Mobilize the store on Cloud

Now that the retail industry is safely past the 2015 predictions and hype, let’s see what enterprise retailers and SMBs are investing to better sales and customer service. Enabling more payment options and integrating EMV before the deadline is the top priority among retailers. The Cloud has never been so sought-after, and the number of retailers migrating to it is only going to rise.

Then, integrated loyalty is one aspect that retailers are seriously investing in. Mobile POS, integrated retailing and better loyalty benefits are points that a retailer can benefit the customer with, and mine valuable customer data alongside.
The thrust is also on to bring technology to the floor for empowerment of Shop-Floor Employee. Along with back-office improvements and Cloud integration, the Mobile POS enabled employee is expected to work as queue-busters, better upsells and an overall enhanced retail experience. In short, 2015 will see the employee becoming the real face of the retail chain.

Mobilize the store on Cloud_Infographics

The multichannel movement’s arriving fast: is your business ready?


If this month’s Apple Watch launch underlined anything about today’s consumers it’s that they love technology.

Wherever you look, people are blending their online and offline experiences using connected devices – and this is changing the game for the retail sector.

The multichannel movement has created new challenges and opportunities for retailers wanting to capture customer value at every touch point, particularly online.

Over the past 12 months, the enormous increase in mobile retail has led to eCommerce’s importance soaring. Already Multichannelwe’re seeing promotional events such as Black Friday become a global retail phenomenon. In fact, according to a recent report by Dunnhumby, 20% of total growth in established markets will come from online shopping in the next 5 years.

However, it’s important to remember that online shopping is only half the story. There are very few consumers who shop exclusively through the internet. Whether the final sale is attributed to eCommerce or the store, it is likely that the buyer has interacted with the retailer across both channels, using multiple devices, on their journey to purchase.

What does this multichannel movement mean for retailers?

Most importantly, the rise of multichannel has created a compulsion to offer consumers a seamless journey however they shop. Desktop, mobile and store shopping can no longer be treated as separate entities; they are part of the same customer journey, and therefore a common brand identity and product availability must exist throughout.

For retailer eCommerce platforms in particular, this means optimising websites for use on all devices. The importance of responsive content will increase further next month when Google updates its search engine criteria to prioritise mobile optimised websites – highlighting that consumers must be able to find and view content easily, and purchase quickly, even on small screen.

It also means that the digital journey must be firmly integrated with offline activities. One of the greatest challenges for today’s retailers is integrating bricks and mortar into the multichannel experience.

More often than not, shoppers enter a store with some level of knowledge from online research. This last point in the journey involves seeing and trying the item at the shelf edge, and asking final, detailed questions that perhaps can’t be addressed online.

Equipping customer service personnel with Mobile POS technology linked to back-end systems provides access to this depth of knowledge. It also enables staff to pull up recent orders or abandoned purchases, to continue shoppers’ online journeys in the store.

How can retailers best serve multichannel shoppers?

There’s no doubting that multichannel shopping is a complicated world, with many technology solutions available to address these complexities. The key for retailers is to implement systems that enable them to flexibly serve and customise experiences for shoppers in all channels.

Good news is on the horizon for those that achieve this agility – as the Dunnhumby report notes, multichannel customers are worth 30-67% more on average than those who shop in a single channel. It seems the multichannel movement is packed with shoppers who are hard to negotiate to the checkout, but who reward great experiences richly once they get there.

Integrated Retail – The Multichannel Way

Integrated Retail-The Multichannel way

Acquire. Retain. Engage. These are the three words that any retailer knows as the Holy Grail. A seamless, multichannel approach that acts upon these three tenets is what any retailer needs to consolidate his customer base. And that calls for a cloud-based retail system that works as a suite of integrated applications, rather than a patchwork quilt of disparate solutions.

A retailer in today’s world is beset with technologies aiding the customer in making smarter buying decisions, and advancements in retailing in reaching out to the customer. Engaging these diverse elements to bring value to the customer, creating a value-based image in his mind and keeping it all profitable… that is the perfect median that a retailer should be aiming to achieve.

What a new-age retailer needs is an end-to-end, multi-channel retail management suite of solutions that incorporates all processes from POS to Store Back Office to Head Office operations. The need for agility asks for the new-age retail management software suites where on-premise systems co-exist with the virtual world of Cloud, which can either be Private or Public Cloud systems. Retailers also prefer versatility in the fact that their retail operations be a ‘hybrid’ of on-premise and Cloud technology.

