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Oracle Retail Blog helps retailers stay current on customer successes, hot retail trends and industry best practices.

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Best Practices & Trends

Orchestrate Backstage Integration and Bring Customer Service into the Spotlight

At NRF 2019 this January, Oracle will preview the latest features of its industry-leading Oracle Retail Order Management solution in Booth #2321. With holiday shopping upon us, shoppers are increasingly finding that they can get similar merchandise from multiple retailers, within the same delivery window and at just about the same price. So how does a retailer differentiate themselves while still being in harmony with their customers? A recent poll asked 1,000 shoppers about how their past shopping experiences would influence their 2018 spending. It found that consumers—battle-scarred by last year’s memories of long lines, aggressive crowds, out-of-stock items, and poor service—are more than ready to seek out stores and websites prepared to give them what they want, how they want it. Over 60% of holiday consumers said they are willing to change where they shop based on their negative experiences last year.1 In this “anywhere anytime” landscape, retailers’ best opportunity to shine often comes after the sale. With all the noise, I personally lean to those retailers who I can conveniently return an item to or easily resolve an issue, and those who value my business. This is where the role of customer service can set the bar. Central to customer experience is a sense that customer service representatives (CSRs) can identify the customer, what they purchased and when. They need to resolve issues quickly to keep the rhythm of retail and retain the customer. Do you have a store location nearby? Can store, live chat, and CSRs not only respond to questions but also provide the level of personalized service that is memorable? Center Stage Consumers not only want a physical store location at which to return items, they expect store associates, and CSRs to know their purchase history and to be able to respond to situations in a way that demonstrates that they value the customer and want their repeat business. I may only buy that item once every year for a holiday gift and having an associate be able to find that item is a huge timesaver. It also means I don’t have to ruin the surprise of the gift by asking the person what it was. Harvard Business Review shared a global study of over 1,400 CSRs that reinforces today’s customers are impatient, they easily frustrate, and the thought of having to deal with a service rep can easily send someone off tune. We’ve all shared stories of ill-fated customer experiences and have seen how quickly these tales go viral on social media. Retailers must take center stage by arming their staff with the tools needed to bring a harmonic balance. To do this, the CSR must have options. In the case of a damaged item, for example, the representative can offer a discount or award loyalty points as well as handling a return or exchange. How situations like this are resolved must become part of the transaction record, both to guarantee the solution and to protect the retailer from fraud. Backstage That kind of flexibility requires a lot of backstage coordination. How that integration is created and maintained determines the speed at which a retailer can accommodate customer needs, introduce new services, or simply better serve its best customers. Often the job of creating and maintaining links between order management and other systems consumes resources within the retailers’ IT teams, a cost that can quickly overshadow the original investment in a new application or upgrade. Order management solutions must gather information and insight from the full array of merchandising, ecommerce, store operations, customer loyalty, pricing and promotions systems that comprise day-to-day retail operations. The overall business goal is to make order management and issues resolution as easy as possible, not create another pain point. Bringing the Band Together Pre-integrated solutions and cloud service platforms are instrumental in helping to shift the burden of integration, updates, and upgrades, away from the retailer and lend predictability to the total cost of ownership. Creating this smooth harmony is the approach that Oracle has taken by making Oracle Retail Order Management Cloud Service a major component of its integrated service options for Empowered Commerce. Oracle’s order management solution is and has always been, thanks to its roots in catalog retailing, a robust solution that provides customer service representatives with a 360-degree view of customer purchases, loyalty points, returns, price, and promotion capabilities. Today, the solution is integrated with Oracle Commerce Cloud and the Oracle Retail suite of store solutions. Making Music The result is a comprehensive approach to customer service with a beat that encompasses all channels and transactions, and empowers associates to keep the rhythm by better satisfying customer inquiries, returns and exchanges. Features and functionality reduce the need for retailers to customize, and that “vanilla” approach to implementation allows for pre-integration to deliver its own added benefits in the near- and long-term. Ultimately, the benefits of fully-integrated, feature-rich order management extend from the supporting IT staff to the customer-facing service representative and customer experience. All of which is designed to enable a better customer experience and enhance customer loyalty. Customer problems are going to happen, and the volume of inquiries will spike following the hectic holiday season. It’s how retailers respond that moves it from a loss to a win. At NRF 2019, Oracle will demonstrate how order management solutions serve as the fulcrum for an excellent customer experience after the sale. I personally invite you to stop by booth #2321 to see what all the noise is about. Are you ready for center stage?  Demo Oracle Retail Order Management at NRF 2019 - Request a Demo Today! 1Holiday shoppers have no patience for bad in-store experiences  

At NRF 2019 this January, Oracle will preview the latest features of its industry-leading Oracle Retail Order Management solution in Booth #2321. With holiday shopping upon us, shoppers are...

