Originally coined by the CPG industry, retail execution processes help perform field activities in a structured manner. SAP Hybris Cloud for Customer introduced retail execution capabilities in August 2013 with continuous innovations thereafter with every release. From the initial launch we have observed the adoption of this functionality across multiple industries especially for execution oriented sales teams, who visit customers on a regular basis to gather information, perform a guided set of activities and are on the lookout for opportunities to sell more. The core objectives of a retail execution solution are to maximize sales and enhance brand value, with insights and visibility starting from a key account level, all the way to a point of sale, and further to the shelf or any other point of contact with the end consumer. The insights help understand the overall effectiveness of the store including inventory situation or out-of-stock data, the positioning of the brand at the point of sale and effectiveness of marketing initiatives, while continuing to optimize the productivity of the merchandiser or pre-seller. This enables further actions such as better forecasting, negotiating the right contract with the retailers and planning the right promotions and in-store activities. Let us look at how SAP Hybris Cloud for Customer enables each of the elements of the retail execution process, while keeping the overall TCO at check.
Plan and Perform your Visits Efficiently
In Cloud for Customer, the entire retail execution process is centered on a visit, which the sales user performs at the customer site or any other location. These visits can be planned in advance using route planning or created ad-hoc as needed. Route planning includes a proposal of the accounts that should be visited and provides various views such as the map, with driving route, and calendar to help with improved planning. During execution, each visit is time stamped and geo-location stamped during its start and finish via the check-in / check-out actions, enabling sales managers to drive process optimization and adherence. The users can access the Account 360 as well, as part of the preparation for the visit. The visibility into marketing initiatives is provided via a campaign view and a promotion calendar. The promotions can either be downloaded from SAP CRM or defined within the solution. Users can also view pending invoices and create a payment during the visit against one or many open invoices. Additionally, users can report any service relevant issues by creating a follow-up service ticket from the visit itself. Overall, the visit feature provides a single point of access to all merchandizing and pre-selling activities enabling efficient execution.
Improve Merchandizing Effectiveness
Merchandizing primarily involves the execution of in-store activities, such as store checks, planogram check, competitor audits, etc. In Cloud for Customer, for each visit, there are tasks and surveys proposed via a sophisticated activity planning and routing engine, which provides a high level of flexibility in determining which tasks and surveys need to be performed during the visit and how often, based on the attributes of the store and of the visit itself. Surveys can either be simple checklists or complex product surveys for in-store audits, where products are dynamically determined, or competitor product surveys to help capture intelligence around competitor sales. With its dynamic behavior, optimized usability, weighted scoring, quick image capture and real-time reporting, surveys make a great tool for collecting field data and deriving actionable insights. In the recent POI retail execution vendor panorama, SAP Hybris Cloud for Customer has been given the distinction of being a best-in-class solution in merchandizing.
Selling, in the context of retail execution, primarily refers to the ordering process, which is expected to be quick and efficient as the pre-seller is typically expected to spend more time negotiating the order rather than entering it. In Cloud for Customer, to enable the selling process, sales orders, quotes and opportunities can be created as part of the visit. This makes the process applicable for a variety of industries including typical B2B engagements. In order to help improve the user productivity, the order/quote entry process is supplemented with a quick add view to help add multiple products into an order with relative ease. With automatic proposals of order items based on listings, access to promoted products, past orders and an in-built barcode scanner, the order process offers numerous options and immense flexibility. The tight integration into SAP ERP enables users to get exact prices, ATP information, product substitutions and near real time order confirmation.
Mobilize your merchandizers and pre-sellers
Moving from functional to a technical perspective, retail execution is primarily afield activity which automatically implies that it needs to be mobile, available offline and easy-to-use. Cloud for Customer has invested heavily, and is continuing the same in each of these areas. The solution provides a standard responsive mobile application which is generally available for tablets - iOS, Android and Windows - and will be soon available on the smartphones on the same platforms. The functionality is available offline to be able to complete merchandizing and pre-selling activities (including basic offline pricing) in a disconnected environment, with more granular capabilities being added in every release. It is also important to note that most key processes are provided in a configurable manner reducing the need for custom development. The offline mobile application is metadata driven eliminating the need for any customer specific client development. This helps relatively faster implementation and easier app upgrades, thereby enabling users to quickly leverage the continuous innovations being released.
Derive Actionable Insights
Retail execution in Cloud for Customer leverages the embedded real-time analytical framework and provides standard content to derive insights. Managers can assess the effectiveness of their sales force using visit completion reports and the average duration of each visit, along with the details of tasks and surveys performed in each visit. Survey reporting helps derive insights into the data collected in the store, such as out-of-stock information, promotion compliance, price compliance, store scores, etc. Order reporting provides insights into revenue trends, top selling products and promotion effectiveness. Refer to previous blogs on the analytics in Cloud for Customer to get more insights on working with analytical content.
Retail execution continues to be a key focus area for Cloud for Customer with a strong roadmap and investment. We are entering an exciting phase in the lifecycle of the solution with many innovations lined up such as an image recognition based planogram check, a holistic visual assessment and scoring of store, an improved ordering experience with suggested orders, enhanced offline functionality including pricing, and superior productivity using geo-location, image intelligence and voice based interactions.
Hope this blog helped provide a high level view into retail execution in SAP Hybris Cloud for Customer. Look out in the coming weeks for more detailed blogs on most of the listed areas and let us know your thoughts.