Integrated retail management applications contribute a lot in increasing process efficiencies. Integrated applications help6 ways to Succeed in Retail business owners to get a good idea of what’s going on by offering a bird’s eye view of daily and long-term operations. And it is because of these integrated applications that retailers today are able to effectively manage their different channels of sales. The applications today are sophisticated and advanced to seamlessly integrate eCommerce, brick & mortar and other sales channels into one holistic application set, which in the context of retail, is called Multi Channel Retail.

A true multichannel ready Cloud solution would address all retail touch-points such as front-end POS operations, inventory, merchandise hierarchy, customer loyalty, data and analytics, eCommerce/ mCommerce, and reports, in one suite of applications. This is essential in ensuring the smooth, daily function of any retailer, whether it is Enterprise-Class or an SME.

With Enterprise Mobility becoming a buzz-word, a retailer can use a Cloud-based retail solution on tablets and phones to bring the POS to the customer, flipping the traditional model. With wireless connection to the Cloud Enterprise Server, a store employee can assist a customer from selection to the billing process. What’s more, a loyalty integration will also enable the employee to either credit the transaction to the customer’s loyalty account, or redeem the ‘points’ in favor of the current transaction.

Using an integrated retail system, which converges data of all multichannel retail touch points and is able to do so in multiple languages with multi-currency facets, is vastly important for the success of any retailer.

With a Cloud-based Retail Suite, centrally-controlled automatic over-the-air updates become the word in retail operations. One click from the head-office should be all that it takes every store to update its software to the latest version. The result: No manning required for running software updates!

Facilitating smooth operations of a Retail chain is an important concern of a multichannel retail company, which is ensured by an integrated retail management solution. Each branch (if spread over nations and boundaries) must consist of its own locally-based currency and language system, in order to best service the department, and customers. Reports can then be sent back to the head office, detailing information regarding sales and other allied functions. Therefore, a retail solution today must also have multi-lingual, multi-currency functionalities that empower a retail taskforce to instantly set up a retail store at any location, and not worry about IT hassles.

Available on terminal and mobile devices, iVend Cloud-based retail management suite’s multi-store, multi-user, e-commerce, loyalty-ready abilities empower retailers to engage with consumers on an entirely new level. With iVend Retail on Cloud, enterprise retailers can look beyond disparate software solutions and achieve profitability.

For a retailer, it is easy as anything to run promotions with a multi-channel ready cloud-based retail management suite. The management team can just run it from the Head Office server, and it will automatically ‘stream’ down to each store and POS, as well as the online version, too. Engaging customers was never so seamless.

With reduced dependency on infrastructure and more stress on performance and functionality, iVend Retail on Cloud empowers the Enterprise Retailer like never imagined. Thousands of stores in over 45 countries are running iVend Retail from CitiXsys Technologies, realizing their true efficiency and profitability.

These are but a few of the changes that a retailer will experience on first-hand basis with CitiXsys’ live demos of iVend Retail on Cloud. Meet our Team at RBTE-2015 at Stand-534 to see How iVend powers retail businesses.

Retailing to e-tailing

Retailing has a long history, dating back to medieval traders and merchants. Since hundreds of years, retailers existed in defined geographies, with limited access to customer eCommerceneeds &  their shopping behavior with merchandise often limited to a single product category. All of that changed with the industrial revolution. With average incomes rising, markets emerged at a steady pace, and so did the consumer’s craving for consumer products.  This led to the rise of modern retailing with subsequent evolution of various channels of distribution, customer communication and transaction.

Modern retailing has rocketed with introduction of internet & mobility leading to wide acceptance of eCommerce & mCommerce platforms which in turn emerge as one of the fastest growing industries in world with likes of Amazon, eBay etc…  By 2020, online sales are projected to be USD500 billion or 20 percent of nonfood retail sales. For many types of retailers, the percent-to-total sales could even be higher, as eCommerce growth continues to significantly complement overall retail sales growth. Much of this will be fueled by the accelerating use of mobile platforms for shopping online.

Forward looking retailers have started integrating their brick-and-mortar stores with integrated Web stores to penetrate deeper into the market & boost their sales productivity. With Integrated eCommerce solution retailers no longer struggle to redefine the role of the store in a multichannel, millennial-led world.  They see Webstores as extended medium of their traditional store and want their customers to shop there with same ease & comfort.

