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+44 (0)115 904 2777
+44 (0)115 904 2777
Maximise stock availability
  • 25 Apr

Maximise stock availability with Merret

Over the last few weeks, we’ve been outlining the key benefits of using Merret to drive efficiencies in your omnichannel retail processes. As well as facilitating a single view of stock, explained here, our omnichannel supply chain solution is helping retailers to maximise stock availability. At a time when the customer demand requires fulfilling across all channels with the same availability, 24 x 7 x 365, having an agile inventory and flexible stock pool to fulfil orders is essential, to avoid customer dissatisfaction. For example, one way in which Merret maximises stock availability is its central stock pool’s ability to use in-store stock to fulfil orders from different channels, as well as stock in the DC. This prevents frustrating out-of-stock situations online, when the item may in fact be hanging unsold on a rail in a store. This process is also known as ship-from-store, explained here in an infographic. Merret has been developed to offer practical benefits when deployed on tablets in-store, enabling store staff to carry out omnichannel processes when on the shop floor with responsive, modern technology. For a more detailed look at Merret Tablet Inventory and its benefits in action, watch the solution used in-store with our customer, Karen Millen; Karen Millen went live with Merret early last year. You can watch the full video on YouTube here.The flexibility the solution gives to store staff is invaluable. Without being constrained by fixed terminals or clunky hand held devices, still able to walk the shop floor and interact with customers, store staff can do the following through Merret Tablet Inventory, as mentioned in the video:Process Inter branch transfers, create, send and receive Receive stock from the warehouse Progress write on / off transactions Undertake a stock-takeCarrying out these processes as soon as they require actioning, in response to real-time sales data, Merret allows a freer movement of stock that is 100% visible and accurate, helping maximise stock availability by placing it where it is needed most. In this way, more profitable business decisions are made and actioned. Retailers can then fulfil more orders, and sell more stock at full price. Interested in how our retail IT solutions could facilitate more efficient omnichannel retailing across your brand? Simply fill out this quick contact form and a member of our Sales team will be in touch, or call our Head Office on +44 115 904 2777.  …
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IT Help Desk
  • 18 Apr

SDI Awards Winner’s Blog

If you haven’t yet seen our latest news, we’re pleased to announce that we’re the proud Winners of ‘Best Managed Service Desk’ at the Service Desk Institute (SDI)’s Annual IT Service and Support Awards!As you can see from the image above, we were pretty happy to receive our Award on stage, alongside judges and members of the SDI. The Awards evening was a fantastic night enjoyed by all. Here’s us looking slightly more composed for our professional photograph!The Awards Journey: From Finalists to Winners. Last year, we entered the SDI Awards for the first time, and were so proud to make it through to the Final 3. This year, we wanted to come back bigger and better, demonstrating how our investment in the Help Desk had developed the service provided to our customers. Behind the glitz of the Award night, it was a tough process. We started out with a written application, detailing how we embrace best practice processes to raise the quality of service delivery, how we engage with our customers to create an inspiring and engaging service experience, how we have empowered and invested in the team to be inspired, take action and be better together, and how we shine by demonstrating and delivering exceptional business value. After being successfully shortlisted, we were then invited to an interview session (known as “Judges’ Houses”!) with the SDI’s Director of Professional Services, David Wright, SDI Industry Analyst, Oliver O’Donoghue, and ITSM Consultant and CEO of ITSMF UK, Barclay Rae. After this, and gaining a spot in the Final 3, a final presentation and site visit by Oliver and Barclay took place in March. As an SDI Finalist, perhaps the most fun part of the process was then making our Help Desk video for the Awards night! Presenting, Help Desk Baby….    You can view the video on our YouTube channel here. As a forward thinking business, invested in the quality of our service delivery, we would highly recommend entering the SDI Awards. The awards process really helped us to identify our key areas for development, part of our continuous improvement process that is embedded in our team’s DNA. As well as complementing our improvement, the Awards have played a key part in our Help Desk culture, providing the team with a huge boost. The Award is a well-deserved recognition for their work in supporting the leading UK retail and hospitality businesses worldwide. It’s Our People at Retail Assist’s Help Desk that really make the difference. The team works 24×7, speaking 8 different languages, delivering specialist technical support to retail and hospitality IT systems across the globe. Not only this, but as “the voice at the end of the phone”, customers appreciate speaking with someone who truly understands the impact of trading disruption, and communicates honestly with a goal to always have the customer smiling by the end of the call. Well done again to the team, and a big thank you to everyone at the SDI who…
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personalisation
  • 11 Apr

