Benefits of BI for Small & Medium Businesses

Business intelligence and analytics have long been pivotal tools for large corporations and financial firms, but these strategies are equally effective for small and Business Intelligencemedium-sized businesses. In the modern marketplace, business intelligence and analytics can give your retail enterprise a crucial edge up on your competitors.

iVend Analytics offers an intuitive, user-friendly interface that allows business owners to track customer trends and turn data into meaningful, actionable intelligence. With this software, you will be able to accelerate purchasing, more accurately manage pricing and promotion, and ultimately increase sales volume. Business intelligence tools provide an accurate, easy-to-read view of the costs, liabilities, and risks involved with your business. They make it easy to decipher customer purchase patterns. They simplify back-end procedures such as inventory and stocking. And, they help you decide when to kick off a promotional campaign, and with what products, based on your customer patterns.

iVend Analytics provides business intelligence in a user-friendly format. Dashboards cover various sectors of your retail enterprise, and these dashboards present vital information in an instantly readable, visual format so you don’t have to go searching for trends in haphazard data fields. An associative search function allows you to quickly and easily find the insight you need to make vital business decisions. The dashboard templates are customizable for category management, meaning you can put the data that matters most at your fingertips. Thus iVend Retail software is highly flexible, and can grow with your business.

A further benefit of the iVend analytics is that it functions seamlessly with other business tools in iVend Retail. Point of sale, customer Loyalty, eCommerce and Mobile solutions from iVend Retail all work in tandem with iVend Analytics. The business intelligence end of iVend Retail, iVend Analytics works to seamlessly integrate the other tools in iVend Retail, and indeed all aspects of your retail business enterprise, so that you can make better-informed business decisions.

The iVend retail suite covers all ends of the business, from customer relations at the register, to back-of-the-store functions, to head office procedures. The software is fast, secure, is SAP and PCI certified, can integrate with almost any ERP, and is powerful enough to handle large retailers with hundreds of stores. Whether you are a single store or a retail chain with an online component, iVend Retail can help you simplify the many complexities of running a retail business. Our software can help you optimize pricing, promotion, purchasing, and all facets of retail, in order to increase your bottom line.

As an example of the type of scenario iVend can help you with, consider a promotion designed to increase sales volume during the holiday season. How do you ensure that excess stock after the holiday season rush is not sold under the same clearance as during the holiday promotion? Business intelligence from iVend can help you plan ahead to not only decide how best to reach your market with efficient, targeted sales, but also how to manage those sales through the duration.

Business intelligence software can help you simplify and streamline all aspects of your business. The improved efficiency delivered by sound business intelligence can help your enterprise save money and increase net profit. iVend Analytics and the iVend Retail Suite are the superior choice in business intelligence, because the software boasts a harmonious blend of speed, security, and power, with a user-friendly interface. In order to be competitive in the modern marketplace, business intelligence software from iVend is an obvious choice for your business.

Innovations in iVend Retail – a three part webinar series

A three part webinar series on iVend Retail Suite of Applications focuses on the recent innovations in iVend Retail. The sessions are beneficial to modern age Retailers looking for integrated retail systems for better profitability & efficiency.

Session One talks about about retail analytics and how a CEO/ CFO take better decisions to make a profitable retail business. iVend Analytics is a Business Intelligence (BI) platform that provides Dashboards and Analytics for iVend Retail, SAP Software or any other Application .

iVend Analytics is a set of pre-packaged, shrink wrapped Business Intelligence dashboards which seamlessly plug into iVend Retail. With in-memory processing of iVend Analytics, SAP and/ or iVend users can use Sales, Inventory, Executive, Loyalty or Retail BI applications. Additional applications can be built based on customer requirement.

Session Two talks about in-store management, multi-channel retailing, customer loyalty management and how does iVend Retail help retailers improve their operational efficiencies.

Effective in-store management involves making routine tasks easy and configurable to adapt to different business situations.

Store is one place where one gets to see and experience Merchandizing, Warehousing – the larger supply chain, accounting – from a finance viewpoint, marketing and customer relationship management. It is the store manager who effectively orchestrates these different business processes

Multi Channel Retailing which is indeed the buzz word these days in the retail industry is also discussed in session two. More and more retailers are today adopting and incorporating Multi Channel Retailing as a mainstay part of their business and overall retail strategy. As the name suggests, it is about having multiple channels of carrying out retail business. This session explains the ease of taking ones business on-line using iVend eCommerce and how does iVend Retail Suite of applications makes a business truly multi-channel.