With iVend Retail Management Suite retailers can successfully engage consumers wherever it makes sense in order to make it convenient for them to shop. Integrated eCommerce, Loyalty application and intelligent displays integrated with mobile devices can offer customers a satisfying multichannel experience that keeps them engaged. It is clear that all retailers need to aggressively embrace customer-shopping platforms of all types unless they find a way to create a differentiating value proposition that exploits the physical store advantages in a more compelling way.

For more details contact a CitiXsys representative in your region or mail us on [email protected]

How to succeed in Retail multichannel, multinational market?

MNC MultichannelImplementing a comprehensive and fueling integrated multichannel retail system is essential when ensuring the smooth, daily function of any Retail business. Regardless of the vertical type that means, from restaurant to department store, having all facets of the business directly communicating with one another is important. In absence of an integrated  system that communicates well ,needless errors and avoidable problems occur, reducing possible profit flows and draining valuable man hours. Using an Integrated retail system, which converges data of all multichannel retail touch points and is able to do so in multiple languages with multi-currency facets is vastly important in the success in any global company.

Retailers whether big or small are now keenly focusing to invest in Retail technology that  communicates in multiple languages and has built in currency conversion features, which was earlier ignored. The multi lingual, multi-currency integrated retail system connects all areas of the business across borders, across locations ranging from ordering new products, to placement of shipments, when shipments are expected & received, what is out on the floor and when particular material is running low in stock. All this while, relevant data is stored at the local store server as well as the Enterprise server. Facilitating smooth operations of a Retail chain is an important concern of a multichannel retail company, which is ensured by an Integrated Retail management solution. Each branch must consist of its own, locally based currency and language system, in order to best service the department, and customers.  Reports in respective language can then be sent back to the head office, detailing information regarding sales & other allied functions. This pinpoints popular products in different areas of the world, allowing management to determine what services should be offered in different countries and regions.

The point of sales (POS) system is essential in helping customers and clients feel comfortable with the company. This is the point in which the individual pays for and buys the desired product. Often times, this is the only time (when done in person) where face to face interaction is performed, although many companies are moving towards self-service. The POS, acts like a point of Service with the Integrated retail systems, it is possible to follow when products are sold, what is the most popular, sales during a given point in the day and what customers like specific products the best. A POS that functions in the local language & processes all data & prints in local language connects well with a local customer service system, improving  customer-management & strengthening relationships, as complaints and concerns are handled locally, with agents who speak the language and understand their way of life.

The opportunities Multichannel Retail presents to  businesses are both exciting and challenging.  Businesses that embrace innovative technologies are able to act quickly and adapt to reap benefits at the expense of their slower moving counterparts.

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.

Emerging Multichannel Retail Trends – How to make Most with Integrated Business Management Solutions…

In today’s business world, multichannel retail is becoming the norm. More businesses are branching out into e-Integrated retailcommerce or other marketing channels as additions to traditional ‘bricks and mortar’ physical retail locations. That means that new enterprise resource planning or ERP systems are even more important for many of today’s local business operations. Increasingly, it’s not enough just to have a single spreadsheet or data entry system to keep tabs on inventory, customers, products and more. Businesses require a seamlessly integrated Business Management system  to keep business leaders informed and to help them chart a path for future operations and growth.

Integrated Business Management Systems for Multichannel Retail
Comprehensive Business Management systems bring a lot to the table: from the point of service to the “back of the store,” these tools help business owners to get a good idea of what’s going on by offering a bird’s eye view of daily and long-term operations. That means combining different individual tools or suites into a cross channel solution, where sharing data is ultimately important, not just for a manufacturing business, but in retail as well.

POS: Using Multichannel Retail to Monitor Customer Activity
Using a vibrant, intuitive & full featured POS system engages customers. It gets them involved, while taking information about their purchases and history that business leaders can draw on later for additional outreach. This is true whether you’re selling products or services. You want a point of service system that offers customers the ability to get information, and offers the business identifiers for analyzing the customer base. POS data is a two way street, and the setup needs to be appealing to those who access your business on a regular basis.

Loyalty Systems for Multichannel Retail
Another key component of comprehensive Business Management system is the loyalty infrastructure that you use for your return customers. Another modern business principle is that those who continue to patronize your retail locations should benefit from their long-term involvement. For some businesses, this means issuing “store cards” or other coupon strategies. For others, long-term customers also get more information about new changes and new offers. Either way, having a loyalty system as a component of your Integrated Business Management multichannel retail setup will make this part of customer retention more efficient and less labor-intensive.

