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SAP CAR Customer Activity Repository – The Heart of Retail Business 

4 Mins read

The world of retail, a $25 trillion market, is an ever-evolving landscape with countless businesses persistently vying to stand out. Retailers are constantly trying to create robust systems to measure customer activity to respond with agility and intelligence. The approach now is all about mining new insights from data.

The buyer journey today has become incredibly complex with several stages. After all, consumers rarely make decisions in a vacuum. They review product information, compare competitors’ offerings, and research pricing on the web right before making a purchasing decision. The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has furthered escalated these trends and made it even more crucial for retailers to be proactive in pitching hyper-tailored offers. 

Indeed, using data-driven insights to enhance frontline operations and upsell customers is an increasingly important practice. But this is not easy. Coming up with offers that drive conversion is often beset by inefficient procedures and insufficient technology – especially when data is not integrated into the core enterprise operations.

The SAP CAR Solution for Retail provides the backbone for retailers to more efficiently and effectively leverage data to comprehend buying patterns and meet customer expectations through demand forecasting.

SAP Customer Activity Repository — An Introduction

The SAP CAR solution for retail lays the foundation for a comprehensive customer experience by tying customer shopping behavior, point of sale (POS) information, and product information together in a central repository. That enables the creation of a powerful solution with a holistic view of customer activity. This holistic view empowers retailers to make better decisions and maximize the value of the data available to them.

It’s noteworthy that enterprises can upgrade from SAP POS Data Management (SAP POS DM), which follows PIPE functionality to collect sales data, to SAP CAR for a number of added benefits.

For instance, SAP CAR additionally facilitates:

  • Workforce Management Integration
  • Unprocessed Sales Review
  • Added Customer Identification Fields, etc.

The SAP CAR solution for retail comprises a detailed set of features. The core functionality of its application revolves around its ability to enable retailers to extract strategic value from sales data and maintain the consistency of information. 

Using SAP CAR for Driving Better Decisions

Incorporating sales data via SAP CAR into the overall operating structure of the enterprise promises a win-win across several fronts. Here’s how:

1. Omni-Channel POS Integration: Sales data and POS sales information can be recorded and tracked across different channels, spanning online to offline merchandising, thus, providing a 360-degree view of customer activity. The transactional data could be consolidated even from the documentation in the SAP ERP. 

2. Real-Time Inventory Visibility: Managing inventory levels has become complex as channels have proliferated. Acquiring real-time access to inventory information becomes important in that context. SAP CAR empowers retailers to dynamically determine whether the products are in stock and route orders accordingly, courtesy of SAP ERP tables. More so, the solution:

  • Offers a simplified and agile approach to streamline order management
  • Standardizes the workflow and ensures that the profitability of every sale is maximized
  • Facilitates tracking of all inventory across channels, including product returns and reconciliation of customer and vendor invoices, etc.

3. Unified Demand Forecasting: The demand forecasting module enables retailers to analyze historical sales data to forecast future trends and gain early insights into their impact on the business. The feature also helps with accurately predicting sales, which is imperative for reacting to product shortages and advancing customer retention efforts. On the granular level, master data (product specifications, transportation, vendor, etc.) and planning data (future prices, planned offers, etc.) are merged with the model to extract valuable insights. 

4. Sales and Merchandise Analytics: The access to SAP HANA views coupled with the appended information about a customer’s behavior and sales data creates a holistic view to drive more carefully planned retail operations. For instance, the sales and merchandise analytics component help retailers:

  • Identify profitable customers based on their long-term purchasing trend who may be neglected
  • Forecast markdown/special deals and sales with more certainty
  • Assess the impact of a limited-time offer on customer visits and average spend
  • Cleanse sales data based on missing or incorrect product information, etc.

Besides these, SAP CAR proves useful in gathering social intelligence, which aims to understand how customers perceive the brand online and what can be done to improve their experience.

Now is the Time to Switch to SAP CAR

The extraction, management, and subsequent dissemination of meaningful insights from various data points to stakeholders in an enterprise-wide format are integral to holistic retail operations. As the data-driven conversation around customer experience continues to expand, retailers would do well to retain an all-encompassing platform for revenue generation.

All this, alongside a 13% increase in up-sell opportunities, 5% improvement in gross margins, 30% reduction in development time, 29% decrease in annual maintenance costs, and 7% increase in customer satisfaction ratings, boost the case for adopting the SAP CAR solution for retail.

Retailers today need to ward off many challenges:

  • Falling profits over the past decade
  • The rise in competition from non-traditional players
  • Difficulties in managing multiple platforms from different vendors and disparate data sources
  • The burden of obsolete and redundant legacy IT systems
  • The need for real-time insights into customer behavior for better decision-making
  • The importance of a low-cost and replaceable platform that is capable of extending beyond traditional organizational boundaries.

Indeed, all these factors catalyze the shift to SAP CAR.

Make the Right Move with Groupsoft SAP CAR Consumer Applications

From merchandise planning to assortment planning and allocation management to promotion management, Groupsoft SAP CAR Consuming Applications enable retailers to stay abreast of the latest customer intelligence and maximize the value of their data.

We also follow an expert approach to the SAP CAR implementation and services, which involves a lean and clean approach to the project management process and flexible implementation schedules that fit your business requirements for complete delivery with minimal risk. Connect with us to know more.

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About author
Arun Ganeshan is the lead SAP CAR Consultant at Groupsoft. He plays a crucial role in defining, developing, documenting, and maintaining architectural blueprints of SAP. With his end-to-end SAP CAR implementation or rollout experience, he encompasses the software development life cycle for retail clients.
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