WHY INTEGRATION OF LOCATIONS IS CRITICAL IN DRIVING REVENUE

In the following scenario, I will briefly describe a recent shopping experience where the product specifications, inventory management, and location were the key components in the decision to make a purchase, and how the integration of these aspects is critical in the overall decision-making process. More specifically, as I was shopping for a refrigerator in the greater Austin, Texas area recently, I encountered a situation where a lack of communication between store systems ultimately prevented the sale.

To start, I had done quite a bit of research to find the appliance I needed. There were a few different constraints I was working within particular – I needed a specific kind of model in a certain price range, and I needed it delivered by a certain time. I also looked through all the options on Amazon.com, but the refrigerator I needed was not offered on Amazon. In the immediate area, I was left with two choices – Home Depot and Lowe’s.

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Since I had looked at Home Depot first, the decision was made to buy a similar product at Lowe’s in order to save some time. However, this particular location did not have the product in stock, and they suggested that I check with another location which was four miles away. To prevent the trouble of having to travel this distance to make the purchase, I asked if they could check to see if the item was in stock at that location and allow me to place an order then and there and schedule the delivery and installation. In an ideal situation, the store would be able to communicate with the other store and close the sale from the same location.

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Unfortunately, I was told this was not possible. To my surprise, the associate explained they were not able to engage with the other store’s system to check inventory or place an order, and I would have to physically drive down to the other store in order to make the purchase. Suffice it to say, I ended up getting the product I needed at Home Depot across the street. In this situation, Lowe’s lost the purchase simply due to their inability to ease the purchasing process.

This is not to imply that the customer service was not exceptional, as the associates at both stores did a great job and everything they physically could to assist. I think this scenario speaks more to the importance of cross-platform functionality and knowing what stock is available, when and where. In today’s age of instant gratification, this aspect of integrative communications in the retail business, whether online or brick and mortar, is critical to continue driving the market forward. There are a lot of problems to be solved in this space and this is one of the reasons we are excited about our product, Cloras.

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Cloras solves the integration challenges many retailers face, and it allows them to have data synchronized and available across different stores and different systems. It offers tailor-made solutions that adapt to specific business needs and redefines the way users interact with day-to-day applications, making it easy to talk across platforms and gain access to important and up to date information.

If this integration and cross-functionality had been in place during my recent shopping excursion, then the outcome of my purchase would have likely inspired a different kind of story. One where the customer walks away feeling as if their purchase was effortless and completely satisfied with the shopping experience from beginning to end.

 

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