Erply Cloud Point of Sale Solution Teaches Marketing Tricks to Stores
Wholesale, retail and service sector-oriented business software Erply smoothly integrates stock accounting software with store and e-shop sales programs, and on top of that will also provide a customer loyalty program with new opportunities.
„There are many companies in Estonia that own e-shops and whose store software does not match with their old stock or retail accounting software. Therefore, troublesome and time-consuming manual work is often done in order to match the numbers in one program with the ones in the other. Instead, you could think about an entirely new and far more convenient program,“ explains Kristjan Hiiemaa from Erply.
He added that the introduction of the new program is very simple – first, there is a possibility to transfer all data from old software programs to the new one and secondly, Erplys support team offers full training with ongoing support and facilitation.
One of Erply inventory management software flagship clients, who had an old stock accounting software that did not support company’s e-shop, is an electronics store OnOff. According to Hiiemaa, the company wished that the goods could be found automatically in all vendor databases for price comparison, but their previous business software did not allow that and started to process the goods after the order was made. „The solution was actually quite simple and now the whole process is transparent and money-saving because it can always provide products with the best price. In addition, they no longer have to worry about software servers, license fees or updates, and will only pay for the server which they would have done anyway. Furthermore, we guarantee the security, speed, and availability of data.“
Erply can be connected very conveniently to the wholesale and/or retail stock system and to store solutions: you can see in real-time how much goods are in the warehouse and how much each store has sold. This way wholesale can optimize the sale of smaller shops, there is no need to enter the product twice, and accountants can receive the whole balance and analyzes of the items for both retail and wholesale. A great bonus is that the software can also work without internet and sales can be done offline because all the data is in a common server. And besides that in order to guarantee the stability and security of data for the client, the server data is duplicated on three other servers.
„The best example to describe the variety of product assortment is probably women’s lingerie – it is likely the most detailed branch in production business because it is all about different colors, sizes, numbers, and models. Imagine if every shop and warehouse must enter them one by one into the program and count the sales,“ says Hiiemaa.
Marat, a garment manufacturer, is a great example of how Erplys software can also bring together several legal entities despite their location worldwide. Marat’s production is in Estonia and sales in Finland but their common database provides real-time information about sales and how many products need to be delivered and sent to packing.
When you previously needed to place technique, a broadband internet connection and buy a new computer to open a new store, now with Erply software the technical matters to open a store take only a few minutes. One only has to connect the printer with a laptop, add internet stick, log into a software program and all the reporting on the status of the products and inventory can be automatically seen in real-time. It is immediately possible to start printing the barcodes, as the production and changing of the labels have been incorporated into the same program.
Innovation is Not Embraced Easily, Even Though it Eases the Work
„The reason for postponing the introduction of new business software is usually the same: the user is attached to the old software, they fear the renewal process and the discomfort, if not able to deal with it. In fact, today’s user interface is so convenient that even a completely new user has no problem. Of course, we give all users a practical training,” says Hiiemaa. “If there are software updates, then once again we see how difficulty new applications are taken into use independently. Our job is then to go to our customers, to show them and to teach them, so that they will be more open to using innovations. Estonian people do not embrace innovation easily, though they may greatly simplify the work and save money.“
In addition to developing warehouse, wholesale, retail and e-commerce programs, Erplys software has another very important part – customer loyalty system in other words loyalty program. Every shop and chain of shops must have a clear desire to keep their customers.
According to Hiiemaa the most common „blunders“ are loyalty cards, which collect points in an incomprehensible system, and are sometimes equated with discount cards. „If I get the benefit at first, may not bring me back to the store the next time. Maybe I will find the same product closer or only a little bit more expensive… and there goes the customer! What brings me back is the opportunity to get something for free or something personal and also the seller’s personal approach.“
The easiest way to create a personal connection is through a cash register system, where a person is registered as a client. Carrying a loyalty card should not be mandatory because you can identify a person by the name or even by a photo on a computer. „Most of Estonia’s client card systems are meaningless because they do not know how to give any info about the consumer – how much he has previously bought, what kind of goods he prefers, when his birthday is, the number of times he has visited the shop, what is his average purchase amount. This information is ideal and very necessary for client service, and with Erply software, you can bring it out,“ says Hiiemaa. „Furthermore, if I am a customer at a webshop, it would be logical that I am automatically a client in the company’s retail store as well. Erply has that logical point of sale interface. As well as getting all orders into one information system, and automatic amendment of the list prices in all outlets at one time.“
If you take the amount of purchase into account you could keep track of gifts or automatically print or send by e-mail discount coupons for future purchases. For instance, if a salesperson sees that a customer always buys bicycle-related goods, you can offer the client power drinks or energy bars. And would not try to sell him a football. This personal approach appeals to customers and for this reason, the customer loyalty is totally in the hands of the company itself.
In addition, the business software selects clients in a few keystrokes and offers them promotional items. There is no point in sending an advertisement for an 8+ Lego to parents with infants or an offer for Barbie to a boy’s mother. „But if you don’t know the client, it is difficult to offer the right product,“ says Hiiemaa.
Retailing Has To Become More Active And Bolder
In Estonia, the communication with clients often ends when the shop door brackets, without realizing they are service providers, not anonymous retailers. However, advanced software solutions provide an opportunity for both the small and big, both wholesale and retail establishments to make their work truly profitable.
According to Hiiemaa, the customer loyalty program is especially helpful for specialized sellers. „For example, a parquet seller could make a proposal to the customer that their partner is coming to install parquet, and each year could ask if the customer needed a new cleanser. Gas boiler dealer can make a new offer for clients who according to the database will need a boiler replacement. Husqvarna dealers, for example, have discovered a good customer service model – if someone buys a saw, then he is likely to need it sharpened after a while, and it is sensible to send him safety clothing offers. If a person acquires a trimmer, he probably owns a garden, and it is wise to offer him garden equipment. Why can’t the company itself remind the customer that it is time to bring the machine into care?“
Erply software solutions provide many other opportunities – for example, different companies can combine their store databases, link with other loyalty programs and exchange data. For companies participating in trade fairs, it is important to add customers to their system in real time, to look the stock on the spot and to send the price offered by e-mail while the client is still there.
„The next step and not least important is to monitor the workers and give rewards to best of them. After all, there exists an automatic sales report for each seller in the cash system. In addition to identifying the best workers, Erply also provides an opportunity to monitor the salesperson’s loyalty and scams – thanks to a transparent system you could see the quantities sold, discounts, sales, and profits,“ says Hiiemaa. „It makes me surprise that merchants are more willing to leave their good employees, than their old software. When you take Erply into use you will see positive changes for the company, employees and clients!“
G Ramler / kaubandus.ee