Start preparing for back-to-school shoppers with Microsoft Dynamics

August 22, 2016
August 22, 2016 TM Group

Start preparing for back-to-school shoppers with Microsoft Dynamics

Microsoft Dynamics GP can help companies prepare inventory for demand.

Promotion for holidays and other annual events seem to begin a little earlier each year. It’s not uncommon for shoppers to see Christmas displays in October and Valentine offers at the beginning of the year. Even though students are just wrapping up the current school year, it’s never too early for businesses to prepare their digital infrastructure for back-to-school shopping.  Microsoft Dynamics offers ERP and CRM solutions for retailers looking to restructure their operations in slow periods to prepare for times of high demand. Integrating Microsoft Dynamics GP and CRM or other line of business software solutions can create a unified information system.

Companies should investigate the benefits of complete data visibility and streamlined operations now, before shoppers start beating down their doors.

Microsoft Dynamics CRM for marketing Parents and college students need to buy educational tools, books, clothing and dorm room furniture when they prepare for school in the fall. Instead of making a mad dash to get their supplies at the last minute, research from the Adroll showed consumers will carefully consider their purchases by researching products and companies online and they, in fact, do it earlier every year, according to eCommerce Training Academy.

In 2015, online back-to-school shopping began in May. While 48 percent of shoppers waited until August to actually make a purchase – in-store or through eCommerce – 35 percent start in July. Even more used the internet to research purchases long before they actually started utilizing physical and digital shopping carts. Almost two-thirds of consumers researched back-to-school products in July.

Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2016 offers features like Social Monitoring so businesses can see products consumers talk about online. After proper implementation, CRM solutions should track online activities, in-store purchases and care center communications to create complete consumer profiles and communicate with similar demographics. ERP integration with CRM systems ensures all early marketing efforts communicate actual availability and reflect future shopping promotions.

Microsoft Dynamics for inventory Watching data like inventory counts during periods of high demand is important to make the most of opportunities. The National Retail Federation reported back-to-school spending in the U.S. increased by 42 percent between 2005 and 2015. The availability of eCommerce solutions is one reason more consumers can find the products they want and need for their education career.

Keys to a proper online presence include responsive web design and integration with in-store activities. According to Adroll, 73 percent of parents used their mobile devices when shopping for their children’s school supplies in 2015. If a business doesn’t have mobile capabilities – or sites are unresponsive on smartphones or tablets – they miss a huge consumer segment. Another thing to keep in mind is many of these people use mobile devices while in the store. Online and physical shopping activities are no longer separate entities, so companies need consistent information for both.

Inventory control is just one of the many features provided by Microsoft Dynamics NAV. Not only do retailers gain complete visibility of online and store product movements, but a streamlined ERP solution provides a single truth for financial management, human resources and business intelligence. By pairing Microsoft Dynamics with an eCommerce platform, companies can provide early back-to-school shoppers with direct insight into product information and current inventory availability.

Add-ons for back-to-school Many software developers design eCommerce solutions for businesses preparing for important sales seasons and for daily data performance improvements. For example, k-eCommerce delivers consumer platforms, digital product catalogs and omni-channel marketing while ensuring the systems respond to touchscreens and other mobile features. It makes it easier for consumers to make purchases and for companies to monitor online shopper actions.

When it comes time to integrate business activities, it’s not just the differences between online and offline organizations have to take into account. Avalara released a white paper on back-to-school preparation and how simplified tax solutions can help companies operating in multiple territories. Certain states have tax holidays that correspond to the new school year. Even when there aren’t time periods with adjusted sales tax, businesses still have to accommodate differences in unique territories.

Automated tax solutions like the ones offered by Avalara create consistent financial data for all business software users. Simplifying information systems through integration is an investment companies should make in slow periods to prepare for success in the future.

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