Here's what the year 2020 taught TNP about retail ERP
The TNP team have been delivering retail ERP solutions for many years, but the pandemic created challenges that none of us had seen before. So, what did we learn?
We saw retail customers that did relatively ‘well’ through the pandemic, but there were a number that faced real challenges. What thing did those that did well have in common?
They could quickly change tack and embrace a new way of working, while leveraging their IT investment.
Having agility meant they had the ability to accommodate an accelerated switch of trading to online, while using their store estate and supporting technologies to underpin that engagement. Those that faced real challenges were either entirely dependent on footfall, such as those in the travel and hospitality sectors, or where their systems conspired against the demand to provide a ‘click and collect’ service.
When we think of accelerating an emerging trend, ‘Contactless Sales’ was a customer preference already evolving, so while it wasn’t necessarily just a response to the pandemic, the pandemic certainly made it a more prominent preference when retailers were assessing ways to interact with their customers.
‘Low code’ technologies such as Power Apps and Progressive Web Apps have really enabled retailers to develop quickly, deploy faster, and get early leverage as this trend gathered pace. After all, when it comes to convenience, being able to walk in a shop, scan, pay and go is about the pinnacle of painless shopping.
Beyond click and collect – what began in supermarkets as ‘self-service’ checkout has again demonstrated how contactless selling has started to proliferate across the wider retail landscape. We see it in all major fast-food chains with their ‘Ordering Kiosks’ and it is now transforming how high street fashion can better serve their customers.
Zara (not a TNP customer) now have ‘bins’ into which customers can place the items they want to buy. Using RFID, everything is automatically rung up to the till – all the customer need do is de-tag and bag! It’s contactless, it’s low staff, it’s efficient, and when implemented well drives great customer service.
Retailers have always had two fundamental IT strategy choices to make:
Both strategies can deliver the same outcome. The former will require much more to be spent on integration than the latter, with all the challenges that come from multiple platforms talking to each other and being upgraded on their own roadmaps in their own timeline!
The pressure that contactless creates to get better connected will see those retailers who have chosen to adopt a single platform do better than the rest.
The retail management projects that we deliver are all-in-one solutions that extend Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central with the industry specific functionality of LS Retail. This is delivered on a single platform retail ERP solution, encompassing financials, POS, store operations, supply chain management, inventory, e-commerce, and customer loyalty capabilities. That same platform also delivers a suite of tools to enable retailers to adapt, evolve and extend, such as Power Apps and Power BI.
We’re the only Platinum Partner for LS Retail in the UK. That reflects our strength, depth, and experience when it comes to retailing. We have a team of over 40 retail experts, (the biggest specialist retail team in the UK!) who have been working with the industry for over 25 years. They know the industry inside out and have worked with the full spectrum of retailers; from nationwide chains to one-shop boutiques, from fashion stores to builders’ merchants, and from e-commerce only brands to wholesalers with warehouse empires. Why not talk to us about how we could help your business too?