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Is Your Restaurant POS Helping or Hindering Customer Service?

March 30th, 2016 Ashley Harbaugh No comments

The customer experience is a crucial differentiator for restaurants. If food and price are similar to other restaurants, what other factor will make a customer choose that particular business? Service that is attentive and accommodating makes patrons feel valued, and motivates them to return again (as well as spread the word to family and friends).

The restaurant point of sale (POS) is a vital part of restaurants’ service efforts as it is the primary communication channel between the front-of-house, customer, and kitchen. If the POS is slow and inaccurate, it can lead to wrong orders and delayed meal deliveries – issues that make angry, unsatisfied patrons.

A state-of-the-art POS system enables restaurants to get tighter control of front-end and back-end processes, and provide the quick, efficient service that patrons expect. The Food and Beverage POS for Restaurants solution is a modern, flexible point of sale system that enables restaurant managers to easily track food creation and delivery processes – resulting in outstanding customer service. See how well your POS matches up to the three service features below in comparison to the Food and Beverage POS.

Mobile Functionality

With consumer smartphones and tablets making people comfortable with mobile device technology, restaurants are increasingly capitalizing on this trend.

For instance, self-service order kiosks are on the rise for quick-service restaurants, where customers can type in their order, along with any order customizations, directly onto the POS. Casual dining restaurants are also providing tablets at customers’ tables, where customers key in their order after being seated, and wait staff deliver their orders. Waiters are also now being equipped with tablet devices to take orders instead of the traditional paper and pencil.

The Food and Beverage POS for Restaurants is fully mobile-optimized, allowing restaurants to take orders from smartphones, tablets, or traditional PCs. With the system’s easy configurability, restaurant managers can set up the appropriate permissions for employees so that employees only see the POS buttons that are relevant to their job functions – making processes more secure, and staff more productive.

Food and Beverage POS enables access to the point of sale from any mobile device and PCs.

The Food and Beverage POS enables restaurants to access the point of sale from any mobile device, as well as traditional PCs.

Customer Seating

Making customer seating smooth and speedy, and wait staff rotations fluid (even during the busiest times) are key elements of the customer dining experience. The Food and Beverage POS solution enables restaurants to minimize seating time, and ensure the right wait staff are assisting the right tables. Restaurant managers can set up table layouts in the system, and assign layouts to particular locations. The system’s real-time updates also show which tables are occupied or available at all times.

Food and Beverage POS has the ability to configure table layouts and to see which tables are open or occupied.

The Food and Beverage POS makes seating a breeze with the ability to configure table layouts, and to see at-a-glance which tables are open or occupied.

Food Quality

The most negative experience a customer can have at a restaurant is if the food isn’t good. Nothing will turn off a customer faster than if a beloved item on the menu didn’t turn out the same as the last time, or if a meal doesn’t taste right.

The Food and Beverage POS ensures each stage of food preparation is completed precisely and in a timely manner. Restaurant managers can enter recipes detailing exact ingredients, quantities, and steps needed for cooking into the system for employee reference, preventing any deviations in the meal’s taste or presentation. Setting up work stations in the POS (e.g. cutting station, baking station, etc.) also help keep kitchen staff organized and focused on the tasks at-hand.

Step-by-step recipe and cooking guides stored in the Food and Beverage POS.

Step-by-step recipe and cooking guides stored in the Food and Beverage POS steer kitchen staff toward making each meal consistent and delicious.

For more information on how the Food and Beverage POS can streamline restaurant operations and improve customer service, please email retail@ignify.com.

Ashley Harbaugh is a Marketing Coordinator at Ignify – a Hitachi Solutions subsidiary. Ignify is a Worldwide Microsoft Partner in 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011 and 2010, and offers eCommerce, ERP, CRM, Order Management and POS solutions based on the Microsoft Dynamics line of products. Ignify has been included as the fastest growing business in North America for seven years in a row by Inc. Magazine and Deloitte in the FAST 500 from 2008 to 2013.

The Evolving Retailer: Leveraging Online and In-Store Technology to Adapt to a Changing Landscape

January 26th, 2016 Ashley Harbaugh No comments

The retail industry is one of constant transformation. As consumer technology grows and innovates – connecting people with greater convenience and transparency – consumers’ expectations and interactions also change. Why settle for old ways when new ones promise simplicity and ease?

With different channels offering different revenue streams, retail technology offers a crucial way for better managing operations – as well as staying ahead of both the customer and the competition.

Enhance the Customer In-Store Experience

One of the major benefits of shopping in a brick-and-mortar store is the ability to pick up, feel, and try on merchandise before buying. By engaging with customers at each stage of this journey, and by being able to helpfully instruct and guide the customers throughout their buying processes, stores create relationships that lead to repeat purchases.

