Let’s just be honest here: implementing a new management system is a time-consuming, resource-intensive affair. On top of that, system switchovers can be quite disruptive for business. After all, if you are a retailer, what you care about is selling, not your tech.
And yet, old technology is a liability. Technology is moving fast, and customers are following suit. To remain relevant and keep customers coming back, you need to be able to deliver quick sales (this means, for example, having a system that doesn’t get stuck or slow down during the rush hour); you need to have total overview over your inventory (what’s in transit, what is sold, what is in which location); you need to be able to track your customers across the sales channels.
Today your retail system needs to do more than it did yesterday, and faster. It’s inevitable: at some point, retailers just need to make time for a system upgrade.
Although system implementations can be tough, there are some best practices that can help make the process simpler and painless. Here are three tested pieces of advice from the combined experience of our experts, partners and customers.
Make sure everyone is involved
A system change affects everyone in the company. To increase enthusiasm and commitment to the project, it is important to involve people from different departments.
When Hobbycraft, the largest arts and crafts retailer in the UK, installed LS Nav, they picked people from across the company to join the implementation team. Although few of these individuals had any prior experience of change management or system implementation, this proved a successful decision. Not only did it ensure that the team was fully committed to the project, but many of these individuals subsequently moved into better roles within the company, a testament to the fact that system implementations can have wide-ranging and long-lasting effects on a company.
Even if not everyone is directly involved in the implementation, it is important to keep all parties in the company up to date. Here is what Sven Vesik, Development Director at building materials company Optimera Estonia AS, told us about sharing information: “All company employees must have a clear understanding as to why the changes are implemented, and what good they will bring. Then people will be more inclined to go along with the changes, and they will have more tolerance for the workload increase during the transition period.”
Follow the standard solution
Do you want to minimize complications and delays during implementation? Then you should stick to the standard solution, many of our experts say. By implementing the standard solution, you can:
reduce complexity during the installation and afterwards
decrease the risk of glitches and problems
upgrade your system more easily and quickly.
“Companies are often tempted to add customizations, but on top of being time-consuming and costly, they can cause complexities in the long run. Standard versions also have the great plus of being tested,” told us Monica Lind, CIO at electronics retailer Humac. Humac implemented LS Nav across 22 stores, plus the e-commerce website, in just eight weeks. The whole chain switched over overnight, and the stores didn’t lose a single day of sales.
Do not hesitate to ask for help
Problems happen. A number of issues can arise during an implementation, but even the biggest obstacles can be overcome if you have a solid support network, and work with a team you can rely on and trust.
During the implementation of LS Nav Hospitality at quick service and casual dining restaurant group HB Brands, the team at Godrej Infotech was faced with their first implementation of LS Nav Hospitality’s Kitchen Display System and Phone Ordering System. The team felt that they lacked the necessary detailed technical know-how for the project. Thankfully, they could rely on LS Retail’s support team. Timely and effective communication between the teams helped solve issues as they arose, transforming what initially had appeared like a challenge into a victory.
Despite the importance of running updated systems, many retailers are hard-pressed to find the time for a system switch. But find it they must: no retailer can afford to risk losing business because of the poor customer experience their outdated system offers.
Although changing system can be daunting, there are best practices which can reduce the pain and increase the chances of success. Hungry to know more of them? Download our e-book and learn even more tried and tested tips to make your system implementation a success.
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