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How Can A Retail ERP System Streamline Customer Data-Gathering?

Businessman analyzing data on customers

When it comes to navigating an ever-changing retail landscape, using a retail ERP system to streamline customer data-gathering is vital to ensure business growth beyond the horizon.

A retail ERP system brings together various customer analytics gathered by point-of-sale checkout systems. Customer data is essential in identifying trends, making strategic business decisions, selecting the product mix and more.

However, the first step to having valuable customer information is collecting it. That’s where technology can help retailers take that first step through a series of “info codes” and “triggers.”

Here’s how it works.

The ideal retail ERP system connects each sales transaction conducted at the store’s POS system with a customer. To get started, retailers need to set up a system to gather info codes, meaning customer information, when a specific action during the checkout process occurs.

These specific actions, also known as triggers, could be anything. Examples include the start of a sale, the end of a sale, if the customer bought a particular item, or when a customer pays a certain way (i.e. with a credit card).

Deciding the POS trigger takes some thought. Determine at what point during the transaction you want to gather the customer information. If you want to gather customer demographics with every transaction, the trigger is the start of the transaction. If you want to know the demographics of customers who buy a particular item, the trigger is when the sales associate scans the product’s bar code at checkout. Thus, when a customer at a sporting goods store buys a specific type of bicycle, the checkout scan triggers the retail POS software to prompt the cashier to input the customer’s gender, approximate age, zip code or maybe even telephone number.

Defining an info code should consist of information that will help you in customer demographics and inventory planning. For example, an info code for gender could give insight into the type of products most of your female customers are buying, or the best-selling item with male customers. Whatever you decide for your customer analysis, the most important part is capturing information.

You can design your retail POS software to gather info codes in a way in which your store cashier doesn’t have to ask the customer anything and can answer the questions based on observation. Gathering information this way would look something like this: 15 males between the ages of approximately 30 and 40 years old bought a specific brand of frozen pizza. You wouldn’t know specifically who each customer is, but you would know the customer demographics for a specific product.

A retail ERP system ties together the customer data collection process. For example, a store’s traditional stand-alone POS register only knows the transactions and the data collected in its aisle. Likewise, the other POS registers in the store also only know the transactions and data they processed individually.

But to know what inventory was sold, how much it sold for, sales trends and inventory turnover, the POS registers must combine their data into a centrally connected system. If a retailer has multiple store locations, the process gets more complex, because all those stores have their own islands of information and still must tie into a central retail ERP system.

The real-time, detailed and accurate customer data gathered by a central retail ERP system empower businesses with faster decision-making and the ability to determine trends. Uncovering trends gathered by specific customer data — such as the fact that 80 percent of laundry detergent sales were generated by female customers — can help retailers to map out a plan for growth in a shifting retail environment.