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So Much More to Understand about the Customer
At the end of the day, we believe success will come to the retailers who really understand how their customer operates in today’s environment. Customers are becoming less loyal than they ever were in the past, so understanding what your customer buys at your store as well as understanding what they are buying at other stores is critical. And possibly more importantly, understanding why they prefer your competitor’s products. Social media analytics can help answer some of these questions and help you be more customer-centric. You’ll be better able to market better to those people, keep them loyal to your brand and of course, keep them coming back and buying more.
To achieve this, retailers today have to get a handle on many different sources of data. It is imperative to tie in all of the sales channel data now with social media data to have a better way of understanding the consumer’s buying habits and their patterns. Leading edge strategies now take in all of the rich data that we’re getting from our systems, and integrate them with data from our social media avenues–Foursquare, Twitter, Facebook, and even LinkedIn. For the next 12 months, retailers are challenged to not only ensure they can finally bring their multi-channel operations together, but that they can also glean information from their social media outlets. Really start looking at their data and putting in strategies where they can consolidate their data in real-time so when a customer walks into the store, they know who that customer is, they know what that customer’s preferences and buying habits are, and they know how to sell better to them.
Cole Systems has been in business since 1987, and has been a Microsoft partner since 1989. We try and partner with our customers to make sure that we have the right business strategy first and technology second. We have standardized on Microsoft technology, and we do feel that Microsoft allows us to offer our customers a 100% solution. Our team, 50 people strong, consists of professionals from industry, supply-chain experts and CPAs, that like to work with our customers to help deploy technology in a manner that makes their business more efficient.
We’re really excited about the release of Microsoft Dynamics AX for Retail 2012. It’s a solution that combines a world-class point-of-sale with a world-class ERP. It’s really enabling us to deploy quickly and some of the deployments that we’ve done recently were done in weeks, not months. They’re deployments that enable our customers to go live in a very robust out-of-the-box functionality. The retailers we’ve spoken to are really impressed by this release – it has a lot of robust new functionality that ties together all operations in multi-channel retail.
Multi-channel integration success is a big issue for retailers. To ensure multi-channel integration success, they need to be doing a lot of things right. One of our customers that is doing this right is Carol’s Daughter, a multi-channel retailer that has been able to take this understanding and drive incredibly successful marketing campaigns. Retailers need to be looking across their channels today and understanding how they can integrate them. For a retailer, you can’t go out next week and replace your e-commerce site, replace your B-to-B system, replace your in-store system. It’s about coming up with a strategy and a platform. Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 for Retail allows retailers to have a real crawl-walk-run approach to technology and how they can implement it.