Customer Loyalty Management is the focus area of almost all the retailers. For the consumer, it makes absolutely no difference whether this relationship building happens actively on a Brick & Mortar store or on a web store front or through a mobile application. He wants a similar Overall Retail experience and customer service let it be any medium / channel he uses to complete his business. This session explains the seamless integration of iVend Loyalty – a points and rewards management application into iVend Retail.

Session Three discusses Importance of Inventory Planning & management, Different retailer types and their expectations.

Inventories being the biggest investment (to the tune of over 80%) that a retailer makes, even a small percentage reduction in inventory holding costs will make a huge contribution in savings of the retailer.

This session talks about the tools available to the retailers to effective plan and manage their inventory.

At the operational level Enhanced MRP helps retailer plan day to day replenishments and Inventory Pro – RF helps improve the warehousing processes.

At the strategic and planning level, Sales Forecasting and OTB (Open to Buy) in iPlan help retailer better plan the sales forecast and the associated purchase budgets.

What does Business Intelligence mean for mobile-social Retailer?

Customers are the most important part of the equation for you as a retailer.  Unless you have the precise business information of what your customers want or with a view that what you have is worth their while, then business wanes or declines.Business Intelligence

This doesn’t have to be a concern if you have business intelligence. Business intelligence starts with what you bring to the table from your own head, but it is much more.  It is an analytical tool that you can arm your sales staff with.  It makes available software applications, integrating analytic, customer-centric information your staff needs to make a sale with management of products.

Customer Impact

Customer service begins with the right information available to management, sales staff, and customer before the customer arrives on the scene.  Store management can track inventory, amount of traffic, profit ratios, and asset support, made possible through an integrated retail system.  Tracking a product is made transparent at every point along the chain from ordering to sale, from profit margin to customer purchase history, from placing it in inventory to tagging it as an item of interest in a customer’s profile, and from placing customer information on sales representative’s mobile devices to sending a related item in a customer email.  The whole system is integrated without redundancy of work from a point of sale entry.  When customers do arrive, information is waiting on them to merely express interest for a certain product.

Customer service ends by analyzing a product’s impact on customer sales as well as measuring the store’s profitability has to be easily accomplished and quickly displayed for understanding.  Graphic analytic dashboards portray significant ratios, trends, current status against past performance, and more.  Through business intelligence, graphic visuals make information quick to notice and easy to read and understand.

When analytical software yielding business intelligence is used, the following five principles are a given – with every customer.
Customer Expectations
Customers respond well to Business intelligence from sales staff when they call up information on mobile devices while being helped.

  • Inform customers of history of items bought.
  • Assure customers that items are in stock.
  • Schedule customers for a date of delivery.

Shopper Engagement
Customers interact with the sales people for only a limited number of minutes, sometimes seconds.  So, once sales representative knows what interest customers have, they can engage customers.

  • Give more than general information about a product to tip the scale for a sale.
  • Add knowledge of a customer’s last purchase or general interest and deliver the sale.
  • Know how to use a mobile device and show where to find a product on an app or browser to bring in off-site business.

Customer Loyalty
Customers show the loyalty when they are shown.  This can be done in several ways.

  • Give reward points at point of sale to help them accumulate points for future purchases.
  • Offer incentives with gift cards, additional merchandise, and travel.
  • Pique customers’ interests of new products and items related to last purchase through emails and text messages.

Shopper Sources
Customers don’t always go to a store to buy.  Now they have a virtual world at their fingertips. Business intelligence allows you to be where their fingertips go.

  • Keep every product current with the keywords customers type into search engines.
  • Optimize your website for easy browsing and easy purchase.
  • Give them a place to show their satisfaction by “liking” their experience on your social media pages.
  • Allow them to “followyour products and sales events on social media.

Customer Awe
While customers appreciate stability, they have come to expect the next innovation on a regular basis. Business intelligence keeps them abreast of product development, instilling confidence in your company.

  • Update your website regularly and frequently..
  • Make website navigation user-friendly.
  • Highlight new products with interesting captions.

