April 18 2018

 

How will this era of digital transformation revolutionize retail, and what should you do to make sure you come out on top? These are two of the most important questions retailers are asking these days.

Consumer behavior is going through constant shifts, and technology has become key to keep up with change. In our conneXion online sessions, four themes emerge repeatedly as we try to answer to today’s uncertainties.

Putting the customer at the center with unified commerce

Consumer demands are influencing retailers’ technology choices. In the past few years, retailers have been forced to move from running physical stores only to becoming multi-channel, with a combination of brick-and-mortar and e-commerce stores. Multi-channel retail, where online and offline were run as a separate sales channels, transformed into omni-channel as retailers responded to consumers’ demand to be addressed in a consistent way across touchpoints.

Although it delivered a better customer experience than multi-channel commerce, omni-channel retail came with its own set of challenges. Retailers were still using separate software solutions to run the different parts of their business, which meant costly and complex integrations. And as data was stored across different systems, retailers had big difficulties creating a single view of the business and of each customer.

The next phase in the transformation is unified commerce. By using a single, common platform to run all their operations and touchpoints, retailers are overcoming the challenges of omni-channel commerce and gaining a centralized view of their whole operations, and of their customers. Having all information gathered in one system also enables retailers to finally put the customer experience at the center. This means providing consistent service across channels, as well as delivering all the information that customers see as necessary today – from sales history, to loyalty points, to stock availability, to prices, and more – on all touchpoints, in real time.

Watch these sessions to learn more about unified commerce:

  • Hear more about our unified commerce platform in the keynote by LS Retail President and CEO Magnus Norddahl
  • Learn how LS Nav helps you deliver a unified commerce experience in the LS Nav panel and Q&A
  • Discover the hospitality version of our unified commerce platform in the LS Hospitality panel and Q&A

Breeding a new type of loyalty

Investment on retail and hospitality loyalty programs is through the roof. After all, every retailer knows that retaining a customer costs less than gaining a new one, and that returning customers spend more than new ones. It’s therefore unsurprising that they are investing in ways to maintain and grow loyalty.

The strategy seems sound – but there’s a problem. Research shows that most loyalty programs don’t actually generate loyalty. For example, a study by marketing firm Colloquy found that only 42 percent of loyalty program members are active.

For modern customer, loyalty can no longer be only about points and rewards. What they are after is to be personally recognized. To feel special. In other words, to be loved.

If you want people to be committed to your brand, your loyalty efforts must be built first and foremost around knowing your customers. This means that your rewards for them must be valuable, timely, and personally meaningful to them.

True loyalty is not just about creating a program: it’s a relationship. In order to elicit true engagement, retailers must move from the traditional thinking of “how can we make consumers loyal?” to a new thinking: “how can we be loyal to our customers? What value can we give them that will make it worth for them to keep doing business with us?”

To learn more about how to generate long-term loyalty, do not miss:

  • Learn why money won’t buy you your customers’ love in the keynote by LS Retail President and CEO Magnus Norddahl
  • Listen to Doug Stephens, the Retail Prophet, discuss why paid memberships are the new loyalty

Stepping into the future with Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central

By enabling users to access data, services, storage and software over the internet, the cloud has emerged as one of the most effective new technologies to deliver the speed and flexibility businesses require to stay competitive in the fast-paced retail landscape.

In April 2018, Microsoft brought the full power of Dynamics NAV to the cloud with Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central. With Business Central, organizations get all the functionalities of a traditional ERP system – finances, operations, sales and customer service – without the need for the big initial investment. Business Central also easily integrates with other Microsoft cloud services such as Office 365, PowerApps, Microsoft Flow and Power BI.

At LS Retail, we believe Dynamics 365 Business Central is the future, to the point that our cloud-based Point of Sale system LS Express is currently available as an extension to the system, and LS Nav 365, the next version of LS Nav which will be available in the fall, will also be built on Dynamics 365 Business Central.

Learn more about Dynamics 365 Business Central and the opportunities it brings:

Growing flexibility while limiting risk with the hybrid cloud

Hybrid solutions, combining a mix of on-premises and cloud-based applications in the same IT environment, are slated to be the next big thing in IT. Research firm Gartner predicts that by 2020, cloud usage will mostly be hybrid.

We at LS Retail strongly believe that the future is hybrid. A hybrid model gives you the possibility to take advantage of all the benefits of the cloud – from flexibility, to storage, to innovative services such as machine learning and big data – while also leaving you the freedom to choose how, and to what extent, you want to rely on cloud-based services. So even if the pure cloud is not for you – perhaps because you can’t depend on a stable network connection, or because you don’t want to give up your in-house investments – a hybrid approach enables you to still leverage all of the advantages of the cloud, with no risks attached.

Get better acquainted with our hybrid plan: