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The 4 themes weighing heaviest on retailer’s minds — and how Celonis can help

As the post-pandemic era vaguely drifts into existence, the industry that was perhaps hardest hit, Retail, is in the process of taking stock — both literally and figuratively — and the assessments of the lay of the land vary.

Arguably the ‘new normal’, one of the most overused terms of the last few years, feels eerily similar to the old normal. But it’s undeniable the great retail reset hit everyone, and continues to do so. Change, as they say, is the only constant.

But what does it take to stay competitive in this not so brave new world?

In this blog post we’re going to look at the four biggest themes affecting retailers at the moment, and how you might be able to use Celonis to turn each issue into a competitive advantage.

1. Conservative, but agile

Let’s start with a big one. At the moment, purse strings are tight. Both on the side of the customer, and the side of the retailer. We’re experiencing a cost of living crisis, made significantly worse by unpredictable external factors and macroeconomic influences.

But because they are unpredictable, and are just as likely to disappear as appear, there’s every possibility that a spending boom could be just around the corner. That means retailers need to be in a position where they can shift from ‘batten down the hatches’ to ‘birthday bonanza’ in the blink of an eye.

How Celonis can help: Luckily, this is an area Celonis is uniquely suited to help with. By giving you a 360° view of your operations — and the interplay between different areas of your business — we give you the ability to quickly respond to external influences. 

2. Leveling up customer experience 

Next up is one we’re hearing from a lot of our customers: The need to use customer experience as a lever to increase customer loyalty. For many retailers, this has meant meeting the customer where they are through omni-channel strategies.

But the fantastic Stephen Dennis had an interesting take on this. He said “The customer is the only channel,” meaning you need to meet your customer where they are at any time in any place. The customer must know they can depend on you no matter where they are because the second they have a bad experience, they will look somewhere else.

There’s also a lever retailers can pull in terms of loyalty schemes and the smarter use of data. Whether that’s tailoring a customer’s experience — like offering to ship to home if they didn't pick up the item in store when they said — or providing promotional offers to the most loyal customers instead of promoting for the sake of promoting.

How Celonis can help: With Celonis’ EMS, you can see all of your brand touchpoints in a single view, see where customers might be getting stuck, canceling orders, or where there are a higher level of complaints, then smooth out any kinks.

3. Store Employees as a differentiator

Shopping online is so easy now, but brick and mortar stores still serve as a key enabler for driving incremental sales. Many retailers tell us they do more online business if they have stores in the area. 

When customers go to a store, maybe it’s because they want to feel and touch something in person, or they are looking for assistance from a person. Either way, you don’t want your store staff kept busy looking in stock rooms for items that might not even be there, or on the phone trying to sort out technical issues.

A lot of our customers are telling us how important it is that store staff are free to do the thing that’s most important — be there for customers.

How Celonis can help: By connecting all of your systems together, Celonis enables you to proactively reveal and fix issues like incorrect inventory levels, mislabeled pricing, or gaps in alignment between virtual customer care and in-store activity. So your staff are free to do face-to-face, value-add activities.

4. Multi-directional supply chains

Just when you thought getting your supply chain going in one direction was hard enough, now you have to deal with the fact that returns from online purchases are twice — or even three times — as likely in comparison with in-person purchases.

With the increase in online shopping happening at the moment that means you’ve got a significant amount of inventory heading towards you, and you need to get it back and into circulation as soon as possible. All while keeping your impact on the planet as minimal as possible.

How Celonis can help: By connecting up the systems you use for shipping, returns, and inventory management, you’ll be able to see what you’ve got where — and get it where it needs to be faster. And at the same time you’ll be able to quantify and reduce your shipping emissions. 

Want to know more about how Celonis can help improve green-, top-, and bottom line performance at the same time? Check out The Realist’s Guide to Sustainable Order Management.

It all adds up to visibility and control

No doubt you’ll have noticed there’s a theme connecting the solutions to these issues: Visibility and control. There is information in all of your systems that when combined and mined using a solution like Celonis, allows you to see how your business truly runs.

This, in turn, allows you to reveal and fix the inefficiencies silently killing your performance, and allows you to reach levels of performance you never thought possible.

Want to see how Celonis helps retailers reach new levels of performance in procurement, inventory management, omnichannel & merchandising? Check out the Process Mining for Retail demo.

Andrew London Headshot
Andrew London
Senior Content Marketing Manager

Andrew London is a Senior Content Marketing Manager at Celonis. He specializes in both strategy and execution, helping with positioning and messaging at one end, while getting his hands dirty producing content at the other. He learnt how to do all this working with some of the biggest names in B2B tech at Velocity Partners — being part of the team that helped them win The Drum Agency of the Year award during his time there. Before that he cut his teeth working for SEO powerhouse TechRadar where he proudly held the top ranking position for “Best gadgets”.

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