Cloud products like ordering and billing system can consolidate the sales process for retail enterprises. Cloud computing can enable retailers to drastically reduce transaction time. Indirectly it allows retailers to sell more volumes per unit of time. The business model based on “store pickup” is essentially a brainchild of American retail giants like Best Buy. Although the concept is new to India, it is being deemed as the next big inflexion point for retailers. The model works on a very simple premise. The customer chooses to buy a product and makes an online payment. He walks into the nearest store and collects the merchandise. This model of retail sales combines the best of the brick and mortar model with that of the online retail channel.

Analyzing The Store Pickup Model of Retail

The store pickup model has caught the imagination of Tata Croma, the retail arm of the diversified business conglomerate Tata Sons. While it has been particularly successful in the USA, it is still a new concept in emerging economies. The reasons behind the popularity of this model with retailers are manyfold. Cloud products can be used to great effect to consolidate the model and adapt it to the Indian context. The Indian retail industry has seen tremendous action in the online retail space. Firms like Flipkart,Myntra and others have made aggressive forays and have grown. With the internet revolution and strengthening of IT infrastructure in the urban areas, online retail has emerged as serious threat to the long standing concept of retail stores. Online retail allows customers to choose, compare, decide and pay online. Without an iota of doubt it saves time. But for the traditional Indian consumer there is nothing like walking into a store with friends and family and enjoying the ambience that a retail store offers. The sheer joy of getting to choose from a vast inventory of products on the shop floor is amazing. Plus, the impact of visual merchandising cannot be ruled out. A well decorated retail store with some hospitable behavior of sales executives makes the Indian customer feel special and pampered. These behavioral aspects of retail are absent in the online retail channels. So the scope to combine the pace of online retail with the “moment of truth” offered by conventional retail was always there.

Ordering and Billing System

What Is The Recipe Of Cloud Products Needed For The Store Pickup Model?

IT enterprises like Netfunda can consolidate the store pickup model and deploy it to perfection. To begin with the retail firm can utilize a cloud hosted ordering and billing system. A cloud hosted ordering and billing system performs the twin functions of a hosted billing software and an order management software. Netfunda OneClickBill is a glittering example of innovation and multitasking ability in this regard. It is a hosted billing system that has a fully customizable front end to accommodate an ordering interface. The customer gets to procure product information, compare prices and functionalities of the product and decide accordingly. Then he makes an online payment either using a debit card, credit card or internet banking. Netfunda OneClickBill supports multiple payment gateways, currencies and languages and hence serves as perfect foils for retail enterprises who have to deal with a cosmopolitan customer base in the metro cities of India. The customer then walks into the nearest retail store and walks away being a proud custodian and owner of his branded merchandise. Engagement with the customer requires the retail firm to send a personalized message of merchandize collection mentioning the earliest date when it would be available. Netfunda OneClick Bill, is equipped with the feature of automated reminders. The hosted billing software automatically sends a reminder to the customer to collect his merchandise after a select date.

Understanding The Economics Of The Model

The model uses an automated systems base environment to establish interface with the customer. The retail firm can accept recurring billing and payments through the ordering and billing system. The delivery of the product takes place in a real world environment. Since online payment and purchase does not consume too much time, it reduces the cycle time of transactions. Moreover, retailers get to operate within a known lead time and thus arrange for the merchandise inventory through different stages of the supply chain, just in time. The model thus boosts inventory management and reduces working capital blockage that occurs due to unnecessary holding of inventories. Moreover the customer becomes aware of the exact location and time of collection of his merchandise. The moment of truth occurs in the real world. He actually gets to interact with the salesmen on the shop floor and thus “feel” his purchase. Again as said at the beginning of the blog, there are no retail firms who have tried this before. This model gives retail firms the dual identity of being known as both a brick and mortar brand as well as online retail brand. The synergies created from this dual presence can serve as a very strong brand differentiator. Moreover the model creates an ecosystem where the customer gets to choose from different retail channels. In terms of strategy, it offers retail firms the luxury of building a retail brand with omni-channel presence. The billing and subscription management software allows customers to stay brand loyal while saving time. The model when administered through cloud products like Netfunda OneClickBill allows retail firms to reduce transaction time, receive recurring payments and beat competition from online retailers.