Multichannel Retail Setups: Multiple Marketing Channels
As mentioned, more physical retail businesses are branching out into the world of online sales. This means they need well-designed e-commerce systems such as shopping carts, new methods of merchant credit card processing, and more. Security is also a major concern for many businesses with an electronic footprint. Look at how available ERP products can seamlessly integrate with your Retail application, to manage your local shop as well as your vendor platform over the World Wide Web.

New Innovations in Retail
New Business Management system tools are offering business leaders much more than what yesterday’s entrepreneurs had in their toolboxes to help them judge the effectiveness of various business strategies, and to handle in-house initiatives with precision. From business intelligence software tools to supply chain management suites-the best modern back end solutions that come inbuilt with integrated management solutions, find out what your business needs and add this kind of capability to your software architecture. Look at what’s available from your Business management Solution vendor and consider how upgrading to a “broad-spectrum” multichannel retail system could propel your business forward in this and future years.

Using Retail Software To Improve Sales And Productivity

Gone are the days where just a cash register is all that a retail operation needs.  Contemporary retail operations not only need the most current and compliant point of sale systems available; retail operations also need integrated retail systems that can increase sales, improve profits, and boost productivity.

Integrated retail software solutions can give your business significant benefits:

  • Increased sales through automated up-sell and cross-sell suggestions, quick access to product information and availability, and better points and rewards programs
  • Improved profits through better inventory management, suggested sale items and clearance options, and reduced overhead through more efficient staffing
  • Boost productivity through better automation and more efficient processes that move the inventory to where it will sell, utilize the latest in mobile and web technologies, and better overall supply chain management

Retail software solutions must meet this increased demand for integrated systems without inhibiting the existing business processes.

iVend Retail for GroceriesAs part of increased sales, shopper engagement can be improved through retail software solutions.  The more engaged a shopper can become, the better the chances of that shopper increasing the sales transaction, building loyalty, returning for more purchases, and making positive referrals to their friends and family.  Imagine your point of sale system with the ability to “recognize” repeat customers, make recommendations of products or accessories to up-sell or cross-sell, or offer special incentives?  What if your ecommerce website could also recognize repeat visitors and provide custom offers based on purchase history?  All of these techniques can be facilitated through a robust point of sale system that is fully integrated to customer relationship management and other business systems to make the ability to cultivate shopper engagement much easier.

Loyalty programs work to improve customer experiences and to attract new business. With retail software solutions that incorporate loyalty campaigns and programs into their services, a business can easily provide a variety of options for their customers and potential customers in the form of loyalty incentives.  Loyalty programs can attract new customers, increase the purchases of existing customers, maintain customer retention and also encourage sales of more profitable items.  Integrated retail software solutions can offer loyalty programs that can be customized for a particular store or throughout your entire enterprise.

Multi-channel retailing is an approach that is used by retailers of all sizes.  With integrated retail software solutions, your business can coordinate efforts on the retail store level, at the ecommerce website, with mobile marketing, and more.  Through an integrated approach, all of your multi-channel retail systems will have visibility to inventory availability, pricing, and customer data in order to make sales quickly and seamlessly.  Your customers will be presented with a consistent experience regardless of the channel, and your enterprise will have access to detailed reports that track channel effectiveness.

The retail sector continues to evolve and there are new methods to reach customers, build loyalty, and increase brand awareness and market penetration.  Mobile marketing technology and the use of mobile devices as part of the point of sales experience are becoming even more prevalent.  Social media continues to prove itself as an effective marketing tool to bring traffic to your website and to your retail doorway.  More interactive innovations from television, tablets, iPads, smartphones, and other technologies will bring you closer to your customers in new and exciting ways.  Retail software solutions should be prepared to accept these new innovations and utilize them to benefit your business.

From point of sale to website to mobile device and more, integrated retail software solutions can help to build new customers, grow existing customers, and help sales and profits to increase in order to meet your business goals.

Five ways to make loyal customers

Multi-channel Retail Strategies with iVend retailIf you’re selling a product and you want to maintain customer loyalty one of the most effective ways to increase return business is through a loyalty program for your customers.  It seems as though everyone has a customer loyalty program nowadays.  The scheme may be managed by issuing a key ring, a specific membership card, or simply electronically  through a series of continuous marketing email blasts. Loyalty programs are an important tool for todays retailer; here are five (5) key features of an effective loyalty program.

