Use live, accurate data to achieve frequent, relevant sales

shutterstock_165932396Right now, stock management systems are said to be having one of the greatest impacts on a customer’s multi-channel experience. Retailers, whose systems do not provide total visibility of stock for consumers, are particularly concerned and seeing consequences further down the line when it comes to meeting expectations of orders, deliveries and returns.

Critical to retailers overcoming this issue is the overhauling of legacy IT systems including EPoS systems. According to Retail Week, 33% of retailers believe CRM and data management have the most potential to improve the shopping experience, however a lot of these retailers that are keen to upgrade are facing barriers from senior management that require proof that a new system will raise profits before investing. Much of the pressure to equip the business in line with the demands of a multi-channel world lies with the IT team, and so recruiting the right talent in this department that will affectively generate profits is also a key factor. For example, Argos has just appointed Henrietta Baring to the newly created position of head of IT, commercial and supply chain to help it become a digital retail leader and to deliver its strategy of  ‘More Choice, Available Faster’. Baring will report to IT director Mike Sackman, who comments: “Technology is at the heart of the Argos transformation and as we build our capabilities to ensure we have a fully integrated supply chain. This is crucial to allow us to respond quickly and effectively to the marketplace. Her areas of focus will be on systems that show real time product availability and reduce lead times to customers, and systems that process millions of customer orders for local in store pickup or for home delivery.”

Comprehensive data management including sales and stock information is one of the EPoS system’s greatest attributes. The ability to provide a 360 degree view of all stock across all channels is a starting feature for today’s EPoS systems that are built to aid the management of a multi-channel business. For example, keeping an up to date record of product count, knowing the location of product such as in store and which store, and following which products have been sold or being returned.

Live accurate data

High quality product data can also work on a consumer and marketing level in providing direct information to potential customers while they browse with a mobile device for example, which according to Retail Week is the other technology considered to be having a big impact on the multi-channel experience. Consumers wishing to compare products and the decision as to buy or not, is reliant upon the accurate and relevant information that retailers can provide. Product title, description, images videos, size, colour, availability and price are all key elements in the decision making process and this data is easily stored in an EPoS system. In today’s multi-channel market it is so important to keep such an in depth picture of every product in order to present products ‘live’. A consumer that clicks on an advert and finds the product to be out of stock will lose confidence in the retailer, which can lead to lost sales.

Marketing demands high quality product data that is refreshed regularly and able to make adjustments when products are flagged as low in stock or not available in all sizes. Sean McAuley, managing director of feed management at Fuse Pump, a provider of multi-channel e-commerce software, says: “A high level of accuracy will lead to consistency across every customer touch point, improve the user experience immeasurably.”

Consistency and visibility were both ranked in Retail Week’s top trends affecting shoppers’ interaction with retailers. It highlights “Amazon’s customer experience which always impresses because shoppers feel as though they can trust it to deliver time after time, and John Lewis’ reputation for service not just through tweaking its offer for a multichannel world, but by consistently building and developing its business with customer experience and service as priorities”.

Meanwhile supply chain visibility is a priority for many retailers. “Knowing where each piece of stock is in the business at any one time means more orders can be fulfilled, which both improves customer satisfaction and increases the amount of products sold at full price. Argos’s mobile app allows shoppers to check the stock levels of a single product in the store closest to them, while Tesco is working on a similar service that will also show shoppers a map detailing how to find it in store. This doesn’t just need clever apps, but stock systems that are fully up to date”, explains Rebecca Thomson at Retail Week.


Additionally, an EPoS system can integrate with numerous data tools to enhance a customer’s shopping experience including customer data. Sean adds: “Once you have all that product data at your fingertips, use it to your advantage. Unlock the potential of your other data sources, such as customer information to deliver a truly personalised experience across multiple channels”. If you aren’t already sending your customers special offers to celebrate their birthdays this is a good place to start. Moving forward you could follow up purchases, in store or online if you have an email address, mobile phone number or customer account number, to see if they are happy with their purchase or need anything more. Evans Cycles for example, sends an email two weeks after someone buys a bike to ask ‘Have you got everything you need?’ while presenting a collection of accessories like tool, bags, clothing or shoes. This campaign gets an average open rate of 38 % and has created an additional spend of £40 per bike purchase – all because the retailer keeps a comprehensive product and customer database.


Using a combination of data tools, EPoS for sales, CRM for customer loyalty and marketing for promotion, it is possible for a business to turn data into strategies for growth and retention. This programmatic approach enables retailers to reach the right audience, at the right time, with the right message via the right device and shopping channel. Martin Brown, DataXu vice president and managing director UK, says: “Actionable data will help you move from fragmented, uni-channel marketing to a fully customer-centric approach. It gives retail advertisers the ability to extract real insights from data to allow 24/7 conversations with customers and automated decisions on real-time feedback. By using a programmatic approach retailers can truly understand the path to purchase, better engage with prospects and customers, optimise content, develop better buying strategies and glean actionable insights”.

Find out more about the advantages of EPoS systems.