How SAP S/4HANA is shaping new-age retail businesses


By Vivek Gaur, Partner Director, Vital Wires 

SAP S/4HANA is an enterprise resource planning (ERP) system that is designed to streamline business processes, enhance decision-making capabilities, and provide real-time insights into business operations.SAP S/4HANA includes modules for various business functions, such as finance, procurement, production, sales, and distribution. The software is designed to simplify and streamline business processes, improve productivity, and provide real-time insights into key business metrics. It also provides a modern user interface and can be deployed in the cloud, on-premises, or in a hybrid environment.

SAP for Retail Industry 

There has been a significant increase in the availability of integrated solutions in recent years. However, the retail industry faced unique challenges that required a specialized solution that could cater to their specific requirements. 

SAP S4/HANA retail specific solution addresses some of the critical challenges of retail businesses which by the volume and scale is highly difficult to manage within one platform. Some highly desired retail specific scenarios which SAP S4/HANA suite offers: 

  1. Flawless omni-channel store fulfilment with integrated real-time back-end operations 
  2. Supply chain management with verticalized retail business with manufacturing, wholesale distribution, and store retailing on one platform 
  3. 360-degree view with SAP CAR or SAP Customer Activity Repository which is a retail-specific application that allows retailers to collect and analyse customer-related data from various sources, such as POS (Point of Sale) systems, e-commerce platforms, and mobile devices.
  4. SAP CAR enabled Real time inventory, demand forecasting and personalized marketing help in making data-driven decisions to improve operations, increase customer satisfaction, and drive revenue growth.
  5. Enhanced fraud detection: With SAP S/4HANA, retailers can detect fraudulent transactions in real-time, reducing the risk of financial losses.

Generally, the standard SAP S4/HANA application for retail customers cover most of the following core modules which itself is of tremendous value if properly adopted.

  • Real-time analytics and reporting: With SAP S/4HANA for Retail, retailers can access real-time data about their business operations, allowing them to make more informed decisions. The software provides detailed insights into sales trends, customer behaviour, inventory levels, promotion and schemes applicability , brand and category wise reporting , helping retailers identify areas where they can improve their operations and drive revenue growth.
  • Inventory management: The solution provides a centralized view of inventory across all stores and warehouses, enabling retailers to optimize their inventory levels, reduce stockouts, and improve the accuracy of demand forecasting and replenishment planning. Retailers can also use the software to manage their procurement processes, ensuring they have the right products in stock at the right time.
  • Supply chain management: SAP S/4HANA for Retail provides end-to-end supply chain management capabilities, enabling retailers to manage their entire supply chain from procurement to distribution. The software helps retailers improve supply chain visibility, reduce lead times, and optimize their logistics processes, resulting in improved operational efficiency and reduced costs.
  • Sales and customer management: The solution provides retailers with a 360-degree view of their customers, enabling them to personalize their marketing and sales efforts. The software also provides tools for managing customer orders, returns, gift vouchers, coupons, reward points and service requests, helping retailers deliver exceptional customer experiences.
  • Financial management: SAP S/4HANA for Retail provides retailers with robust financial management capabilities, including general ledger, accounts payable, accounts receivable, and asset accounting. The software also provides real-time financial reporting on different payment  types and analytics, enabling retailers to make data-driven decisions about their financial operations.

Summing Up – 

SAP S/4HANA for Retail provides retailers with a comprehensive solution for managing their businesses. By leveraging the software’s advanced capabilities, retailers can improve their operational efficiency, drive revenue growth, and deliver exceptional customer experiences.SAP S/4HANA will play an increasingly important role in the retail industry as retailers seek to stay competitive and optimize their operations. By leveraging the software’s capabilities and integrating it with other technologies, retailers can improve customer experiences, gain greater agility, and drive business growth.


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