Executive Insights: Microsoft Dynamics AX for Retail and Native Social Network Integration

By - June 18, 2015

Capturing and retaining a core audience is a critical part of staying competitive and profitable across almost every enterprise, but perhaps none have felt the pressure to keep up with a customer base more than those in the retail industry, where digital innovation has empowered shoppers to become more discerning, mobile, and engaged than ever before. Brand image is no longer built solely on the quality of the product and services provided by each company, but also hinges on how engaging, tech-savvy, and culturally relevant each retailer is, and how well its associates translate this message into customer value.

Personalized Promotions: Today’s Digitally-Focused Loyalty Programs

To foster this sense of connectedness, retailers are strategically overhauling traditional loyalty programs and promotions, a majority of which rely on impersonal point accrual systems and plastic in-store loyalty cards to build patronage, in favor of more targeted campaigns directly tailored to each customer’s unique tastes, resulting in more effective interactions that encourage repeat business. Social networking is an essential part of this new functionality, allowing associates and executives to communicate messages to shoppers across the channels and devices they most often frequent, boosting visibility and increasing the likelihood of reaction.

Microsoft Dynamics AX for Retail: Enabling Omnichannel Retailer Outreach

Accurately developing and delivering an omnichannel promotions strategy requires an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system that integrates directly with key social networks, enabling retailers to track customer data across interactions, then leverage these insights to directly deliver differentiated messages that appeal specifically to each recipient. Microsoft Dynamics AX for Retail ERP software stands out in this space, integrating natively and seamlessly with social networks, including Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest, allowing retailers visibility into shoppers’ purchasing intentions and preferences to craft the types of promotions best suited for them.

This type of digital engagement is taking hold and quickly becoming the expected norm for today’s customers, as noted in a recent global survey of 15,000 online shoppers by PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PWC) that found 51 percent of respondents use social media to interact with a brand, leading them to like the brand more than before the interaction, and 21 percent visit brand social media sites after receiving a personalized promotion via text message or email (up from just 9 percent the previous year).

From Screen to Store: Leveraging Dynamics AX to Boost Online and Physical Presence

While delivering promotions via social media may be a strictly digital endeavor, customers can still redeem such offers in stores in the form of a barcoded coupon, which an associate can quickly scan to deliver each shopper’s special reward. This flexibility is required to keep up with shoppers as they engage across the Internet of Things, using multiple devices to communicate with brands, often transitioning from online to brick-and-mortar browsing without skipping a beat. In fact, according to the PWC survey, 66 percent of online shoppers use coupons received on their smartphones to make a purchase in store, at home, or in transit.

By enabling retailers to track every redemption across both physical and virtual networks, Dynamics AX for Retail not only makes it easier for associates to accommodate this “always on” environment, but also boosts in-store traffic and allows for a closed-loop marketing analysis, so executives can easily track promotion performance and more accurately plan future campaigns.

Staying Social: Retaining Brand Loyalty with Dynamics AX Social Media Integration

Staying relevant and compelling in the retail industry means ensuring your shoppers feel appreciated, special, and understood, and there’s no better way to do so than through integrated promotions that deliver catered deals directly to their smart devices. Working directly with today’s most trusted and trafficked social media sites, Microsoft Dynamics AX for Retail provides this capability and much more, helping associates glean shoppers’ purchase personality, then turn this knowledge into meaningful, intentional promotional outreaches—building both brand loyalty and customer trust.

Learn more about the author, Brion Reusche.

Sources:

“Achieving Total Retail: Consumer Expectations Driving the Next Retail Business Model,” PriceWaterhouseCoopers, February 2014, p. 14, https://www.pwc.com/en_GX/gx/retail-consumer/ assets/achieving-total-retail.pdf

“Microsoft Dynamics for Retail Sales Discussion Guide,” Microsoft Dynamics, Slide 3.

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