Take better Retail decisions with iVend Analytics

Some of the top challenges rated by three types of retailers – the winners, the average performers and the laggards

While 58% laggards agreed that they are not able to identify their best customers so that they can offer special incentives to them while shopping, 33% of retail winners were also of the same opinion. Predictably – only 10% of the retail winners had issues in matching inventory to demand, where as 50% of the laggards struggled to match inventory to demand. 68% of the average performers and 57% of the laggards feel that they do not know the customer sentiment till the time they see it in sales. And interestingly, 57% of the retail winners feel that their merchants don’t get information fast enough to react to differences between forecast v/s sales whereas only 33% of the laggards share a similar view

Similarly, talking about how does BI help overcome business challenges, 74% of the respondents felt BI helped them improve promotion effectiveness. 73% said that BI helped them respond better and faster to changes in customer demand. 43% of the respondents feel that the Brick and Mortar selling channel gains the most for a BI solution, 37% feel that all channels gain from a BI solution and given that e-commerce and mobility are relatively new channels of sale – they tend to gain 14 and 6% respectively.

Have a look at the video to know more about these retail challenges and ways to solve them.

iVend Analytics is a set of pre-packaged, shrink wrapped Business Intelligence dashboards specifically for retailers. iVend Analytics integrates seamlessly into iVend Retail which is a complete Retail Management Suite and is being used by diverse retailers ranging from Electronic Stores, Apparel Retailers, Footwear, specialty, departmental stores and many more.

One of questions that we are asked many a times is – what is the minimum threshold for a retailer to embrace a BI solution? Is the decision based number of stores, transactional volume, or a completely different parameter. Honestly, there is no fixed equation which would determine whether a retailer is BI ready or not. However if a retailer’s data is Diverse, Dynamic, Dense or any one of these, the retailer is BI ready.

It is more than obvious that BI has now become an essential tool – in an integrated retail environment – for a retailer to be successful.

Challenges Faced by Visual Merchandisers and its Solution

In today’s global commercial environment, you have to believe that a visual merchandising promotion strategy is what is important in effecting increased profit margins through improved sales and staff throughput. But how well you can put the right visual merchandising display strategy in place can be daunting because the biggest role of providing the shoppers with an unforgettable experience takes skill to simplify components down to those details that are fundamental. Make no mistake that you must consider it a wise investment in expertise and resources for the use of best practice visual merchandising techniques to effectively deal with the challenges in retail. It is primarily about ‘the look and feel’ of the brand in store and for presenting products in the most effective ways that develop loyalty of customers.


The constant manufacturing of brand-new products, inadequacy of shelf space, loss and prevention, conflicting interests of top management and the recurrent variation in consumer choices, all add to the challenging environment for visual merchandisers. In other words, the challenges in retail in relation to the dynamic characteristics of the target market, the changing and volatility of consumer behavior often times makes it increasingly difficult for visual merchandisers to maintain required clarity and consistency. This is what the art of branding is about, and it is as quintessential for environments as it is for products.

Components and Implementation

The details are in the important components of a visual merchandising strategy and implementation to address some of the challenges in retail and ensure enriching returns. These may include:

  • The attention-grabbing store signs and displays. Providing product descriptions and promoting schemes like ‘Buy One Get One Free’ using eye-catching fonts.
  • Recognizing the importance of integrated retail systems. Effective integration of advanced retail POS system technologies can help control costs and deliver concentrated operability to the business. Given the rapid pace of change within the retail ecosystem, it is essential all IT assets are tracked, monitored and managed in a seamless manner.
  • Shopper engagement at POS. Good deals versus fostering relationships and knowing also where social media fits in and the tapping the power of crowd-sourcing to enhance product assortment.
  • Effective loyalty systems. Delivering unmatched customer service to valued customers by being proactive and look for people in need of assistance and be a resource, can distinguish your business from the competition and fosters true and effective “relationship marketing“.
  • Multichannel retailing. The advent of online stores and mobile technology with e-commerce and m-commerce are latest additions to the multichannel mix of mail order catalogues and bricks and mortar stores and are fresh and interesting avenues and benefit for retailers with more opportunities to get their product in front of customers whom they would not have been able to reach with a single channel.
  • New innovations in retail sector. Retail innovation is about driving down costs and driving up spending. Whether it is inventory control or product mix; ecommerce or cost control, the retail sector should have the capacity to accommodate a sustained flow of pioneering products, innovative channels of delivery and ingenious ways of holding down costs to remain profitable in the most competitive consumer markets.

More to these, visual merchandising is an extension of your store’s customer service. Even if you intend to stretch your retail process to web-based shopping, literally changing shoppers’ point-of sale environment, and regardless of any challenges in retail, that importance of your brand’s visual identity should not diminish. The goal is to project a pleasing and more charismatic image because visual merchandising is about customer loyalty, regardless of the point-of-sale environment.