Using a mobile, modern point of sale system is an important way that store associates can connect with customers browsing in the store. With Microsoft Dynamics AX for Retail POS, store associates can offer customers personalized service, showing them different products that match their interest. Also, store associates can look up customer accounts to get a better understanding of customer shopping patterns and preferences, and can then make informed suggestions.

Coats and Jackets

Microsoft Dynamics AX for Retail POS is a flexible point of sale system fully optimized for mobile. Store associates can show customers different items right on the mobile POS screen, and can look up customers’ past purchase histories.

Optimize Online Presence

With more and more shoppers choosing to make their purchases online, retailers need to make sure their eCommerce sites will attract visitors, and facilitate sales conversions. An eCommerce system must be easy-to-navigate, easy-to-checkout, and appealing to browse.

eCommerce for Microsoft Dynamics provides a user-friendly, easy-to-navigate interface for merchants and shoppers alike – enabling quicker checkouts for customers, and insightful online store management for merchants. With the system’s seamless integration with Microsoft Dynamics ERP and CRM, merchants are able to leverage a powerfully interconnected online selling and IT infrastructure – ensuring customers have access to the most up-to-date prices, inventory, and product information.

Gadgets Online

A sleek, uncluttered eCommerce interface is an important way to connect with customers – and to motivate them to convert. eCommerce for Microsoft Dynamics provides a user-friendly online store platform for shoppers and administrators alike.

Make Mobile-Friendly Online Stores

Smartphones, tablets – it’s not a matter of if people are using them, it’s a matter of how much people are using them. Mobile devices aren’t just for phone calls and text messages – they are key conduits for research, browsing, and making purchases.

eCommerce for Microsoft Dynamics incorporates responsive web design in online stores, enabling the stores to recognize what device a shopper is using, and automatically adjust the design and resolution to the shopper’s screen. By fluidly converting the store to the shopper’s device, merchants ensure that customers on smartphones, tablets, and desktop/laptop computers experience seamless and convenient shopping regardless of device.

Responsive design

Responsive web design provides a seamless shopping experience by enabling online stores to automatically adjust screen size and design to suit a shopper’s device

Create Social Media Connection

Make it easy for your customers to spread the word about your company. With people connected to vast social media networks, allowing them to share your products, and their testimonies, is a remarkably simple, yet productive, form of brand promotion. Because what better way to build trust with potential clients than to have the people they trust endorse you? Adding social media buttons on product pages or marketing collateral makes it easy for clients to show what they like, and what they want.

Building a strong company social media presence is also an important way to get the word out about your company. People want to share new, interesting, cool things, and they want to engage with likable brands. Creating must-visit social channels that listen to shoppers, and share the content they are most interested in, is key to strengthening a significant source of new customers and, most importantly, new conversions.

 

Social Media

Posting visible social media buttons on product pages make it easy for customers to broadcast your merchandise, and help you leverage free promotion.

For More Information

For more information on how technology can bolster retail systems and processes, please email retail@ignify.com.

Ashley Harbaugh is a Marketing Coordinator at Ignify – a Hitachi Solutions subsidiary. Ignify is a Worldwide Microsoft Partner in 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011 and 2010, and offers eCommerce, ERP, CRM, Order Management and POS solutions based on the Microsoft Dynamics line of products. Ignify has been included as the fastest growing business in North America for seven years in a row by Inc. Magazine and Deloitte in the FAST 500 from 2008 to 2013.

Online Shoppers Exceed In Store Shoppers on Thanksgiving weekend – Retail Industry Transformation

December 4th, 2015 Sandeep Walia No comments

The National Retail Federation’s survey found that for the first time online shoppers (103 million online shoppers) in the US exceeded those that shopped in stores (102 million in store retail shoppers) on Thanksgiving weekend. Black Friday is the term colloquially used for the day after the Thanksgiving holiday that kicks off the holiday season, and for many retailers it has been the time in the year when their books go black (profitable). Online shopping on Thanksgiving and Black Friday jumped 14% from the year before for a total spend of $4.5Billion by American consumers. On the other hand, in-store shopping declined on a year on year basis.

For those who have not seen it – all categories are now shopped online. Ecommerce is not just here to stay but will be the dominant model of shopping. More interestingly, 50% of the online shopping was done through mobile devices. What does that mean for retailers? Retailers need to invest in four areas to be successful for the future:

  • Ecommerce: Investing in a powerful, integrated ecommerce systems is the item with the highest ROI for retailers. It is important that an ecommerce platform provides an engaging experience as well as promotes repeat buying. This means a shopping experience that is effortless, offers efficient shipments, and has an appealing interface that is mobile-optimized.
  • Mobility: I predict that in 2016 ecommerce through mobile devices (tablets, phones) will outstrip traditional computing devices such as PCs and laptops. Ensure your ecommerce platform is mobile optimized like the eCommerce for Microsoft Dynamics platform is.
  • Omni-channel systems: The retailers that can traverse channels seamlessly will be the ones that are successful. This means a customer should be able to buy in a store and see and redeem their earned points online. Or that a cashier can pull up a customer’s profile and see both their online orders as well as retail store orders from their in-store Point of Sale device. There are several other omni-channel scenarios, but ensuring your online and brick-and-mortar systems are integrated at virtually every touch point for loyalty, customer profile, transaction history, pricing and promotions is absolutely critical for success.