Retail Assist Roundtable Discussion: Personalisation

When does “Up Close and Personal” become “Too Close and Freaky” during the retail customer experience? In the first of our Roundtable Discussions, we dig deeper into the personalisation concept, how far consumers are comfortable with sharing their information, and what retailers must be careful to consider. Watch the full video on our YouTube channel here, and look out for our next instalment soon. …
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Single view of Stock
  • 4 Apr

Single View of Stock: In Pictures

You may have seen our retail focus blog last week on single view of stock, and how critical it is to retailers pursuing omnichannel. Benefits to the retailer positively influence every aspect of retail operations. With regards to the Merchandising process, a single view of stock can enable retailers to display more accurate stock messaging, whether by only showing items in stock, removing customer frustration; or by creating urgency through low stock messaging such as ‘last chance to buy’. A single view of stock can also aid in-store staff, empowering them to answer enquiries about stock levels with a view across all channels, meaning they can direct a customer to alternative stores, or order the product online. Fulfilment is also impacted positively by a single view of stock. Retailers can accurately track the presence of stock in both stores and warehouses in real time, turning stores into virtual distribution hubs. It can be more cost effective to ship from store, rather than rely on inflexible centralised warehousing. For a single view of stock to be worthwhile, it must reflect changes in physical stock status in real-time, enabling retailers to access reliable information about all stock from a single viewpoint. Check out our infographic below, giving a round up of 3 main benefits of a single view of stock in terms of omnichannel retailing and the customer experience:Want to know more about how you can achieve a single view of stock, and improve business performance? Contact us to talk more about Merret, by emailing info@retail-assist.co.uk, or fill out our quick contact form here.…
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single view of stock
  • 29 Mar

The importance of a Single view of Stock

If a retailer is to offer a truly omnichannel retail experience, a single view of stock is critical. That’s why the central stock pool function in our omnichannel supply chain solution, Merret, is at the heart of retail operations.Having a single view of stock has several benefits:Facilitates omnichannel processes such as ship-from-store. Using individual stores as virtual distribution hubs is key to ensuring orders are fulfilled in the most cost-efficient way, preventing overstocking and stockholding by making stock readily available where it’s needed most. This can only be achieved when stock is viewed across all channels in one single view. Being unable to view real-time stock levels across all channels can lead to unprofitable stockholding, resulting in mass discounting, which impacts severely on profit margins. Better experience for the customer, by fulfilling a greater number of orders. Lack of stock visibility is detrimental to the omnichannel customer experience – how can a retailer fulfil the customer promise online and in-store if they can’t see where stock is held? Business performance improved by responding to real time trends. A single view of stock across all channels, and end-to-end systems integration means data is reliable, allowing retailers to react to trading trends in real-time for more profitable decisions. Our Analytics module, Merret Analytics, provides a clear and simple view of all sales information, for greater business profitability.With 100% stock visibility, what underpins it in terms of retail process and functionality? The central stock pool in Merret uses one pool of stock to fulfil orders from any channel. It is not necessarily a sole physical location, as inventory can be physically held at different points; in the warehouse or in stores. It has a global ability to allocate stock based on central demand; this single view of stock ensures that inventory is always directed towards the channel in which it is selling best. Maximising profitability through full price trade, and reducing discounting due to unbeneficial stockholding, are the benefits being experienced by leading retail brands, including Karen Millen, Jacques Vert, Oasis and Paperchase. You can read about our latest Merret project with Karen Millen here. For more information about how you can achieve a single view of stock with Merret, please email info@retail-assist.co.uk, where one of our team will follow up your query.…
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Paul St 1
  • 21 Mar

