Mon. Jan 25th, 2021

NetSuite manager for commerce products looks at how consumers are forcing the retail world towards an experience-led business models

The core use of enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems is shifting in the retail space as customer behaviour forces firms towards a data-led model, according to Andrew Lloyd, NetSuite’s general manager for commerce products.

Lloyd said where retailers once used ERP to keep track of their internal business processes, it’s now more important to use these systems to have a single view of the business to better serve the customer.

“Customer experience is becoming more important and the role of ERP is really changing,” Lloyd said,speaking at the SuiteWorld 2016 conference in San Jose, in May 2016.

“ERP is moving from something that’s a primary system that you employed to run your business to a system that needs to be designed and implemented in a way that allows you to serve your customers better.”

Customer demand means accurate data

The omni-channel environment has allowed customers to expect retailers to provide a seamless experience.

Customers want retailers to know who they are. They want their experience to look and feel the same regardless of the channel. Moreover, consumers will often interact with a brand through several different channels in a single shopping journey.

Lloyd said ERP and financial management systems at one time were locked away as a back-end function of the business for employees to access, while systems that handled customer transactions were kept quite separate.

However, as customers interact through software-based methods, such as websites and mobile applications, it is no longer valid to separate these systems.

This is driving the importance of “truthful and accurate” data across a retailer’s systems, and end-to-end data on where products are across a retailer’s business remain vitally important. All this means systems need to properly interact with each other instead of standing in silos.

“The systems that you build on top of ERP are the places where your customers actually interact. For those interaction touch points it’s critical that they be built on truthful and accurate information, because your customers are interacting with them,” said Lloyd.

“If you’re presenting inaccurate information, they’re going to have frustrating experiences and your business is going to underperform.”

Building the IT platform for change

As retailers adapt to the increased control that consumers have over brands, companies are beginning to orient themselves around customer demands, instead of presenting brands and experiences customers are not asking for.

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