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Consumer Buying Pattern Easily Analyzed Through It Retail SystemBy Expert Author: Subodh Dabral
For the retail chains that have a pan-national outlook and plan to work in a geographically distributed environment, IT is a no-brainer. To be able to effectively manage both sales and inventory – and therefore profits, having the information in real-time is imperative. The key to success is appropriate product mix based on demography and a good customer service experience. To be able to accurately forecast consumer buying patterns, movement of inventory, seasonality of products and reduction of waste/pilferage it is necessary to have both up-to-the-minute and historical data. Current data allows close monitoring of business operations, while historical data is required to analyse trends, build predictive models of the business and push targeted marketing to the customers.
Such pan-national retail operations would have multiple regional warehouses, offices and retail outlets. In such an operation how does the headquarters know the daily turnover at each of its outlets, how does it know which products are selling the most in which region at which outlet, how does one store know if a stock-out item in its own inventory is available at another store location for whom it is slow moving item. Retailers all across the country believe that shrinkage due to inventory recording, handling and administrative errors costs retailer’s millions. In an intensely competitive, costconscious industry, decisions about IT and telecommunications infrastructure can make a vast difference. The right solution can result in improved productivity and major cost savings through key advantages such as more accurate supply chain forecasting and better inventory management. For example, given a situation where a retailer wants to increase its loyalty customer base, an organization with relevant IT systems in place, has a ready customer database which is updated at every purchase, which can be used to send mailers or promotional catalogues.
While many retailers have or are starting to employ IT systems that handle store operations, these system do not always provide and end-to-end view of the business. Mostly these systems take care of POS operations with minimal inventory management and sometime have a backend / HO system that is incompatible with the POS. This is a product approach to implementing IT systems, which tend to create islands or silos of information. In such an approach most of the data is compiled manually or semi-manually, leading data inconsistencies. Moreover many of these POS software are built on technologies, which by their inherent nature were not designed to scale-up or scale-out.
Most of these issues can be solved by the appropriate use of technology. The ability to have current information on a real time basis and analyzing that data for better forecasting are some of the payback provided by technology.
Some of the key areas where appropriate retail solutions like LS Retail can help:
Streamline and optimise operations
Offer retailers integrated retail POS system and management tools such as customer profiling, inventory management and accounting.
Optimize inventory management.
Cost-effectively track sales by SKU (Stock Keeping Unit) and calculate turnover rates for a singleitem, merchandise category, or your entire organization. Retailers can leverage back-officeapplications that centralize inventory tracking for chain stores, catalog operations, and e-business retailers. Real-time visibility helps the retailer stay on top of trends and gross margin return on inventory investment (GMROII).
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