The Great Retail Assist Bake Off 2016

For Sport Relief, we enjoyed fundraising across all of our Retail Assist sites on Friday with a company wide Bake Off! Charitable giving is important to our business, and the Bake Off was a great way to get together in aid of a fantastic cause. We’re proud to have raised over £500! The Star Baker was crowned at our Paul St London office: congratulations to Sarb Singh, our Desktop Support Manager, for his Falling Malteaser Masterpiece! Check out the bakes below:…
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personalisation
  • 14 Mar

Getting Personalisation Right

This week we wanted to share some interesting content we have seen on Twitter that caught our attention, from some of our favourite retail experts. “When Does Up Close and Personal Become Too Close and Freaky?” is a discussion point we have been interested in recently. Retailers can focus so much on trying to grab your attention and create a personalised customer experience, that they completely miss the point and instead annoy you. Whether it be with targeted ads on your Facebook page, to greeting you by your name in the store. How much personalisation is too much? We have noticed this topic crop up a number of times lately, for example, in a recent Retail Week discussion on store associates:  The Retail Week debates are often hosted by Katie Barker, Creative Lead at Retail Week. In the #storeassociate discussion, we can see the conflicting opinions of the personalised retail experience. Although @ManhAssocUK states an important point that 49% of consumers would interact more with store associates if the experience was personalised, Katie Barker and Georgia Leybourne show their concern of the difficulty of keeping a personalised experience ‘cool’ and not ‘creepy’. Miya Knights, Head of Global Technology Practice at Planet Retail, caught our eye with this Tweet where she seems to have experienced a bombardment of retailer ‘spam’ through email, suggesting that there is such thing as a step too far: too much direct Marketing, too much spam, too much “big data”.  We are eager to see how the concept of personalisation in retail (in-store and online) will evolve through technology such as cognitive computing. Yet we’re staying wary of how retailers could jeopardise the relationship with their customers by trying too hard to engage with them on a personal level. We will be releasing a video roundtable discussion, “When Does Up Close and Personal Become Too Close and Freaky” very soon. Make sure to keep an eye out for it on our Retail Technology Blog. In the meantime, drop your comments in the below box or tweet us, we’d love to hear your thoughts on the matter. Featured Tweets:Miya Knights, Head of Global Technology Practice at Planet Retail Katie Barker, Creative Lead at Retail Week @ManhAssocUK Georgia Leybourne, International Marketing Director at Manhattan Associates   …
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retail technology blog
  • 7 Mar

Sound Thinking for Customer Experience

Recently, we have been watching some insightful TED Talks – the international ideas exchange – and thinking about how general methodologies and thinking patterns can be applied to the retail experience. We’ve blogged before about the importance of atmospherics in-store, with some great insights from our business partners Inovretail. You can read it here. The environment of the store has a serious impact on your customers, and when at its optimum, retailers can experience more sales and a better store conversion rate.So, how can I increase dwell time in store, increasing the store’s conversion rate? Listen up, and raise sound in your consciousness. In his first TED Talk, Julian Treasure explained that sound affects people in four ways:Physiological – it affects hormone secretions, heart rate, and our brainwaves. Psychological – it changes our moods and our emotions. Cognitive – it changes how clearly and comfortably we think, and how productive we are when making decisions. Behavioural – it changes where we go and what we do. You move away from unpleasant sound, and gravitate towards pleasant sound.All of these factors are in play in a shopping environment. Most retail sound is inappropriately deployed and for the most part hostile, and these soundscapes can decrease sales by 28%, according to Treasure. Are you encouraging your customers to make comfortable decisions about purchasing products, by creating the best environment to do it in? Dwell time increases when shoppers are calmer, less stressed, not overwhelmed or fatigued: remember, we experience with five senses and all must be considered in the retail customer experience. You can watch the full TED Talk below:…
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Mother's Day Gift Guide
  • 2 Mar

