Over the course of the last months, digital shopping behaviors have accelerated at breakneck speed. According to data from Finaria, the Covid-19 pandemic has helped increase the number of eCommerce users across the globe by 9.5% year-on-year. As a result, online shoppers now exceed 3.4 billion, and they’re expected to reach 4.9 billion by 2025, according to Finaria forecasts.
While this increase in traffic offers new opportunities for your online retail business, it also presents new challenges. According to the latest report by Shopify, eCommerce competition has reached record levels – fueled by legacy wholesalers, global retail giants, and product categories not traditionally purchased online. This is driving up customer acquisition costs.
Customers have higher expectations than ever too, and seemingly little patience for retailers that fail to deliver. According to ZK Research, last year two-thirds of millennials admitted changing loyalties to a brand because of a single bad experience.
To compete in this ever-evolving world you need the right products, great customer service, and the right technology platform. LS Central is a unified commerce platform built on Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central ERP. While most retailers are familiar with the benefits of unified commerce software for retailers that operate brick-and-mortar stores, few are aware that this kind of technology can also benefit pureplay online retailers.
Here are eight ways LS Central will support and strengthen your entire online retail business
1. Achieve a single, clear version of the truth
As a unified commerce software solution, LS Central covers your entire online business from front to back including ERP, financials, POS, sales, inventory, offers and promotions, bookings and more. Data from all of these key areas is brought together in one place, giving a single point of access to one version of the truth. You don’t need to click anywhere to move your data from the eCommerce side to the ERP, or import any files: the system does it all automatically.
José Escobar is an entrepreneur in Central America. He is looking to disrupt the market with a new online grocery store, and he has just selected LS Central as his new software solutions. “We are in the process of launching a pureplay online grocery store and we needed an eCommerce platform to run it on,” he explains. “We were actually recommended LS Retail by a Microsoft business solution partner, and we were immediately sold by what the LS Central platform could do for us. The ability to have everything we need, all in one place, is a massive benefit for us.”
2. Satisfy specific industry requirements
Whether you sell pet products, jewelry, garden plants, or gourmet chocolates, LS Central can support your needs. The system is purpose-built to satisfy the specific requirements and challenges facing the different sub-sectors of retail and eCommerce, with specialized functionality for industries ranging from fashion, to electronics, to grocery, to pharmacy – or a mix of any.
This embedded domain expertise allows you to tap into industry best practices and better compete in a challenging marketplace.
3. Meet evolving customer expectationsWith LS Central, you can deliver a consistent experience across all of your digital channels. On your eCommerce website, customers can check real-time stock availability, buy items to get delivered (or pick up in-store if you also run, or plan to run, store locations) and see personalized recommendations, special offers and promotions based on their individual shopping history.
What’s more, because everything is connected, the information shown on your website is always consistent on all touchpoints (for example, your stores or other apps), and it’s always up to date. So you won’t risk frustrating customers by selling them an item that is already out of stock.
“The entire customer journey can be managed with LS Central – and the value of this shouldn’t be underestimated since it has never been more important to create amazing online customer experiences,” explains Escobar. “This is bolstered by LS Central’s functionality for managing subscriptions and loyalty programs, which means we don’t have to spend significant amounts of time and money developing our own solutions. This is a real benefit to us.”
4. Eliminate data silos and make better business decisions
Many customers who move to LS Central used to run their business on a multitude of smaller, separate software solutions. This siloed infrastructure leads to blind spots and, as a result, poor business decisions.
To get around this, and achieve a holistic view of the customer experience, you need to create a single data set comprising everything from the contact center, sales information, website data, marketing information and anything else that touches the customer. This is a mammoth effort, and one that is heavily dependent on integrations that are costly, and easy to break (for example, when one of the systems involved is updated).
With LS Central you can get a unified, clear view of your business with no effort. The system covers the whole business, and brings together the data in one place. You get the big picture of your business, and can make better business decisions, instantly.
“LS Retail makes our life so much easier as we don’t have to maintain multiple databases. Everything is accessible through LS Retail – and that’s the biggest selling point for us.”
José Escobar, online entrepreneur
5. Reduce costs and maximize revenue
When all the information you need about your online business is in one place, you can reduce the administration and training costs that come from using multiple software solutions. A unified system also gives you a clear, real-time snapshot of your inventory demand, helping you decrease excess stock and the costs attached to it. That’s not all: having real-time, enterprise-wide visibility over your sales and customer also helps you optimize your pricing strategy to ensure you get a bigger, better share of the customer’s wallet.
“We have to maintain over 10,000 SKUs on our website, each with different images and nutritional information,” Escobar says. “Being able to manage all of this data from one place saves us a massive amount of time, and will deliver significant cost savings in the long term.”
6. Be predictive, not reactive
Traditionally, retailers are very reactive. Out of stocks and overstocks happen because they can’t accurately predict demand, for example.
LS Central’s cloud-based inventory optimization software uses artificial intelligence to analyze past sales, identify trends, and detect seasonality and correlations. The solution then selects the algorithm that best fits the data to calculate future sales demand for specific items, variants (for example sizes or colors), groups and sub-groups on a daily or weekly basis, depending on the desired level of detail. And if you run physical stores on top of your eCommerce, the software solution can even help you distribute the inventory to the various locations to maximize sales.
7. Leverage the best technology out there
When you use LS Central, you can integrate out of the box with market-leading eCommerce platforms including Magento, Avensia Storefront and Dynamicweb.
The ready-made integration makes setup easier and faster, and ensures that the two-way communication between the systems always works in real time, even when the systems are updated. No need to check the integrations yourself, or call costly experts – the LS Retail team takes care of it.
“We were already using Magento to manage our eCommerce site,” Escobar explains. “So when we found out that it links directly to LS Retail, we were over the moon.”
8. Future proof your business
At LS Retail, we pride ourselves on the support we offers our online customers. We won’t just give you a solution and then leave you to it. We will work hand-in-hand with you to ensure you can succeed long into the future.
“We have a fantastic relationship with LS Retail, and feel like the team has really gone out of its way to understand what we are trying to achieve with our online retail business. They are always close by if we have any questions – I can’t recommend them enough.”
José Escobar, online entrepreneur
Would you like to find out more about why you should run your online retail business on LS Central? Contact us.