Tuesday Mar 13, 2012

The Oracle Retail Week Awards

The Oracle Retail Week Awards are this Thursday and it promises to be a particularly exciting night for the nominees. There were some very difficult decisions to be made at judging and many of the categories were fiercely competitive. These important awards recognise the achievements of those individuals and organisations that make British retail great. Oracle is committed to supporting the development of excellence, innovation, creativity and agility within retail businesses and we look forward to offering our congratulations to the winners.

Interesting Statistics

According to the organisers, there were 87 entrants to the Oracle Retail Week Awards this year, and of these entries, 52 unique companies were nominated. More retailers were shortlisted this year than in previous years mainly due to an ever-increasing calibre of entries. The award nominees have always served as a benchmark for success in the retail sector and the past few years have seen an increased focus on the awards as retailers strive to find new ways to compete in a challenging market.

This Thursday there will be over 1,650 people at the Oracle Retail Week Awards to applaud the winners, including the absolute cream of the European retail community. The winners become the proponents for the evolution of the industry over the next year. It's important for retailers to be able to take data and turn it into actionable insight to optimise their operations as a business. The Oracle Retail Week Awards provide a wealth of data for retailers to use in order to measure the performance of their own business, and that's why the awards continue to be valuable not just for the winners, but for the whole retail community.

The Oracle Red Bar VIP Reception

The Oracle Retail team will be at the awards this year and it's our great pleasure to host the VIP Reception in the Red Bar prior to the awards. Here's a video from last year of Retail Week editor Tim Danaher welcoming the guests to the reception:

The room was filled with luminaries from the retail industry, including Ken Morrison, Sir Terry Leahy, Sir Stuart Rose and Philip Clarke. Sir Terry Leahy and Sir Stuart Rose later both received the Retail Week Lifetime Achievement Award for their contributions to the industry. Their acceptance speeches were both fascinating insights into their experience and invaluable for retailers hoping to follow in their footsteps. Here's Sir Stuart Rose's speech:

And here's Sir Terry Leahy's speech:

The awards this week will be as exciting as ever and we're looking forward to congratulating the winners. We will be live-tweeting from the event using the hashtag #ORWA - follow us on Twitter at @OracleRetail to keep track of the award winners and to see pictures from the night as it happens.

We look forward to seeing you there!


Oracle Retail and "Your Experience Platform"

Technology is the key to providing that differentiated retail experience. More specifically, it is what we at Oracle call ‘the experience platform’ - a set of integrated, cross-channel business technology solutions, selected and operated by a retail business and IT team, and deployed in accordance with that organisation’s individual strategy and processes.

This business systems architecture simultaneously:

  • Connects customer interactions across all channels and touchpoints, and every customer lifecycle phase to provide a differentiated customer experience that meets consumers’ needs and expectations.
  • Delivers actionable insight that enables smarter decisions in planning, forecasting, merchandising, supply chain management, marketing, etc;
  • Optimises operations to align every aspect of the retail business to gain efficiencies and economies, to align KPIs to eliminate strategic conflicts, and at the same time be working in support of customer priorities.


Working in unison, these three goals not only help retailers to successfully navigate the challenges of today but also to focus on delivering that personalised customer experience based on differentiated products, pricing, services and interactions that will help you to gain market share and grow sales.

Wednesday Jul 20, 2011

Fashion Retail Academy Alumni Interview - Tesco

We recently visited Tesco head office to speak to a graduate of the Fashion Retail Academy about her role as a Trainee Merchandiser.

In the video below, Emma Rodwell discusses how she uses Oracle Retail technology on a day-to-day basis in the fashion department at Tesco and her aspirations for the future.  Many thanks to Tesco and to the Fashion Retail Academy for making our visit possible and special thanks to Emma for taking the time out to speak to us.

