In our last blog, we covered the challenges and opportunities today’s global retailers face – delivering the best possible customer experience while keeping costs down and supply chains running efficiently.
Let’s take a closer look at how Persistent approaches these challenges and the opportunities to ensure retailers have the best possible platforms for future growth.
We group our approach into five general buckets:
- Ecommerce enablement
- Infrastructure modernization
We take a business outcomes approach first, not technology first. The technology Is there to serve the business. With our Digital Greenhouse methodology, we do a thorough assessment of the business needs, across key stakeholders, and from there create the transformation roadmap. Combined with our pre-built tools, accelerators and centers of excellence around the world we capture best practices and proven approaches for our customers. We also offer creative services, as opposed to many providers who bolt on design services on top of the solution. For the best retail experience, design must be an integral part of the application interface.
Headless commerce is an important breakthrough – an e-commerce architecture where the front-end is decoupled from the back-end commerce functionality, allowing it to be updated or edited without interfering with the front-end. This is significant for global retailers – It brings consistency to content across channels and compelling digital storefronts which are easily updated for sales, promotions and seasonal themes.
Persistent is a well-established partner with Salesforce and the Salesforce Commerce Cloud, integrating it with a wide range of retail-oriented applications such as Shopify, Magento, Hybris and Adobe, and customization around headless ecommerce. CRM is also being augmented with powerful AI and ML models.
None of this is possible without a powerful, flexible IT infrastructure. Persistent’s expertise lies in creating the optimum cloud platform, utilizing the best cloud offerings and microservices integration to bring the optimum digital mosaic together for each retailer.
Omni-channel enablement is impossible without it – offline/online channel integration or “Look anywhere, shop anywhere”. This includes supporting
- A tailor-made shopping experience.
- Click and collect implementation.
- Stock management (visibility and reserve/ blocking) of offline store through online channel and vice versa.
- Easy returns through offline channels.
- Other physical stores feature visibility such as store finder, parking, maps integrations.
Components of this modernization include our IAM (identity and management) solution, improving user experience with unified user identities. Customers log in once for a consistent experience across channels. Employees no longer have to log into multiple applications. One secure sign-in is all that’s required, eliminating multiples log-ins and passwords, and providing one single view to data that was previously in siloed applications.
At Constellation Brands we completed a Shopify migration for a consistent user experience. They had different websites on different technology stacks, built over time by different vendors and across various marketing and business functions.
We delivered Shopify Architecture on:
- Shopify store setup and theme customization
- Payment gateway and Shopify integration, with support and maintenance
- Migration of site content and hierarchy
- Import products, customers, orders into the Shopify store
- Reusable Shopify components helped accelerate development
- All sites moved to one consistent platform.
This resulted in 30-40% savings in site maintenance, plus improved feature velocity.
Data is the juice that feeds the retail machine. The challenge is how to manage it.
A data lake implementation is applied for transactional and master data, which allows for real-time analytics to capture micro-events for complex decision-making – is an offer or sale working? Do we have enough inventory in this region for a holiday? Is a product available if we’re promoting it?
This also delivers interconnected retail – personalized recommendation engines, sentiment analysis, demand forecasting, anomaly detection, AI/ML/chatbots. These are advanced technologies bringing significant benefits.
We’ve also developed AI/ML-driven retail analytics, specifically for their needs –
- Specific channel performance (revenue, inventory, margin).
- Predictive analytics.
- Targeted data mining for transactions, customer purchase history, inventory, etc.
- Insight-driven for operations optimization.
- Demand and forecast management.
- Heat map analysis.
- SEO enablement.
A powerful cloud-based CRM solution is core to any retailer, large or small. It provides a unified, 360 view of customers, tracking their journey from initial lead to service and repeat purchases.
This enables high degrees of personalization, campaign and promotion management, cross sell, up sell, best seller.
Persistent has Salesforce Centers of Excellence around the world, demonstrating the many best practices use cases we have implemented including accelerators for rapid implementation.
Sales and Operations
With these foundations in place, interconnected retail can take off. Tailored promotions, timely offers, supply ready to meet demand, delivering a unified customer experience across both physical and digital worlds.
Through IBA (intelligent business automation) we provide workflow and robotic process automation, removing time-consuming, labor-intensive processes and tasks prone to errors. This is a major benefit to retail environments both for cost savings and efficiencies.
It modernizes the supply chain, improving stores and franchise operations visibility with easy to view dashboards tracking real-time data across all key metrics with a Franchisee Management application.
The back-end is now tightly connected – warehouse management, logistics and fulfillment – automated for maximum efficiency and taking full advantage of digital-enabled processes. Digital transformation includes integrating the physical with the digital world.
A good example is the order-to-cash system Persistent implemented at Cycle360.
We developed a custom application for order entries to be fed to the back-end order processing system and billing. REST web services APIs were invoked from the back-end notifying order status and billing-related information and a separate package for integration with Authorize .Net APIs for payment processing. The Force.com application communicates with the billing integration layer (BIL – Java middleware application) for all back-end processing.
The retail world is undergoing a transformation. At Persistent, we are helping our clients embrace this transformation through a systematic, multipronged and strategic approach that combines design elements and infrastructure modernization.