Machine Learning – Retail and eCommerce

The SalesStream Team are extremely excited to announce our latest offering . . Machine Learning or Predictive Analytics.

These tools allow us to produce reliable, repeatable decisions and results and uncover hidden insights through learning from historical relationships and trends in your data.

Machine Learning is a form of Artificial Intelligence which through the analysis of data, pattern recognition and learning can create models and predictions.

A ‘Model’ is ‘trained’ with a set of existing data (perhaps Retail Sales) and then tested with some sample data. This could be future sales, how weather, economy etc. affects your business

These data models literally ‘Learn’ hence the name and improve as they receive more data.  Machine Learning has been used to power many things we now take for granted including spam filtering, optical character recognition (OCR) and search engines.

To find out more and empower your data please do not hesitate to Contact Us.

Magento 2 and EPOS

imageSalesStream are now able to offer customers (existing and new) the latest version of Magento eCommerce- Magento 2.

We are now able to offer a Free Magento 2 Website, all you pay for is the hosting.

There are a number of options to suit your needs and budget from out-of-the box basic designs you can adapt or fully bespoke customised options.

Contact Us for further details.

Essential Retail Article : ‘Online is being overplayed while stores remain the vital ingredient’

A recent article published in ‘Essential Retail‘ describes how retailers should focus more on developing their stores rather than believing the media and placing far too much emphasis on developing the online channel and digital, said a senior retail leader.

Terry Duddy, non-executive director of Debenhams and former CEO of Home Retail Group believes that Online Sales are often overstated and Physical Stores should not be overlooked. The fastest growing online channel in the UK market is Click & Collect which involves the store being central to the transaction. The store is growing in importance but is being neglected and often misunderstood.

The percentage of online sales had almost doubled from 7.3% to 13.1% between 2009 and 2014, but that it was forecasted to only increase to 16.7% over the five years to 2019.
Customers and retailers think online is bigger than it is as a result of the way the media so positively reports online sales. In contrast  there is a perception that physical space is being reduced as the high street struggles to compete against online although retail space had grown 19% over the last 15 years and despite a plateauing in recent years there is still growth in the market.
Credits : Essential Retail | Published: 12:35:09 on the 10th Mar 2016 | Author: Glynn Davis | Link to Full Article

Managing Customer Returns

Essential Retail recently published an article about shipping orders to customers and the cost of managing returns. This article has a fairly strong focus on shipping directly to customers from a DC (Distribution Centre) which may not be the case for the majority of Independent Retailers but the same challenges and processes still apply.
Omni or Cross-Channel selling brings with it a number of additional sales channels but also a number of additional administration processes, challenges and costs.  As online sales continue to grow and take a greater share of a retailer’s overall sales, the resulting margin erosion from the additional costs associated with fulfilling customer orders, could have an adverse effect on profitability.
Whilst items are out with a customer awaiting return to you they are not in stock and available for sale, monitoring these and keeping the time stock is in transit to a minimum all help with your stock profile and stock control.  SalesStream has a number of features and tools which can assist with this.
75% of the in this survey admit to still running their store and online operations separately, and according to an accompanying report this is taking a toll on retailers’ profitability and hinders their ability to create a seamless shopping experience for customers.
A number of UK retailers have started to address profitability concerns surrounding new fulfilment pressures by introducing charges for certain orders. John Lewis now places a £2 charge on click & collect orders below £30, while Tesco now charges its customers £4 for grocery click & collect orders up to £40.
A JDA and PwC study says that to deal with the high costs of new fulfilment practices, 39% of CEOs are planning on raising the minimum order value for free home delivery. In addition, 31% of respondents are planning on raising the minimum order value for free click & collect services and 29% are looking at increasing the cost for home delivery.
What is clear is that profitability has to be addressed as a matter of priority. This will require both an investment in the supply chain and technology, allowing retailers to reduce the cost of fulfilment model whilst still delivering exemplary customer service and experience.
You can read the full article here at Essential Retail (Published: 10:17:13 on the 24th Feb 2016 Author: Ben Sillitoe)

Cloud for Business

Raconteur___Cloud_for_Business___CoverThis weekends Sunday Time featured a special ‘Raconteur’ Supplement covering . . . Cloud for Business.