Cloud

Maximizing Ugly Christmas Sweater (or Jumper) and Fruitcake Sell-through

The Competitive Advantage of a Forecast-driven Enterprise Most retailers are acutely aware: November and December have nearly twice the revenue potential as any other month, and the momentum continues to grow. According to research from the National Retail Federation (NRF) Holiday Headquarters, more than 165 million people shopped either in store or online during the Black Friday weekend and into Cyber Monday, and it is estimated consumers will spend 4.1% more than last year during the winter holidays. Studies report that 50% of shoppers say that limited-time sales and promotions convinced them to make a purchase and 77% have left a store on average four times during the holiday season when they couldn’t find what they were looking for. Delivering an effective holiday promotional strategy is key to driving traffic and accurate inventory availability is critical to converting that traffic to revenue. If your forecasts are not accurate, you are risking out of stocks, unhappy customers and long-term loyalty. Forecasting for the Holiday The fluidity and frequency of seasonal assortments and promotional events coupled with the high-stakes of peak season trading put even more pressure on forecast accuracy for multiple business units – from merchandising to marketing to supply chain. If you are attending NRF 2019 stop by and demo Oracle Retail Planning Solutions. As you prepare for your best season yet, here are some things to consider: Seasonal Assortments:  Retail is seasonal and the holiday high point aligns with the highest concentration of promotional activity. If the past can be any indication of the future, what sets promotions and seasonal demand apart? A highly accurate forecasting system decouples demand drivers with historical estimations of seasonal demand separate from causalities, to provide a foundation for optimizing accuracy over a suite of seasonal forecasting approaches that reflect everything from fast and slow movers to short and long lifecycle items.  Holiday Assortments:  From seasonal goodies to holiday sweaters holiday assortments are prevalent across all retail verticals and many times include new items that don’t have a history to draw upon, whether it’s a hot toy (e.g., last year’s Hatchimal) or the latest gadget. In this scenario retailers need a forecasting system that can leverage attributes, evaluate similarities against past performers and provide robust forecasts that reflect smart starting points for initial base rate of demand and a holiday lifecycle curves. Pricing and Promotions:  Advertising, display units, endcaps, personal offers, discount--whatever your marketing team cooks up--you need to be able to accurately anticipate demand drivers in aggregate. For example, Oracle Retail’s Demand Forecasting Cloud Service (RDF) mines for similar occurrences in the past to understand the net effect of overlapping promotions in the future. What about new items with no promotional history? RDF performs pooled pricing and promotional effect estimation over similar performing item-locations (detected using unsupervised machine learning and critical attributes) to provide accurate promotional forecasts in the absence of promotional history. Weather:  According to research done by Planalytics, a leading provider of weather-based predictive analytics, 4.2% of overall apparel stores’ sales are weather-sensitive during November. Impacts can fluctuate by over 35% across locations for key categories. For example, the weather in November when compared to the prior year drove a +17% increase in demand for boots in 'chilly' Knoxville while having a -19% decrease in 'warm' Denver. How do you capitalize on the uncontrollable, particularly for categories that are highly weather-sensitive? In partnership with Planalytics, Oracle Retail has developed approaches in RDF to incorporate weather analytics throughout the forecasting process – from de-weatherizing historical demand to reflect true trends and seasonality to incorporating imminent weather events into forecasting and exception-driven processes for weather-sensitive categories. Competitive Advantage of a Forecast-driven Enterprise Delivering on your holiday strategy depends on informed pricing and promotional decisions based on forecasting insights, efficiently coordinating those decisions throughout the supply chain and ultimately to sales execution: Convert up to 50% of shoppers into buyers during the holiday season with time-sensitive sales and promotions. Forecasts drive these decisions, from contextual what-if’s and predictive analytics to optimized and forward-looking prescriptive analytics. The forecast and corresponding pricing and promotional effects, paired with the underlying costs and inventory availability are the foundation for effective pricing and promotional decisions. Increase brand loyalty by up to 77% during the holiday season through higher in-stock rates. Forecasts drive replenishment and allocation processes, with automated intelligence at a massive scale. The forecast and corresponding statistical prediction intervals provided by RDF Cloud Service enable supply chain success of right product, place and time supported by forward-looking demand and statistical safety stocks balanced with minimizing inventory costs.  Maximize Your Holiday Potential The holiday season offers opportunity and the forecast-driven enterprise is key to unlocking that potential. RDF Cloud Service reflects the culmination of 15+ years leading the industry in demand forecasting with an integrated perspective across Oracle Retail’s enterprise portfolio and proven across 160+ retailers worldwide. You can learn more about maximizing your potential with RDF Cloud Service in our Guideb​ook: 3 Steps to Simplifying Retail Forecasting and Planning.  Demo Oracle Retail Planning Solutions at NRF 2019 - Request a Demo Today!  

