Small to midsize retailers can play with big box toys
The Internet has forever changed the way all companies do business. This has been especially true for small and midsize retailers (SMRs). Internet business can be a blessing and a curse. On one hand, it gives SMRs the same reach as the large chain stores and because of this allows them to compete more successfully. Unfortunately, these smaller companies are often ill-equipped to face all of the challenges that coincide with taking the business beyond bricks-and-mortar.
With the advent of CRM and other database strategies, a new piece has been added to Internet retailing. Retailers are expected to understand their customers and adapt to their needs and wants. This can sound like a daunting task, but if handled correctly it makes business function more efficiently and more effectively.
SMRs are looking for solutions that meet their needs on many levels. Retailers want their systems to not only know and understand their needs, wants and buying patterns, but also anticipate the needs of current and potential customers. Knowing who your customers are, what they want and how much of your business they constitute is paramount to running your business at the optimum level.
The success of becoming familiar with your customers determines which businesses will succeed and flourish. SMRs that are successful in online marketing have an integrated system that is fully hosted and supported with expert IT staff, provided by their partner. Additionally, they now have more information on the customers than ever before, making the retailer better equipped to make informed business decisions. Using multiple systems means more work, less efficiency and a dramatically complicated business processes and the effort needed to extract information on the individual customer makes retailers ignore this feature altogether. One of the core values of having the retail system in place is to be more in tune with customers, but if the processes leading up to this are so difficult and involved, this feature is often overlooked.
Smart companies are looking to take back their time and resources and make their retail system work for them. They want to refocus and ease the strain this has caused on their business. Retailers require a single comprehensive solution they don't have to worry about. Companies to succeed with online retailing because we give them all the tools they need. Not only are retailers able to run a single back office application, but they also end IT issues by having support around the clock all year.
Instead of employing multiple programs to supplement each other (also known as band-aid solutions) they need the ability to track industry trends, determine customer profiles and monitor inventory. SMRs are empowered by a fully integrated solution that evens the playing field with big box retailers. Additionally, combining orders for distributors, so SMRs receive the same benefits as large retailers in the eyes of distributors, is key.
The bottom line is retailers need flexibility to integrate and automate all of their back office processes across sales channels, from product catalog and inventory management to order fulfillment, CRM and promotions. Web-based on-demand retail management systems make it possible for retailers to focus on selling their products across channels as an alternative to the costly maintenance of hardware and concerns over security of their data. Companies need a real-time view of business health anywhere, anytime, so they can proactively serve their customers and profitably grow their business.