The articles cover how the Cloud is shaping the future of UK Business, including :

–  Cloud Computing and its benefits of affordable scale, speed and collaboration
–  Tangible vs Intangible Benefits of Cloud Computing (including Access to Technology, Speed, Cost Savings, Predictable Costs, Improved Customer Service and Engagement, Agility and Collaboration.
–  How Cloud helps improve Customer Service & Experience
–  Cloud Computing as a Supporter of Business Growth & Transformation
–  Hybrid Cloud Computing
–  5 Unusual uses for the Cloud
–  Cloud Security
–  Dispelling Myths about the Cloud
–  Top 10 Ways the Cloud is going back to the Future

Don’t miss out and join hundreds of UK Independent Retailers who have boarded the Cloud Train with SalesStream Cloud.

You can read more by clicking on the Image above or Here.

 

 

 

Mail Order back in fashion

A number of our customers are reporting that Mail Order is increasingly becoming a key revenue stream once again, following a decrease in popularity over the last decade.

Shoppers often now use the internet or traditional media (Catalogues, Brochures) to research what products are out there, features, pricing etc.  They then may contact the retailer to seek expert and professional advice, then place their order.  Some customers are also still a bit wary of internet security and prefer to deal with a sales agent over the phone, especially for high value purchases.

The new SalesStream ‘Customer Service’ feature brings all customer activities together, allowing retailers to view all of the following activities/events for a given customer :

  • Sales Web
  • In-Store/Retail Sales
  • Mail Order Sales
  • Dispatched Items (with Delivery Tracking)
  • Special Orders
  • Returns
If you would like to know more these new features and how SalesStream can help you to manage Mail Orders sales please Contact Us.

Taking the Stress out of Stock Taking

Stock Taking is a very important process within the Retail Sector and the SalesStream Team have years of experience helping our customers to perform stock takes.

With the continuous rise of Multi-Channel Retail (In-Store, Online, Mail Order, Pop-Up Stores etc.) it is more important than ever that your product stock levels are accurate.  If your Stock is inaccurate online customers could :

1) Order an item on-line which you don’t actually have in stock
2) Order an item but be sent the incorrect one, leading to Returns and Replacement

All of these lead to extra customer service work for you and your staff, with the associated time and financial costs.

You can read our full Stock Taking Guide here.

SagePay Cloud Connect EPOS

SalesStream Cloud and SagePay Cloud Connect connects your EPOS with your Customer Payments.

sage-pay-cloud-connect-epos-schematicsage-pay-cloud-connect-epos-schematicsage-pay-cloud-connect-epos-schematic

What it is?

  • Cloud Connect brings together ePOS with your ecommerce website so you have a single view of your inventory across all channels
  • Your staff can take payments (wirelessly) anywhere in-store
  • Ideal for multi-channel businesses

How does it work?

  • When the customer is ready to pay, SalesStream ePOS submits a payment request to Sage Pay through a secure & encrypted via a Webservice call. This payment request simply contains the value of the transaction to be processed.
  • The merchant can use a VX680 Wifi terminal to pull down the payment request from Sage Pay and prompt the customer to enter their PIN details, tap their card for contactless payment or even use ApplePay
  • Once the transaction has been processed by Sage Pay, the terminal will print the card receipts and we will communicate with the mobile ePOS system to let it know if the transaction was authorised or declined.
  • The ePOS system will print the sales receipt if the transaction has been authorised and complete the transaction.
  • All customer, payments and inventory information is updated across your online channels (if your business also sells online).

Benefits

  • Fully integrated with SaleStream­ EPOS Software
  • Reduced cost with simple tablet based till implementation
  • Queue Busting – mobilise staff so that they can take payments anywhere in-store
  • PDQ (Payment Terminal) can be shared by several members of staff
  • Payments can be taken independently of the EPOS System.
  • GPRS option allows you to use the payment terminal over mobile networks so you can take payments at Pop-Up Stores, Exhibitions or Markets.

Windows 10 EPOS

We are delighted to announce that SalesStream Cloud is 100% compatible with the newly launched Windows 10 and the latest Microsoft Edge browser.

windows 10 EPOS

Brand New Look to SalesStream Cloud Dashboard

As you may have noticed a new set or icons are being deployed across your Cloud Dashboard, our Website and Support Pages as seen in the screenshot below:

Cloud EPOS Dashboard

This is part of a program to make all elements of SalesStream Cloud fresher and easier to use, especially as lots of new features are soon to be introduced.

The SalesStream Team hope that you like these changes and please do not hesitate to contact Support (paul.b@jsanet.co.uk) if you have any questions or problems locating anything you need.