The Competitive Advantage of a Forecast-driven Enterprise Most retailers are acutely aware: November and December have nearly twice the revenue potential as any other month, and the momentum continues...

Retail Science

Retail Science: Conversational AI and Enterprise Productivity

According to the RIS News / Gartner 2018 Retail Technology Report, “artificial intelligence (AI) skyrocketed from the bottom of the priority list in 2017 to number five for future investment (combining planned deployments within 12 months and planned deployments within 12-24 months). Gartner expects that “by 2020 retailers will be utilizing AI during many retail processes to make better and faster decisions.”   Smart digital interactions are an integral part of our everyday life as we query Alexa, Google Home, Siri, search Google to get quick and personalized information or accept Gmail’s quick reply recommendations. Conversational AI technologies have yet to go mainstream in business applications but much like mobile has become ubiquitous, personalized user interactions with core business systems is not a far-out concept. Most retailers think about conversational AI in the context of the store or ecommerce, but applying conversational AI to core operations, via voice or text, can accelerate and optimize processes. For example, the Oracle Retail Offer Optimization solution can now be directly integrated with Oracle Digital Assistant which uses natural language processing to understand human inputs (voice or text), applies context and provides intelligent next steps based on user prompts. Oracle Digital Assistant (ODA), is a comprehensive digital assistant that can be trained to support domain skills for several back office related actions.  Leveraging AI, Oracle Digital Assistant understands context, derives intent, and identifies and learns user behaviors and patterns to automate routine tasks proactively. Oracle Digital Assistant goes well beyond standard chatbots available today that provide simple, single skilled, linear responses. By applying AI for natural language processing (NLP), natural language understanding (NLU) and machine learning (ML), Oracle is in a unique position to leverage its breadth and depth in retail applications and offer a digital assistant that can optimize enterprise operations. A Deeper Look at Oracle Digital Assistant Models Oracle Digital Assistants are fast learners and improve dialogue flow over time with two methods (‘models') for classifying intent: Trainer HT and Trainer Tm. The Trainer HT model is optimal when you do not have a strong baseline of user utterances to train the model.  Trainer Tm uses machine-learning algorithms that can understand a broader, more diverse set of user utterances, while still accurately classifying intent. Case in point, maybe you’re rolling out a new line or applying a new promotional strategy or introducing a new brand to your portfolio. In this scenario, ODA recognizes intent using built-in rules and inferred rules from the utterance training set. The advantage of the rules-based approach is that training is very fast (about a second), only needs a small number of utterances per intent, and gives a high level of accuracy. On the other hand, in a case where a user is navigating through several queries, the model applies machine-learning algorithms that can understand a broader, more diverse set of user utterances, while still accurately classifying intent. Example queries:  “How well is store XX doing compared to store YY?”  “What promotions are running at store YY?”  “When was that promotion approved and how long has it been running?”  “Now let’s shift gears here and start running that promo at store XX – tell me what the lifecycle impact will be on the new jeans we have exclusively at store XX”.   In the case of Oracle Offer Optimization with ODA, areas such as location-specific sales forecasting, promotional deployment and performance, approval automation, target prioritization, to name a few, can be streamlined. Additionally, the solution allows managers and divisional leaders to be acutely in tune with business performance just by asking a question like, “what’s the current margin on our new BOGO offer for trendsetters?” Conversational AI can also give reprieve to understaffed IT departments by expediting basic, albeit time-consuming queries: Did my recommendations go through?, Did the batch process complete successfully? and Why am I getting this error? ODA will respond with a possible reason or recommendation to the user saving significant investigation time and effort.   The advantage of conversational AI integrated with an enterprise business solution and Retail Science are many and will continue to evolve with time. Shortterm, conversational AI drives better user engagement through personal interactions that learn from various user patterns. In the long-term, conversational AI shifts the paradigm from users seeing automation and intelligent technology as a threat to making them more efficient and effective. And making some new friends along the way. Related Articles Blog: The Oracle Mobile & Digital Assistant Blog Blog: Oracle Accelerates Data Insights for Retailers with Oracle Digital Assistant Blog: Accelerating Advanced Analytic Strategies with Retail Science Blog: Next-Gen Offer Optimization - Engaging Omnichannel Customers with Modern Retail Science Overview: Digital Assistant

