Thursday, July 21, 2016

Overcoming Lost Sales from Incongruent Data


 

As fast-growing companies achieve greater market penetration, gain more customers and their organization grows, they often run in to a wall where internal processes struggle to keep up with continued demand. The key challenge to supporting that growth is laying the groundwork to scale the business effectively and efficiently while maintaining customer service and support.

Inefficiencies of a Standalone System Architecture

Businesses that select their systems over time can find themselves with a poorly planned architecture that handles short-term tactical needs sub-optimally while holding the company back from scaling efficiently over the long term. These inefficiencies can become so severe that they cripple growth. There are four primary issues that hinder growth when running a business with siloed systems:

Wasted Employee Productivity

If your employees are bogged down with inefficient and disjointed processes, it increases errors and takes time away from their more important core duties. Important processes such as order processing, invoicing, expense approvals and fulfillment, can take a lot longer to get completed if too much manual effort is required and are often erroneous. For instance, your employees may be spending hours re-entering order information into the accounting and invoicing system, while other employees pull that same information from your CRM system for their order fulfillment processes and to calculate sales commissions. If any orders are canceled in the meantime, your employees have to sift through mounds of data to reconcile this information again.

Lack of Real-time Visibility

When software systems are unintegrated, you have multiple overlapping databases and cannot easily get a view of business performance in a timely fashion. Reports showing performance across your finance, sales, marketing, service and fulfillment departments are crucial to giving you an integrated view of your company’s operations. Most companies simply give up on acquiring this information on a regular basis because of the amount of time it takes to source, extract and analyze this data. For those that do, countless hours are wasted trying to tie unrelated, error- prone and out-of-date information together. Consequently, businesses end up making critical decisions slowly based on inaccurate information, or they make hasty and risky decisions off of gut instinct.

Integration Complexity and Cost

With so many siloed applications, IT wastes an enormous amount of time and money on integrating, maintaining, upgrading, and acquiring new versions of these applications. Once new versions are purchased, even more integration and maintenance needs to be performed for all the different versions of software to work together. Consequently, valuable IT time that could be used to make the business more productive is wasted, while maintenance costs skyrocket.

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Thursday, July 14, 2016

How to Enable Great Customer Experiences


Brands need to achieve a unified customer experience. However, this does not mean uniform. Since consumers look at advertising as a connective process rather than device-by-device, brands need to start unifying the customer experience against all channels.

Creating a unified experience helps to build loyalty and keep the brand image clear for marketers. In addition, brands need to make sure that they are creating platform-agnostic content and imagery to make the experience more enjoyable for consumers.

We have the opportunity to engage consumers at any time and any place. When customers engage with you, it is increasingly over complex journeys, and all of these things are being generated across different touchpoints. People do not think about a specific device or platform, they just want to get things done.

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Friday, July 01, 2016

Building your Business Around Your Customers, Not Channels


Today more than ever, it’s all about the customer. The expectations customers place on retailers are motivating retailers to deliver a best-in-class customer experience across channels. To achieve that goal, it’s all about simplicity in business process execution. 

Forward-thinking retailers and brand manufacturers looking to expand their business across channels, brands and the globe are seeking a complete commerce platform that will ease the process from back-end systems to the POS, ecommerce and beyond.

Manufacturers are now retailers and direct sellers. Retailers are now manufacturers and direct sellers. These entities are no longer just B2B or B2C companies, and they need a platform that can support their growth and expanded capabilities.

The focus must be on innovation, insight and consistency to enable unlimited growth. Those goals can be achieved by following five key steps, with the customer as the central focus:

  • Adopt a Single Commerce Platform
  • Access a 360-Degree View of the Customer
  • Implement Intelligent Order Orchestration
  • Deliver Innovative Customer Experiences
  • Enable Unlimited Expansion
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Customers