Guest contributor |
Over the past few years, we have seen an increasing degree of sophistication in retail industry business operations.
There is a constant need to reinvent, particularly following the recent, tumultuous changes in the paradigm of modern business. We live in a world where if you aren’t moving fast enough, you are spiralling into a vortex of obsolescence.
Infosys is helping customers with solutions and offerings on Microsoft Dynamics 365 and the Power Platform that aim to improve the in-store experience, build customer loyalty, and develop robust operations.
Improving the in-store experience
Physical stores will stay relevant and become more strategic for retail organisations even if they are no longer managed as points of sale. Stores are the most effective tool to acquire and engage customers, and key to this is the engagement of store associates. Store associates are the essence of an organisation’s brand, so empowering them with product trainings and access to information will enhance the customer experience. They must also have visibility of store traffic metrics to assist with shift planning.
The Infosys REF-OR-M Smart Retail solution is designed to equip every employee from in-store assistants to store managers, helping them to deliver a best-in-class experience for customers efficiently and quickly. The solution comprises a set of connected operational applications to bring a digital experience to customers and employees. The store associate mobile application can provide employees with product information, training and key performance indicator tracking. They can also receive customer appointment notifications and access an FAQ chatbot. Smart Retail helps store staff connect with their customers by understanding their needs better and fulfilling their requests. It is also a great tool for cross-selling and upselling.
Building customer experience
Building customer loyalty is another challenge and the second key lever for Infosys. Today’s retailers assign massive importance to loyalty programmes because repeat customers tend to spend more than newly acquired ones, and the cost of retention could be five times cheaper than acquisition. But loyalty is a rare commodity; most customers sign up for multiple loyalty programmes, which poses a challenge for retailers to offer attractive reward programmes to win them over.
The Infosys REF-OR-M Loyalty Edge solution aims to nurture relationships towards bridging potential loyalty gaps. The solution helps deliver a holistic customer experience leveraging key components like member management, loyalty programme planning, tier management, segmentation, outreach, loyalty points management, omnichannel engagement, as well as analytics and reporting.
Strengthening the retail back end is vital and is part of Infosys’ third lever: robust operations, which is the backbone for delivering a holistic and differentiated experience. For retail businesses to thrive and fulfil customer demands such as instant deliveries, smooth returns and stock visibility, they must have a robust back-end system. With the growing relevance of omnichannel in retail, it is becoming critical for all departments to work collaboratively, with inventory and data visibility across the system.
Infosys has been leveraging the capabilities of Microsoft Dynamics 365 for successful client transformation journeys across finance and operations in real time, using multiple integrations and application programming interfaces (APIs). Order integration automation with e-commerce front-end – using Adobe Experience Manager, with Salesforce and Vlocity customer relationship management (CRM) for shop walk-in customers – brought seamless interaction between e-commerce front-end and the enterprise resource planning (ERP) product.
Infosys has also built multiple APIs for e-commerce to enable users to reserve and unreserve inventory, to synchronise order information for walk-in order, and to access payment status updates. This combination contributes to better inventory visibility across multiple channels in order to deliver seamless and consistent experience across devices and platforms.
In addition to these three key aspects, the shift of business from store-based to digital channels gives rise to the need of constant customer interactions, addressing challenges related to personalised shopping experiences, easy shipping and returns, faster deliveries, and stock availability across all channels. These can be achieved using chatbots for a personalised experience, faster service and query resolution, rich customer insights, curbside pick-up and drop, digital payments, and digitising the supply chain and merchandising process, to name a few. These are further enhanced by the use of data and artificial intelligence – the possibilities these bring are endless.
Rahul Kumar and Ravi Sharma are directors at Infosys
This article was originally published in the Winter 2022 issue of Technology Record. To get future issues delivered directly to your inbox, sign up for a free subscription.