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02Aug, 2016

E-commerce for Dynamics AX for Retail – Setting base for Unified Commerce

The Rise of AX for Retail

How and where businesses operate has greatly changed over the last few years. The journey from brick-and-motor stores to selling across multiple channels was a very quick one and a roller coaster ride. The new rising trend today is to offer customers a unified commerce experience. Microsoft probably had anticipated this and which is why they decided to phase out one of their very popular POS solutions “Microsoft Dynamics RMS” to make way for “Dynamics AX for Retail”.

While Microsoft has promised to support Dynamics RMS for few more years, retailers stand to lose more than gain the longer they continue to stay on Dynamics RMS. With all due respect, Dynamics RMS was a very good solution that let retailers managed their POS and HQ operations very effectively. However, Dynamics AX for Retail takes things one level up by enabling retailers to manage customer interaction across multiple channels (including brick-and-motor stores) and all business operations (like store management, supply chain management, etc.) from a single system.

For more information on Dynamics AX for Retail read, Manage your Retail Operation Effectively with AX for Retail.

The Need for an Improved E-commerce Solution

AX for Retail promises dramatically change the way retailers did their business and is starting to see some success. But, one of the major disadvantages that we see with AX for Retail is its e-commerce offering. While Microsoft does great in offering a single system to manage multiple channels, its e-commerce features are nowhere close to the features offered by full blown e-commerce platforms (something that is desired by businesses across industries).

E-commerce for Microsoft Dynamics AX for Retail

Hence, there is a need for a solution that can offer you the best of both worlds – a feature rich and scalable e-commerce system with AX for Retail to manage back office operations. The good news is we have a solution that can do just that. We, at i95Dev, are currently in the process of implementing our E-commerce Growth Engine (EGE) for Dynamics AX for Retail solution for a leading fashion brand in the US. The EGE solution is powered by Magento, the most adopted e-commerce cart.

The client has multiple brick-and-motor stores (POS) and e-commerce stores. Below is quick overview of what we are helping the client achieve:

Manage customers across channels from a single system

The client has 50+ physical stores and few e-commerce stores (that they want to develop) where the sales happen. EGE empowers the client to manage all its customers from a single system. This is very critical for the client because this other than making it easy to manage customers also sets the base for an integrated loyalty and rewards system. (the customers can shop across channels, earn rewards, and redeem them on any channel – the true unified commerce experience)

To enable the client manage customers specific to a store and to display only a defined set of products to them, we are also in the process of building address books specific to each store.

Manage products across channels from a single system

With sales happening over so many locations, providing a consistent customer experience across channels and managing inventory to prevent overselling of products can be a huge challenge.

EGE for Dynamics AX for Retail will enable the client to manage all product and inventory information including product description, product images, etc. directly from the AX for Retail system. The Magento e-commerce store, that powers the EGE solution, will automatically pick the updates from the AX for Retail system to ensure consistent customer experience.

The inventory information will also be picked from the AX for Retail system, which will ensure that the e-commerce and POS systems have the most updated inventory information; making way for effective inventory management. The system also enables the client to configure the product visibility across physical and e-commerce stores.

Make way for offerings like Buy Online Pickup in Store

Consider this, on one hand, the e-commerce popularity has been on a rise and most businesses have some level of online presence (and if they don’t they are in the process of going online). On another, the e-commerce giants are busy establishing a physical presence. Bottom line, either channel cannot be written off so easily and businesses rather prefer having both.

EGE helps our clients achieve just that. With EGE, the client plans to get the best of both the world. How? By making it possible for the clients to offer Buy Online Pickup in Store. With BOPS, the customer can do all the research online and pick the product from the nearest store. With this, the customer benefits from the convenience the e-commerce store offers while saving on shipping cost. The client on another hand, gets an opportunity to drive traffic to the physical store and an additional opportunity to cross-sell and up-sell.

Manage taxes, promotions, etc. from AX for Retail

What’s more? The EGE also centralizes tax management and promotions in AX for Retail.

  • The tax centralization makes it convenient for the client’s finance/ accounting team to manage taxes and help in compliance.
  • With marketing and promotion centralized (say configurations in AX for Retail and execution in Magento e-commerce) the client’s marketing can now run targeted promotional campaigns across stores (and locations) and track progress easily from a single system; letting customers experience the client’s brand and not a channel within the brand.

Expand business by selling on online marketplaces like Amazon

While the client wanted to centralize its retail (brick-and-motor) and e-commerce operations, with EGE we are enabling the client to go one step further – by adding Amazon the list of sales channels.

The best thing about EGE is its scalability and extensibility. The solution makes it easy and possible for the client to add additional sales channel like Amazon (online marketplaces) and manage it without much incremental overhead. The client can now sell in retail stores, e-commerce store, and Amazon while managing all product, inventory, order, customer, payment, and more information from a single location.

Conclusion

Microsoft dared to dream a world where everything was centralized and interconnected, the world of unified commerce, with Dynamics AX for Retail. E-commerce Growth Engine (EGE) for AX for Retail makes that dream a reality.

If you are looking for an integrated e-commerce solution for Dynamics AX for Retail or planning to integrate your Magento e-commerce store with your Dynamics AX for Retail system then contact i95Dev here. We are world leaders in Magento e-commerce and Dynamics ERP integration and have worked with clients, B2B and B2C, across industries.

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E-commerce for Dynamics AX for Retail – Setting base for Unified Commerce