The eCommerce for Microsoft Dynamics platform is a good example of you can have powerful merchandising functionality fully integrated with an inventory, financial management and warehouse system like Microsoft Dynamics AX. The example below shows two screen shots. The first is product information for the iPhone 8GB phone on Microsoft Dynamics AX, which is automatically published online to the Gadgets store. This includes images, product content, related products and real-time inventory information. This kind of seamless integration allows for a richer customer experience and higher repeat buying.

Omni-channel integration between an ERP and ecommerce system drivers a better customer experience and higher revenues.

Figure: Omni-channel integration between an ERP and ecommerce system drivers a better customer experience and higher revenues.

Please email us at ecommerce@ignify.com if you are interested in ensuring you have online success.

Sandeep Walia is the CEO of Ignify. Ignify is winner/finalist of the Worldwide Microsoft Partner Award in 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011 and 2010, and offers eCommerce, ERP, CRM, Order Management and POS solutions based on the Microsoft Dynamics line of products. Ignify has been included as the fastest growing business in North America for seven years in a row by Inc. Magazine and Deloitte in the FAST 500 from 2008 to 2013.

5 Things Your Competitors Can Teach You about Retail ERP Software

October 16th, 2015 Chelsea Cole No comments

We all know competition is a fact of life. One of the biggest aspects of running a successful business is knowing what your competitors are up to. As a company it is important to try to stay one step ahead. In order to compete with a greater impact businesses should be looking to the best and newest forms of technology. Unfortunately, due to hesitancy, competitors can often times get ahead of the game. Read on to learn 5 things your competitors can teach you about the benefits of Retail ERP Software. (And want proof? Read the successes that retailers have experienced firsthand from Microsoft Dynamics AX for Retail here: http://bit.ly/1G7Z4SN).

1. Time Management is Crucial

When it comes to competing with other businesses, the sure fire way to rise to the top of the heap is by saving time. Time and accuracy are the main attributes that contribute to efficient business practices. No company wants to be spending their time manually entering information, often times on multiple different systems. This can lead to frustration and annoyance. Not only does this waste time, it can lead to inconsistencies and inefficiencies in decision making and planning. An ERP software can solve this issue by providing a single, unified view of all business information. With an ERP system like Microsoft Dynamics AX for Retailers your competitors are avoiding redundant data entry and manual tasks. Reduce manual data entry and other tedious tasks and make a difference in company growth by investing in a Microsoft ERP solution.

Reduce manual tasks by introducing a completely connected ERP system that covers all areas of retail.

Figure 1. Reduce manual tasks by introducing a completely connected ERP system that covers all areas of retail.

2. How to Support Future Growth

Don’t fall so far behind that it becomes impossible to catch up with competitors. Watching other companies in your industry expand as their business easily grows larger and larger can be frustrating. With a Dynamics ERP system, smooth business growth becomes increasingly more efficient and feasible. Microsoft Dynamics AX for Retail enables managers to implement predictive analytics, which helps efficiently introduce new products and target new markets. If your company wants to grow globally it cannot operate on out of date or heavily modified systems. Instead, move faster with more confidence and allow your company to grow and expand with no headaches. Whether it’s transitioning from a mom and pop shop to brick and mortar, moving from a production based organization to a sales driven one, or simply expanding locations. Microsoft Dynamics AX can help you easily operate your business across geographies and locations with deployment options that are flexible enough to support new sales channels and keep up with a continually changing industry.

3. Visibility is Essential for Real Time Market Changes

What cannot be seen cannot be improved. Visibility is a key factor in guaranteeing a successful business practice. Only with full visibility into your company’s workings can a business react to real time market changes. Microsoft Dynamics AX allows for full visibility into business events that might not be entirely apparent, such as fulfillment rates and inventory movement. Making sure all aspects of business are completely transparent allows for faster and better decision making. Competitors are reacting to market changes in a timely manner making it important to adapt quickly to changing business requirements with POS add-ins and extensible headquarter software that can be tailored to meet specific retail needs. Achieve greater visibility and access information to ensure your organization is operating in the best way possible with Microsoft Dynamic AX for Retail.

Purpose-built POS components provide inventory visibility and efficient checkout processes.

Figure 2. Purpose-built POS components provide inventory visibility and efficient checkout processes.

