Retail Management: A Deep Dive

At Blue Ocean Systems our consultants specialise in a variety of industry sectors, working with leaders and managers to enhance business operations, drive growth and achieve increased profitability. Sectors such as retail, construction, manufacturing and distribution are some of the areas where we can provide the most customised, specialist support. This week, we delve into the retail management environment and review the areas where even minor improvements can have a major positive impact.

Today’s fast-paced world of retail services relies on more than providing customers with a product. Expectations are higher, demand is stronger, and with the incredible growth of online retail services over recent years, customers require the full range of care from online help, full returns policy, international shipping and preferential rates.

[Read our blog post on innovation and customer focus].

Organisations that fall short of these elements are being left behind, or at the very best are at the receiving end of poorly handled social media campaigns.

[See recent Forbes article on what can happen when your customer service isn’t up to scratch!]

How can organisations meet and exceed the growing demands of their customers?

First, let’s review the basics: is your organisation able to do the following?:

  • Engage and interact with your target audience over multiple channels (including online, mobile and social media)

  • Deliver consistent shopping experiences

  • Use the latest technology wherever possible

  • Ensure inventory levels meet demand

  • Run efficient and effective warehouses

  • Track and measure operational efficiency

  • Identify new market opportunities and build on existing customer base

When the basics have been covered, an organisation can then expand their capabilities to make the gap between them and their competitors even bigger.


What are some other ways in which you can improve your retail operations?

Customer analytics

  • Obtain detailed sales information across all stores and platforms

  • Enable improved decision making with easy to access data and metrics

Merchandise selection

  • Ensure the full range of products is available in the right location at the right time

  • Understand retail and purchasing trends and react accordingly

Product, store and customer lifecycle management

  • Maintain core master data effectively

  • Enable global data synchronisation for easy subscription to manufacturer products [read our recent operations excellence blog post]

  • Support product development with shared master data, collaboration, and performance monitoring

Price structure

  • Identify the best combination of prices across product range, taking into account seasonal and market changes

  • Access shopper activity patterns

  • Measure trends from the bottom up (e.g. from store-SKU to cross platform analysis)

Marketing campaigns

  • Target specific market segments according to customer trends and patterns

  • Track and measure marketing campaigns and activities

Customer loyalty activities

  • Create campaigns to appeal to target customers and increase loyalty

Demand planning

  • React and respond to changing needs of customers

  • Leverage sophisticated forecasting tools

  • Automate replenishment processes

Sourcing and buying

  • Reduce waste and lost sales with up to date purchasing insights

  • Mange procurement and distribution processes according to consumer demand

Logistics and fulfilment management

  • Ensure products are available where and when they are needed

  • Streamline transport and distribution systems

  • Manage and track all warehouse activities
    [read our warehouse management blog post]

  • Consolidate orders across all distribution platforms

Supply chain

  • Optimise entire supply chain network and supply chain risk management

  • Monitor key performance indicators (KPIs)


Store and point of sale

  • Deliver customer experience to meet needs according to brand promise

  • Streamline inventory control to ensure product availability

  • Allow customers to choose how they interact with your brand


  • Enable full online product availability and shopping experience

  • Streamline online order processes

Customer service

  • Provide customer service staff with full product information and service tools

  • Align customer service to entire business platform

  • Streamline helpdesk operations

  • Manage customer complaints and compliments in an efficient manner

Multi-channel orders and returns management

  • Provide customers with multiple channels to access (and return) your goods

  • Gain customer satisfaction by providing improved product options

  • Manage returns and reverse logistics efficiently

Solutions for SMEs

  • Respond to ad hoc and unexpected customer demand

  • Improve productivity, supply chain and demand planning

Implementing an ERP for your retail organisation brings speed, flexibility and reliability to your brand. With pre-configured software, a swift company-wide implementation and minimal downtime, your entire organisation could be running smoother and more efficiently in just a few weeks.

Let the Blue Ocean Systems team work through your specific processes and requirements to tailor the solution to your unique needs.

Leveraging SAP’s vast experience, industry expertise and best practice your customers might start to wonder what changes you have made – for the right reason!

Speak with our team today about your retail management requirements


[All images courtesy SAP AG]

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