CitiXsys and Boyum are pleased to announce the launch of B1AppSuite

CitiXsys and Boyum IT, two of the largest SAP Solution Partners globally, jointly launch – a portal where you can download certified SAP Business One Addons 

New York, NY, September 27, 2011: Two of the largest SAP Solutions Partners,CitiXsys Technologies and Boyum IT entered into an OEM relationship to bring innovation in SAP Business One market space.

The benefits of this cooperation are obvious: CitiXsys will have access to B1UP technology, which makes a fusion of each other’s addons possible. CitiXsys partners and users can now use the B1UP to customize the CitiXsys addons, without relying on expensive development work. The B1UP will be restricted to 1 user for the version 4.x but with full functionality. The CitiXsys addons can be used for more users, but with limitations.

“This OEM relationship emphasizes our commitment to the SAP Business One user community with the sole objective of making the mid-market companies more productive and effective. The complimentary nature of the applications bundled in B1AppSuite lets us (CitiXsys and Boyum IT) achieve our purpose.
We are very positive of this relationship and are sure this will help us innovate evenfurther.” says Kamal Karmakar, CEO CitiXsys Group

“Collaborating with CitiXsys was a natural choice since their solutions bring tremendous value to the customers. Functionally rich CitiXsys applications with flexible usability of B1UP will tremendously increase the value proposition to our customers. Working with CitiXsys was a pleasure and we look forward to the success of B1AppSuite.” says Michael Boyum, CEO Boyum IT

About CitiXsys:
CitiXsys Technologies an SAP Gold Partner with over 4000 customers, has its vertical focus on Retail, Warehousing & Distribution.

About Boyum IT:
Boyum IT is a leading SAP Business One development and consulting company. B1UP significantly enhances the usability of SAP Business One, there by increasing the productivity of SAP Business One users. B1UP has today more than 21.000 active daily users.

For more information about B1AppSuite log on to

iVend Loyalty released by CitiXsys Technologies

iVend Loyalty – a multi platform loyalty application released by CitiXsys Technologies

New York, NY, January 10, 2011: iVend Loyalty was released today at the NRF where CitiXsys Technologies is showcasing its flagship retail application – iVend Retail. iVend Loyalty, which is currently integrated with iVend Retail comes with web services based APIs making it possible to integrated it with any Retail or Enterprise Application. The application is designed on the latest technologies and platforms to provide scalability, maintainability and ease of use.

CitiXsys Technologies is one of the largest Software Solution Partner to SAP. With this release, CitiXsys reiterates its commitment to its partners and customers to reap business benefits from robust and intuitive applications.

“We are upbeat about the release and it has been our constant effort to provide all our partners/customers a more value driven and focused solution to address their business needs. iVend Loyalty is a highly configurable web services driven solution adding tremendous value to any business by configuring, managing and tracking all schemes for enticing the customers and maximizing the brand value of the merchant.” says Kamal Karmakar CEO CitiXsys Group.

About iVend Loyalty:

iVend Loyalty is an application platform which is designed to significantly improve customer retention by offering an enhanced value for their money. The cross platform application is well suited not only for the retailers but also in non-consumer industries like manufacturing and trading. iVend Loyalty is currently integrated with iVend Retail and has capabilities to integrate with any Business Management or Retail application using the universal and platform neutral web services based APIs.

Features offered by iVend Loyalty add tremendous value to any business by configuring, managing and tracking all schemes for enticing the customers and maximizing the brand value of the merchant. [Read more…]

Expanding scope of Customer Loyalty Programs

At the center of all commerce activities is the customer. The recessionary times of last year has made marketers realize in more ways than many that customer retention and a sizable share of his expenditure is equally important, if not more than going all out to acquire new customers.

Today, Loyalty Programs are a norm even in non-consumer based industries like manufacturing, and non-profit organizations. The need to be closer to the customers, understand their buying pattern and offering customers a value for their money has prompted these diverse industry segments to seriously think and deploy customer retention strategies.

Ensuring customer loyalty, enhancing it and effectively managing it is one of the most crucial factors impacting sales. It is no longer important to have a formal loyalty management application but it is equally imperative to move forward from the short term promotional campaigns to a well defined customer focused, relationship oriented programs.

[Read more…]