From evolving supply chains to ever-improving inventory practices, the retail industry continuously faces unique challenges that require cutting-edge business practices. As retail operations grow, retailers often turn to technology and automation to help meet the demands of modern business. For instance, many big retailers harness the power of application and data workflow orchestration to optimize their supply chains, set competitive prices, advertise effectively, and ensure that their financial close processes are managed securely.
BMC’s premier application and data workflow orchestration platforms, Control-M and BMC Helix Control-M, support and enhance these practices in various ways, such as automating and rationalizing inventory management, supporting growing local stores, and optimizing shipping. As the retail industry continues to evolve with growing digitization, e-commerce, and competition, retailers must revise and expand their business-critical requirements for a workflow orchestration platform beyond individual domains. Retailers need a platform that can improve and optimize the entire lifecycle from order to delivery.
Retail market evolution
After years of optimization and accommodating lower margins, retailers continue to search for best-of-breed solutions, especially in the digital world. That means that they will adopt the best customer relationship management (CRM) solution, the best analytics package, the best in-store customer tracking solution, and various other vertical offers.
These disparate solutions often don’t integrate easily, which makes it difficult for retailers to deliver an integrated customer experience, especially one that bridges digital and brick-and-mortar storefronts.
Order lifecycle management
For instance, in online retail, customers fill their digital shopping cart, check out, pay, and wait for the delivery, but the retailer, due to lack of integration in the order lifecycle, may not be able to fully deliver the cart because some items are out of stock. The retailer needs to handle the situation up front by contacting the customer and proposing a replacement or a refund, while also managing customer (dis)satisfaction.
In such a scenario, only tight integration between inventory (fed by the inbound logistics), order preparation and delivery to outbound logistics, and the CRM system handling the dialogue with the customer will deliver an exceptional customer experience.
Once again, Control-M and Helix Control-M can help, integrating more systems and applications to deliver observability throughout the entire order lifecycle. One customer said they apply Control-M to optimize and connect every phase of the supply chain. As a result, their customers are provided with the right inventory, at the right quantity, in the right place, at the right time.
Data-driven diversified strategies
Advanced analytics can also enhance the customer experience. Gathering the large quantities of heterogeneous data generated by site visits, store video images, and loyalty card acquisition patterns, etc., into an analytics system is a challenge of scale and complexity. But it allows businesses to study customer behavior, preferences, and local trends, all of which can provide valuable business insights.
By bridging systems and processes that communicate with the customers at every touchpoint of their journey, retailers can create outstanding customer experiences. For example, a fashion retailer in Europe has used Control-M to successfully implement a repeatable process that transfers and processes data, producing strategic reports that align with local customers’ needs, site-specific data, seasonal conditions, and local events.
Data transfers from traditional sources and newer technologies like Internet of Things (IoT) can be continuous (customer traffic videos produced by surveillance cameras), highly dynamic (produced by occasional promotional campaigns), and real-time (on-demand catalog requests). Control-M and Helix Control-M can enhance the customer shopping experience and maximize the conversion rate of visitors who make a purchase by managing and integrating those various data sources in a complex data pipeline of event-driven data processes.
Targeted advertising and promotions
Retailers often experiment with their systems to automate special price offerings and time-sensitive actions, but doing so requires gathering information about customers. For instance, a couple who looks on the web for a TV, compares the offers and prices, and then comes into the store has specific options in mind. By detecting the link between those events, a system could propose a special offer on TVs to dramatically increase the couple’s chance of buying.
Again, this requires tight integration between systems that are often not connected out-of-the-box. By analyzing and interpreting customer data and anticipating customer demand, Control-M and Helix Control-M accelerate the delivery of actionable insights to help companies make informed decisions across the customer journey, from targeted advertising and promotion to strategic pricing.
Light and fast
As part of their digital transformation, many businesses are moving to the cloud with the goal of reducing the operations needed to deliver advanced solutions. This is how they tune their position between minimum risk and maximum profit.
Managing changes in production requires collecting multiple perspectives in a single framework, especially in the cloud, where short-term assets, serverless computing, and resource scaling create an ever-changing, volatile, and ephemeral environment. Control-M and Helix Control-M provide that framework by offering visibility, traceability, and auditability of workflows in the cloud.
The evolving nature of the retail industry demands that agile and robust technologies work seamlessly together and facilitate the automation and data processing capabilities required by modern businesses. Control-M and BMC Helix Control-M help businesses synchronize supply and demand, support and optimize complex inbound and outbound logistics—including inventory management, store assortment, fulfillment, packing, and distribution—all while improving efficiency and reducing costs. But most importantly, the solutions connect all the parts together and deliver consistency from order to delivery.