The presentation of the research “The store of the future. The place to be!”, by the Digital Innovation Observatory on Retail at Milan Polytechnic, which was held on 7th February, was an opportunity to reflect on how new technologies can influence competitivity in the world of sales, in particular that of Mass Market Retailers.
As shown by the research, we are going through a phase of profound transformation, in which “digital technology, if properly managed, can represent a critical success factor: it can support internal process improvement and can enable a richer and better-valued relationship with customers”. In fact, 70% of retailers declare their desire to concentrate future investments on solutions aimed at improving their internal processes and, in this environment, it is technological innovation that makes the difference.
Let us think, for example, about goods receipt operations, when goods are delivered directly to the point of sale by means of onroad selling or in view of an order placed by the Sales rep at the store, as in the case of fresh products, from dairies to meat, bread or sweets, delivered to the point of sale by providers, usually local ones.
How can we make sure that goods delivered (and invoiced) correspond to ordered (and paid) goods?
This is an aspect which, if not properly managed, may imply a significant loss of efficiency for Retail Distribution chains.
Current retail management systems allow managing goods reception, both of products directly delivered by the supplier and also of those shipped from the warehouse or the distribution centre.
For some customers of ours, like Supermercati Poli and Viridea, a PDA app has been developed, guiding operators while verifying correct correspondence between expected goods (if indicated in a document generated by the ERP and synchronised onto the device) and goods effectively delivered by providers, and allowing them to realise potential discrepancies. If a document listing expected items is not available in the system, the operator can anyway enter the hard-copy shipping document references for a given delivery, in order to allow necessary controls.
Another interesting scenario, above all for chains featuring several points of sale, is the control of goods shipped from the distribution centre: also in this case it is possible to verify correspondence between expected and received articles, proceed with the necessary notifications and resolve potential issues.
But not only goods receipt can be optimised: we will soon be dealing with topics related to pricing management and communication between Head Office and points of sale.