For more information about the Fashion Retail academy, visit:


Friday Jul 15, 2011

Taking the shop to the customer

This week photos and video have emerged that demonstrate a unique idea from Tesco's Home Plus brand in South Korea for generating sales in the real world away from their stores.  They used billboard space in public places like train stations to create ‘2D’ shelves to advertise their products.  Beside each item is a QR code which commuters can scan with their mobile phone to add the item to their online shopping basket.  On the surface, this looks like an excellent PR gimmick, but underneath is a very sound business strategy. 

Tesco came up with the idea when facing the challenge of trying to become the number one grocery retailer in South Korea without having to open new stores.  In order to do this, Tesco needed to increase footfall to their stores and boost online shopping. 

By creating virtual shelves on billboards in public locations, they’ve essentially taken their store floor to the commuters.  Store footfall is increased by proxy, as commuters are ‘browsing the aisles’ while they wait for their train, and online shopping is boosted by the mobile shopping apps scanning the codes. 

We’ve talked about QR codes before, and have used them ourselves to promote our microsites and social media profiles in the real world.  The beauty of QR codes is that they can be customised to either have one per SKU, or even one per item in each advertising location, which can be tracked to analyse exactly how each item in each location is performing using simple online traffic analytics. 

By pioneering this approach, Tesco has achieved three important goals:

  • It has produced a very original and exciting viral advertising campaign
  • It has created a useful source of detailehd product analysis in the QR codes
  • Most importantly it has found a way to boost the bottom line without a significant increase in overheads or taking the risk of opening new stores in areas with strong competitor saturation

This is an excellent concept and is likely to drive the adoption of more direct selling methods through display advertising, and will make a lot of business that are trying to find ways to boost sales without increasing costs sit up and pay attention to the opportunities of cross-channel retail.

Tuesday Apr 05, 2011

The Leahy Legacy


Sir Terry Leahy at the Oracle Retail Week Awards.PNG
So much happens at the Oracle Retail Week Awards that it is often difficult to take it all in on the night. Yesterday, I found myself recalling Sir Ken Morrison's comments about Sir Terry Leahy, and in particular, his description of Leahy as "the greatest businessman of the late 20th and early 21st century" as he presented him with the Retail Week Lifetime Achievement Award.

This is a big statement. There is no denying Leahy's achievements at Tesco, the legacy he leaves behind and also the impact this has created around the world. Sir Ken referenced the Clubcard as one of the key successes of the era and indeed Leahy himself sees this initiative as the enabling factor that drove the customer to the heart of the Tesco business. Developed while Leahy was Marketing Director, Clubcard has been influential in maintaining Tesco's stance in the number one position and has been copied to less effect throughout the world.

Another element of Leahy's legacy that stands out for me is the retailer's impressive international expansion, with the Tesco Operating Model at its foundation. By no means is this a unique offering - several retail organisations utilise a common set of technologies and applications upon which they manage their businesses. However, the Tesco approach has been to be very specific in identifying the very best set of solutions for  particular aspects of their business. Tesco worked hard to create a model that was able to work locally from Turkey to Thailand.  Much has been made of Tesco's ability to identify emerging markets and develop the Tesco concept successfully within these countries but the Tesco Operating Model is a key element of this success. If you don't get the HQ, DCs and stores working effectively, your business will fail. If you can't get the right product to the customer at the right time, you lose a sale and sometimes that customer's business. Serving a global customer demands a business to have truly global process and technology.

Leahy's successor, Philip Clarke in his previous role as IT and International Director was influential in ensuring that the Tesco Operating Model was implemented to great effect. It will be interesting to see over time how retail businesses seek to copy the Operating Model, as they have done the ClubCard. It is too soon to speculate on what Clarke's business legacy will be. Putting the customer at the heart of business is a lesson that every company can learn from Tesco.  Creating a truly global business for a global customer is where Clarke's international and technology skills give him a real edge as a forward looking businessman for the 21st century. 



