Despite the variety of technology vendors exhibiting their new wares, many were keen to demonstrate the need for global reach to support retail growth, Miya Knights reports
This is placing new demands on retail IT suppliers to provide systems that can not only support, but also scale with such growth, where many were on hand at the retail central information systems (CIS) show held every year in Düsseldorf this week to highlight these important considerations when specifying new technology investments.
, which this year formed part the quadrennial industry trade fair EuroShop
, played host to a number of vendors that see these emerging retail requirements as an opportunity to go beyond selling just point products for use in one market or territory.
David Concordel, senior vice president and head of retail business group at Fujitsu
, said: “We realised couple of years ago that we could do more in retail. So we’ve done a couple of things: one is bringing all of our assets together in a consistent way, with one portfolio and framework. The other is that we serve retailers in 52 countries, but needed to bring together all of that innovation and expertise into global solutions and services.”
Concordel commented that the traditional means of sourcing IT would be to look for separate, best-of-breed products. “Today’s leading, global retailers need to concentrate on the best locations to open stores, international distribution and fulfilment and localising their marketing efforts, not IT,” he added.
Supporting retail expansion plans
Retailers are increasingly looking for IT suppliers with both products and services that can demonstrate both strength and depth across their areas of focus in support of any plans for expansion. René Schiller, corporate communications and investor relations director for GK Software
, for example explained the company’s main focus had been point of sale (PoS), but that this now extends to all store systems.
“This includes everything, from the PoS to mobile store solutions for inventory checking, for instance,” Schiller said. “And we are directly integrated to the back end with our SAP certification. This is important because most retailers have a clear focus on omnichannel
.” To this, he suggested retailers looked to IT investment to increase their brand reach as well as reduce complexity.
In fact, SAP
was also in hand to support the messaging of its partner, GK Software. Andreas Wormbs, SAP trade industry principal, told RetailTechnology.co.uk: “With the acquisition of hybris and our partnership with GK Software in the store we can offer retailers one technology stack. We started this approach in our home region, extended it out to EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa) and have now taken it global.”
Managing increased complexity
Wormbs added: “Retailers are normally looking for best-of-breed. Which is why they also need a stable platform, as a separate layer, in order to have control over their key, critical business processes and integrate new technologies more quickly. The omnichannel challenge is manage complexities and master data in one system. With our approach, we can support customers in reducing these complexities.”
One of the key considerations for retail management looking to break into new territories is maintaining the same control and visibility over operations as they do in their domestic market. Colm Roche, regional sales director for Shoppertrak
, said the amount of information about customer activity online that retailers can access has led to a resurgence of interest around their behaviours instore too.
“People counting has only in recent years become such an important thing,” said Roche. “With the growth of online and omnichannel, retailers want to push conversions online into their stores. And they are asking, ‘what else can I do in the store?’ But providers in our market are very fragmented, having mostly grown with retail clients in their home markets. Very few have anything close to the global support network we offer.”
Roche reported Shoppertrak was also working with retailers to use analytics
that could extend insight both outside and further into the store. “That might be the draw rate by a store or particular window or dwell time at a particular fascia,” he said. With these kinds of metrics, he added retailers could extend store insight beyond operations to other areas of the business, like merchandising or loss prevention, as well as across geographies.