CIM – The core of multichannel retailing

Over the last years, Compex has continuously improved the standard software Compex Commerce with the help of its customers, including Kaiser’s Tengelmann, ProMarkt, Coop Alsace, and Penny. The result is an integrated software solution that meets the needs of the food and non-food industries. The focus of the projects was on the establishment of a central information management system (CIM) containing data of all business processes – one of the major competitive advantages for successful multichannel retailing.

A recent study by McKinsey and Google shows that enterprises with multichannel retailing are becoming more and more popular among customers. Taking a look at the different stages of the purchasing process, the study reveals that those enterprises that are operating both online and offline set themselves apart from their competitors when it comes to customer acquisition and loyalty. The successful multichannel retailers encourage customer loyalty by offering attractive services, including catalogs with product information, internet platforms such as Social Media, mail orders with pick-up in the store, drive-in shops, delivery service etc.

Multichannel strategies require that all people involved are able to access all information. The fast interchange of data across processes, however, still poses a problem for many companies.

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In terms of software technology this means that an ERP system has to provide uniform, consistent and verified information for all channels of distribution. Up-to-date customer, product, inventory and order data need to be provided online and offline, for international and national markets with regional specifics for the respective target markets. 

Status quo: software mix

It is a common practice among retailers to use different software solutions in order to offer multichannel retailing – with the result that the data are interchanged via interfaces, that redundant and out-of-date versions are existing, and that the data have to be maintained multiple times. These kinds of software landscapes cause growing complexity, decreasing data reliability, and steadily increasing operating costs.

Compex Commerce is different

For 25 years now, the Heidelberg software house has offered an integrated software solution for retail, wholesale and mail order businesses. Already in the early days, the SOA-based software (service-oriented architecture) was designed for the needs of the goods, value and information flows of commercial enterprises.

The core of the application is the central information management system (CIM). CIM collects, verifies, archives, manages and distributes all master and transaction data. CIM is more than just a master data management system (MDM) or a product information management system (PIM). Besides the management of master, sales slip and invoice data, it also focuses on the management of all business transactions, such as orders, delivery notes, returns, and purchase orders in document form. In short, it contains all information of all business processes.
With CIM, Compex creates a corporate database that is up to date. Being the single point of truth, CIM accelerates the data acquisition, reduces the system load, and prevents redundancies.

The same data are thus available for each channel; all customer and supplier transaction data are transparent and comprehensible; they do not require any interfaces and they may be used at any mobile or stationary point of sale (POS).

It is now possible to efficiently serve customers via all channels of distribution. This includes online information and availability, personal advice and ordering by phone, boxing and dispatch in the nearest warehouse, delivery by parcel service or own vehicle fleet as well as returns and exchanges in the stores.
 

Compex Commerce makes multichannel retailing possible: transparent, fast and cost-efficient