Mother’s Day Gift Ideas

Have you bought your Mum a gift yet? If the answer is no, don’t panic. We visited some of our customers on the High Street to create a  Mother’s Day video gift guide for you. We’ve got all types of Mums covered in our gift guide: the fashionistas, the handbag lovers, the list makers and the ones who insist a card is just enough. Take a look at our gift guide here and if you see something you like, we have listed all the links to each product underneath the video.Mint Velvet Ombre Wrap Blouse, Mint Velvet Abstract Print Scarf, Karen Millen Glitter Box Clutch, Karen Millen Printed Clutch, Paperchase’s Entire Mother’s Day Collection. Our customers always provide great gifts for Mother’s Day. Did you know that if you make a purchase at Cath Kidston before Mother’s Day, you’ll get a lovely free card? Now that’s a job made quick and easy!Cath Kidston are also hosting a series of ‘Mother’s Day Makes’. Join them in-store to create some lovely Mother’s Day gifts. You can also use their blog guides to create home-made gifts if you’re a bit strapped for cash. What gifts do you think your Mum will like best from our gift guide? How are you celebrating Mother’s Day this Sunday? Post your comments in the box below, we’d love to hear from you!…
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retail technology blog
  • 29 Feb

Amazon launches own-label fashion: what’s to fear?

Last week it was announced that Amazon had launched its own-brand fashion labels in the US, marking the retailers’ first march into the fashion marketplace. The brands available on Amazon’s US site feature up to 1800 new products, such as men’s suits and dress shoes, women’s casual and contemporary clothing, accessories, and children’s clothing.The news has provoked some raised eyebrows in the retail community. Will the ecommerce giant threaten the retail brands we know and love? There’s been some commentary that Amazon’s accomplished fulfilment model, slick delivery operations, and high levels of customer satisfaction are a combination that will pose a threat to the fashion marketplace. In addition, the products are retailing at a low cost point; when combined with the “Amazon effect”, it could be a deadly success. Amazon’s consumer electronics portfolio (Kindle, Fire tablets, Fire TV) really works. So, is diversifying into own-brand fashion any different? Short answer: quite different. There are key variances to mark between US and UK retailing, and perhaps a few downfalls with Amazon Fashion that we have considered.The “brands” that have launched in the US are Franklin & Freeman, Franklin Tailored, James & Erin, Lark & Ro, North Eleven, Scout + Ro and Society New York…Are those brand names at all memorable? To us, they’re a bit of a blur, and frankly (excuse the pun) vanilla. One thing has been proven in fashion retailing that’s very prevalent in the UK consumer mind-set: the brand must have a strong position, an original message, and offer a seamless customer experience across channels. Will this really work on Amazon, when the design of the ecommerce platform is no different from searching for novelty gifts? This leads on to the next flop.Do you want to order clothes on the same site you might order your lawn mower, Go Pro, or dog shampoo?You might buy a coat from Amazon, but would you buy a coat made by Amazon? Consumers enjoy the experience of buying branded clothing as a rather special, luxury feeling: “treating yourself”. If your new occasion-wear arrived in the same box as some batteries, would you enjoy the same levels of customer satisfaction? In addition, KeyBanc notes that only 15% of Amazon’s active customers currently buy clothing and accessories on the site. Amazon might be looking to own-label fashion to fuel its expansion plans, but is the demand really there? Despite this, Amazon has fast become the marketplace giant from which you can buy anything. It also has a vast amount of customer profile and purchase history data to draw on, which could be used to make fast-fashion wins. Why should fashion be exempt from its offering? What’s your view? Post your opinions in the comment box below:…
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