If there are two things that recent events have shown us in the retail sector, they are:
- Effective management can only be achieved by having a complete financial view of the business. It’s no longer enough to keep regular tabs on sales and only review the overall profitability of the business on a ‘lag’ basis.
- Retail survival is going to be based on executing an omni-channel capability. And the whole business needs the same view of stock, offers and pricing.
We love working with LS Central because their approach to retail is bottom up. It all starts with the business finances and everything else is layered on top of that. If you feel that your business doesn’t have enough ‘control’ over its operations (purchasing is done over email, goods in aren’t checked against the invoice, etc.), processes are imposed. And because everything is linked back to the General Ledger in real time, you can take action based on the best management information.
LS Retail pushes the boundaries with its software, so we thought it would be helpful to break the product set down and explain the key components.
Business Central with LS Central Base
This is the heart of the system. Dynamics 365 Business Central is Microsoft’s Finance/ERP solution aimed at small and mid-market organisations. In an LS Central implementation, this base product is enhanced with LS Central Base, giving you all of the backoffice functionality needed by a retail company. This solution is hosted in the cloud in Microsoft’s ultra-secure data centres.
It is in this product that, as well as setting up the company’s finances, the inventory items, suppliers, stores, EPOS configuration and offers are setup.
LS Central POS
The POS solution is delivered to each POS via a web-browser, negating the need for software to be downloaded and maintained on each piece of hardware. The POS configuration also stays with the user, so they can have their setup when they log into another device.
LS Staff Management
This is an optional component for rostering staff and managing their work hours. It’s a low-cost component, which we find is easily repaid through efficiencies.
Based on Microsoft’s Artificial Intelligence engine, LS Forecast predicts demand for products based on historical data.
The predictions can be used to automatically place orders on suppliers, based on flexible criteria for minimum re-order quantities and safety stock.
We know that there are range of great ecommerce platforms out there. But for your stores and ecommerce channels to really work in harmony, it’s essential that they both work off the same back-end.
So LS Retail have built LS Ecommerce which connects LS Central Base to an expanding range of ecommerce platforms, including Magento and Shopify.
Having this common back-end enables true omnichannel capability. Click and collect and consistent pricing and offers effortlessly become part of your offering.
Cloud-based solutions offer so many advantages (see this blog post). But we recognise that in a fast-moving store environment, it’s important to be able to continue to operate if internet access goes down. LS Central’s offline access software is loaded onto a hosted server. This enables product and pricing information to be synchronised to each till, in case they can’t access LS Central Base. Transactions are buffered until the connection is re-established.
LS Pay is used to connect the POS software with key card processing vendors including Worldpay, Verifone and Adyen.
In this article we’ve covered the range of LS Central components and how they can be used to provide a comprehensive omnichannel retail solution. The solution can be implemented in one project, but we more typically find that our clients take a 3-phase approach, as much as anything to minimise the business change required.
If you’ve found this post useful and want to explore an LS Central solution, please get in touch using the Contact form.