but as technology has advanced, it’s now common for retailers to use cloud-based ERP systems like industry leader NetSuite.
What is NetSuite?
NetSuite is a cloud-based ERP system. Unlike on-site ERPs, all of the software sits in the cloud, so it doesn’t require businesses to have software on-site. It has all the traditional features you would expect from an ERP and a wide range of additional functionality that it can offer because it’s cloud-based.
NetSuite ERP is a modular solution, meaning businesses can add features and services as they grow, making it highly scalable. The cost naturally depends on what modules your business needs. NetSuite is the market leader for cloud ERPs, providing the solution to over 80,000 businesses globally. It is a popular solution within the retail sector, along with many other industries.
What are the benefits of NetSuite for retail?
- One single view of the business on any device and from anywhere.
- Manage multiple channels from one central system.
- A 360-degree view of your customers and their value.
- Real-time visibility of inventory across various channels.
- User-friendly e-commerce platform to support an omnichannel website.
- Marketing functions to create and manage campaigns and customer segments.
- Pricing and promotion all organised in one place.
- Retailers can centrally manage multiple orders and fulfilment channels.
- It can be customised easily to suit your retail sector.
- Costs less with no need for on-site software and maintenance.
The first obvious benefit to retailers is having all of their functions and data under one roof. Suppose we take a retailer with both bricks and mortar stores and an online presence as an example. An Operations Manager could be visiting multiple store locations whilst still keeping an eye on the wider business. Ultimately this turns the head office into anywhere with an internet connection. They could even be accessing the information on their mobile phone!
This access to data means that you can make business decisions in real-time based on accurate data and analytics. With retail moving faster than ever, this is crucial to gain an advantage over competitors.
Most modern retailers trade across multiple channels, which can get a bit messy if it’s not managed efficiently. ERPs like NetSuite solve this by connecting all of these channels.
For example, a customer on an e-commerce website can purchase a product and collect it in-store the same day. By connecting the website to the ERP system, it has visibility of the store’s stock levels.
Having this kind of cross-channel functionality is invaluable to remain competitive. Customers expect services like same day collection in-store along with a multitude of other ways to shop. Providing them with what they want is essential to attracting new customers and retaining existing ones.
Customers are at the heart of retail, and any successful retailer knows this. It’s not just about having products your customers want and providing excellent customer care anymore. Increasingly, retailers are tailoring the way they nurture customers and market to them through Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems.
These systems, such as NetSuite CRM, provide a 360-degree view of the customer. Within them, retailers can identify their customers’ lifetime value, shopping history and habits, and use the information to market to them effectively.
For example, a retailer selling laptops could identify all customers who have bought a laptop in the past month but haven’t purchased a laptop case. They could then create an email or on-site marketing campaign specifically for those customers advertising laptop cases. This level of personalisation benefits both the retailer and the customer, who isn’t receiving marketing for irrelevant products and services.
Business Intelligence (BI) highlights the enormous benefits of having all processes in one place. If the businesses marketing functions such as email marketing were separate from their customer management tools, this level of personalisation wouldn’t be possible.
An added benefit to all of the above is cost. With no on-site ERP software and the ongoing maintenance and upgrade costs associated with it, a cloud-based solution could come in cheaper. NetSuite handles all maintenance and upgrades, which could also mean less need for an extensive IT department or less reliance on external managed IT.
NetSuite is also able to customise its product based on its customers’ retail sector. If you’re selling financial services as an example, you wouldn’t require the level of inventory management and supply chain as if you were selling clothing. Being a modular ERP, NetSuite can tailor its product to fit your businesses needs.
Is NetSuite suitable for my retail business?
- Are you using lots of different systems for different business functions?
- Are you struggling to manage your data efficiently?
- Are you unable to make strategic decisions based on accurate analytics?
- Are you struggling to manage operations across multiple channels and locations?
- Are you losing the visibility of your customers?
- Are your marketing campaigns inefficient and time-consuming to implement?
- Are your software and hardware costs getting out of control?
If the answer to any of these questions is yes, then NetSuite could provide a solid solution. Growing a retail business in the current climate has many challenges. If you can streamline your operations, reduce the time spent on manual tasks and better manage your customers, then all of your efforts can go into navigating these challenges.
By having your e-commerce platform, inventory management, order fulfilment processes, marketing tools, customer data and analytics in one place, you effectively open up endless possibilities of what you can offer as a retailer. With the fierce competition out there, the more you can offer puts you at an instant advantage.
As NetSuite partners, we can help you decide if NetSuite is suitable for your retail business. If you choose NetSuite, we can handle your project’s design and deployment and provide training and ongoing support. Our managed IT services team can also help integrate and deliver all of your IT systems needs side-by-side with your NetSuite project, so you get one smooth delivery.
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