Wednesday Mar 23, 2011

Feedback from the Oracle Retail Week Awards

After the awards, we interviewed several of the staff from Retail Week as well as our own Sarah Taylor on their thoughts about the Oracle Retail Week Awards 2011 and which they thought were their favourite categories.  See the video below for some exclusive insights from Joanna Perry, Charlotte Hardie and Tim Danaher of Retail Week. 


Tuesday Mar 22, 2011

Tim Danaher's Speech at Oracle Retail Week Awards

Below is a video of Tim Danaher's Welcome Speech at the Oracle VIP Reception before the Oracle Retail Week Awards. 


Tim Danaher Editor of Retail Week welcomed the guests to the Oracle Retail Week Awards VIP party. The room was packed with retail luminaries from Charles Dunstone and Sir Philip Green to the award winners Sir Terry Leahy and Sir Stuart Rose. Sir Terry Leahy and his Tesco team sipped Tesco Finest Champagne to celebrate at the beginning of a night that would honour the life time achievements of Sir Terry Leahy. The room was buzzing with energy with the industry poised to celebrate his long journey from a career that began stacking shelves at his local Tesco store in Liverpool to becoming what Sir Ken Morrison later called "the business man of the late 20th and early 21st century".

Wednesday Jan 26, 2011

Tomorrow's Retail Talent

The Retail industry is built on talent, personality and finely honed business skills. It is the individuals working in retail stores and head offices who redesign the customer experience, reinvigorate operational excellence and re-imagine growth every single day. The Fashion Retail Academy is dedicated to making its students ready for careers in this vibrant retail industry. Oracle has a deep and lasting commitment to the retail industry and has been a supporter of the Fashion Retail Academy from very early in the Academy's history.


FRA front.jpg Based in London, the Fashion Retail Academy is backed by some of the leading figures of the global retail industry. There are a variety of courses for students of different ages and skill levels. Sir Philip Green leads a long list of retail luminaries who spend time with the students to inspire them to work hard and build lasting retail careers.   The opportunities created for the students are truly unique and highly motivating with the majority of students walking into industry jobs immediately upon graduating. Subjects taught include Buying, Merchandising, Planning, Marketing, Product Development and Retail Industry Technology.

Many Oracle customers are also supporters of the Academy including New Look, Selfridges, Tesco and Gap. So, from the Oracle customer's perspective there is a clear benefit to recruiting Academy students who have been using Oracle solutions in the classroom and are already fluent in technology when they enter the workplace. The partnership between Oracle and the Fashion Retail Academy in action within the industry reduces the burden of training requirements on the Oracle Retail customer base.  Every successful retailer today uses technology and students understand the type of systems they can expect to use when they enter the workplace. It was a natural commitment for Oracle to make and we are really proud to be the Academy's technology partner.

We are currently working with the Fashion Retail Academy on Point of Sale and Planning solutions being taught on their syllabus. Oracle and its customers will be giving lectures in 2011 to help expand students' thoughts on how technology can help them become really visionary retailers with great insight. 

It is a really exciting year for technology and retail. Online retail continues to grow and demands new skills from the retail workforce. At Oracle, we look forward to working with the Fashion Retail Academy this year to explore how technology can be used to make buying decisions based on social media sentiment analysis.  We will continue to spend time with the Academy students and staff this year exploring these new trends.

Additionally this year, we are starting to work more closely with the alumni of the Fashion Retail Academy, tracking their progress in the workplace. It is a very exciting year for Oracle's relationship with the Fashion Retail Academy. We will keep you posted of developments through this blog and our 2.0 channels. 

If you are interested in hearing more about our work with the Fashion Retail Academy or want to become a supporter of the Academy please contact me Sarah Taylor at sarah.taylor@oracle.com


Everything Retail.

Principal contributors:

Sarah Taylor, Senior Industry Director, Oracle Retail.

Marie-Christin Hansen, Senior Industry Campaigns Manager, Oracle Retail.

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