Importance of an integrated retail system

When you’re operating a customer loyalty program your retail systems need to be integrated. That is, every time a valued customer swipes their identification card you need to know as much about them as your loyalty program allows. You need to know who they are, when and what was their last purchase with you, what their personal shopping preferences are, who they dealt with last , and if there are any red flags that require attention.  Ideally your customer loyalty program should be tightly integrated with your point of sale solution from the store to head office to provide visibility through the company, including at the executive level.

Shopper experience at the POS

Integration is the key and in keeping with this theory your sales assistants at the store need to be able to engage customers through an effective loyalty program. Capturing your customers attention and making a positive impression is key to making a difference to their shopping experience with you.  Simple gestures like referring to your customer by their name, acknowledging their shopping preferences, inviting them to special promotion evenings and a happy birthday greeting on their special day.  All simple measures that only a loyalty program can help you effectively implement. Your loyalty program could capture such specific information including keeping  track of all purchases made to date and even a wish list of products your customer may be  interested in purchasing in the future.

Effective loyalty systems

Your loyalty system needs to offer value to your customer without it being perceived as spam or a vehicle to constantly push your product. An effective loyalty program acknowledges your customer for continued loyalty by giving something in return.  Examples of such value added activities may include; special ‘VIP member’ shopping days, special ongoing discounts, advanced notice on upcoming promotional events, store credit offered on their birthday to redeem on any product in store or any other special perks you can offer your customers.  Its a partnership that creates a win win for both parties that will achieve the end result, continued customer loyalty.

Multi-channel retailing

Todays customer does not just shop in the same way or same fashion every time they purchase from you. So by embracing multi channel retailing you are able to adapt to todays customer and their shopping preferences.  The same can be said about an effective loyalty system in that it has to be flexible enough to capture information on the customer’s preferred shopping experience including keeping track of sales made in store, online or by mail order and providing rewards for purchases made via all channels.

New innovations in retail sector

An effective loyalty program needs to keep up with the latest technology and industry best practices and constantly evolve and respond to such market changes.

One of the biggest pitfalls of some of todays loyalty programs is the overflow of constant information from the retailer to the customer.  Customers are often bombarded with too many emails leading to customers unsubscribing altogether from the loyalty scheme.  Soon enough retailers find that  the loyalty system designed to increase customer loyalty is discouraging repeat business.  The famous saying “less is more” reigns very true with an effective loyalty program, too much communication can be perceived as intrusive and therefore counter productive. As a retailer your customer loyalty program should embrace the above five (5) key points for effective loyalty management and a positive experience for your customer.

Single Channel Retail Sales Are Dying

In an ever-changing retail market, multi channel retail methods are replacing the traditional methods of retail sales. Almost all successful, large, chain retail stores have multiple channels integrated into one system available to employees, vendors and customers. Consumers want to find the product they are looking for. If the particular store they visit is out of stock, they want other options available to make their desired purchase. Multi channel retail allows the customer to find what they are looking for either at another store or online. Single channel retail limits the ability of retailers to meet their customers’ needs.

Why Single Channel Retailing is Dying

Single Channel Retail is dying because more and more businesses are going online, providing their customers with an easy alternative to the typical POS at a retail store. Most large chain retailers have a website where all of the products they sell in their stores are available, as well as other products that are only available online. The way to make online sales more effective is to integrate this system with the physical stores. Make it easy to find out if a product is available online if it is not available at the store. Customers still need to be engaged at the store level POS, but making products available online and integrating the online system with the stores will drive sales and increase customer satisfaction.

Effective Loyalty Systems

In order to effectively retain the business of returning customers, a loyalty system has to be integrated across all channels in a multi channel retail business. Rewards for customers returning to your business have to create enough incentive for the customer and be redeemable both in the stores and online. An integrated system that makes customer information available in the stores themselves as well as online is crucial.

Web Storefront

Multi Channel Retail is the Answer

Multi channel retail creates a new venue from which customers can buy products. Instead of using the internet primarily for promotion and advertising, maximize profits by creating a website where customers can purchase products. With an integrated retail system in place, buying products online is easy and extremely cost efficient.

New Innovations in the Retail Sector

The retail industry becomes a little more digitized every day. In order to stay in front of this trend and make it work for your business to drive sales and profits, your business must be limber enough to stretch and bend with your customer’s preferences. The capability to sell products not only in stores but also online and in kiosks and other venues is the key to your business’s flexibility. But multi channel retail is only as effective as its integrated retail system is efficient. Online presence is a must for every retailer now to be competitive.  With new innovations come the increasing need to invest in an integrated retail system that fits your business and drives your sales.