4. Everything Starts with Inventory and Warehouse Management

When it comes to any type of retail business, the exterior cannot work without a smoothly functioning internal system. This starts with the warehouse and inventory. Inventory management is a critical component of a smooth operation. If the inventory is off than the whole system is off. ERP solutions help manage existing inventory as well as enables future products to integrate smoothly. The fulfillment and warehouse management systems in Dynamics AX provide a solution that is able to meet complex and unique requirements allowing you to manage the warehouse inventory, improve store replenishment cycle, and satisfy customers need at the fastest rate possible.

5. Create an Omni-Channel System for Optimal Success

There are so many building blocks that make up a successful business. In order to effectively compete in the market place there has to be clear communication and smooth flow between all channels. The more channels a customers has to choose from that better the business opportunity, and the more likely they will choose your business over a competitor’s. Dynamics ERP systems work to easily connect complex multi-channel systems. Microsoft Dynamics AX for Retail enhances the customer experience by providing the ability to the mix and match payment providers, leverage support for shopping carts, buy online and make returns to a physical store, and much more.

Microsoft Dynamics AX, built from the ground up, cohesively acts as the core to complex omni-channel retail businesses.

Figure 3. Microsoft Dynamics AX, built from the ground up, cohesively acts as the core to complex omni-channel retail businesses.

If you would like more information on Microsoft Dynamics AX for Retail, please email retail@ignify.com.

Chelsea Cole is a Proposal Writer at Ignify. Ignify is Worldwide Microsoft Partner in 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, and 2010, and offers eCommerce, ERP, CRM, Order Management and POS solutions based on the Microsoft Dynamics line of products. Ignify has been included as the fastest growing businesses in North America for seven years in a row by Inc. Magazine and Deloitte in the FAST 500 from 2008 to 2013.

CRM for Retail: What is It, and Why is It Needed?

September 2nd, 2015 Chelsea Cole No comments

Two of the biggest factors currently facing retailers in their pursuit of customer satisfaction are maintaining a consistent and reliable presence through every channel of shopping and making sure the customer has a personalized experience. Retailers are looking for technology that can allow them real time, in-store interactions that will customize a specific customer’s overall shopping experience.

CRM Across Channels – from Online to In-Store

It should come as no surprise that one of the easiest ways to personally learn about a shopper’s history and preferences comes from online shopping. Online records can show previous transactions of a particular shopper in order to offer new recommendations based on that customer’s history. But in-store shopping isn’t going away any time soon either – people enjoy being able to get an up-close look and feel of products before they buy. What retailers need is technology that consolidates customer insights from these different channels, so that the retailer can then provide a more personalized, unique shopping experience for those customers. But the different modes of shopping that the modern day consumer has to choose from can often times leave a fragmented view of the customer. Microsoft Dynamics CRM, however, offers the modern retailer the ability to give customers a seamless shopping experience through multiples channels.

Overview of Microsoft Dynamics CRM for Retail.

Figure 1. Overview of Microsoft Dynamics CRM for retail. Helps retailers support an omni-channel system based on an easy to use structure leading to better customer service and personalization.

CRM for Loyalty

Ignify’s CRM for Loyalty solution can also increase the lifetime value of the existing customer. CRM Loyalty helps retailers implement a loyalty program that fosters better relationships with existing customers and motivates them to make repeat purchases by rewarding them with points. More importantly, the loyalty program provides retailers the ability to track individual customer sales, thereby gaining valuable customer insights on their tastes and preferences. The CRM for Loyalty program focuses on customer tier management, promotion setup, award and redemptions, reports and analytics, as well as improving interfaces such as POS systems, web services, and mobile apps. This CRM solution can lead to improved customer service and reliability and help employees find all customer related information at their fingertips in one system. It also provides a case management system with an integrated knowledge base that will lead to better quality service.

CRM for Loyalty Interface.

CRM for Loyalty interface. Increase profitability by identifying and retaining valuable customers while tracking performance measurement and sales by channel.

Improve in-store employee to customer clienteling.

Figure 3. Improve in-store employee to customer clienteling with information easily available and editable on tablet devices.

Making Customers the Focal Point

It is crucial for retailers to make the customer the focal point of their business strategy, and using the right technology will help them give their customers better shopping experiences. Ignify’s CRM programs can help retailers achieve this goal. If you would like more information on Ignify’s retail solutions, please email retail@ignify.com.

Chelsea Cole is a Proposal Writer at Ignify. Ignify is winner/finalist of the Worldwide Microsoft Partner of the Year Award in 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011 and 2010, and offers eCommerce, ERP, CRM, Order Management and POS solutions based on the Microsoft Dynamics line of products. Ignify has been included as the fastest growing businesses in North America for seven years in a row by Inc. Magazine and Deloitte in the FAST 500 from 2008 to 2013.