According to the RIS News / Gartner 2018 Retail Technology Report, “artificial intelligence (AI) skyrocketed from the bottom of the priority list in 2017 to number five for future investment...

Planning & Optimization

Retail Science: How Retail CMOs Can Use AI to Drive More Personal Offers and Marketing ROI

Going into the holidays, one of the biggest challenges for retail CMO’s is overcoming the saturation of irrelevant and impersonal communications (especially via email). This coupled, with an acute concern over the handling and sharing of personal data by consumers, is something top of mind for brands world wide and accentuated by legislation like the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and California's 2018 Data Privacy Act. The emergence of an “opt-out” culture is very real and it's up to retailers to hone their offers to not only standout in the mountains of noise but also land relevant and highly personal offers to drive brand engagement.  If we take email out of the equation completely, how can customers be reached with new offers? And do retailers truly understand what led to each unsubscribe? It could be that their customer felt the email offers weren’t relevant enough for them or they stopped trusting in the brand. Or maybe they just signed up to get that onetime "opt-in offer". In the age of over communication, retailers need a new approach. Let’s explore how artificial intelligence (AI) can help deliver personalized offers to the right customer at the right time resulting in better marketing ROI. The Right Offers at the Right Time with AI Advancements in AI are helping retailers gain insights into what offers may influence a customer to buy. Oracle Retail’s Offer Optimization is a powerful AI application that personalizes promotional offers with un-rivaled accuracy to drive better results. When connected to Oracle Retail Customer Engagement’s vast storehouse of customer omnichannel purchase and promotion response data, Offer Optimization is continually learning what works for who.  It gains insight into which offers individual customers are most responsive to, and then generates truly personalized offers and posts them directly into each customer’s promotional wallet so they can take advantage of that customized and most relevant deal. One-to-one marketing just got a whole lot easier. When retailers offer up the most relevant offer to a customer that in turn improves engagement and overall customer loyalty. By Using Offer Optimization Retailers Can:  Engage customers with targeted and contextual offers that maximize redemption rates. Automatically evaluate the trade-off between temporary promotions and permanent markdowns. Ensure consistency between strategy and marketing execution teams, by incorporating markdown budgets, promotional campaigns, projected receipts and forecasted returns.  Simplify decision-making through high-automation, exception-driven processes and on-demand scenario-based optimization.  Maximize accuracy and scale using artificial intelligence, machine learning and decision sciences. Proof is in the Research Our global research report, The New Topography of Retail, found: 52% of global consumers are aware of GDPR  86% of global consumers would exercise their right to be forgotten  75% of consumers believe there is a distinction between ‘personalized’ and ‘relevant’ offers 22% of consumers state offers from retailers are always relevant, and only 21% think they are always personal The perception that communications are not personalized means retailers need to work harder to understand consumer preferences, all potentially with less data from the consumer as they exercise their right to keep details confidential. The opportunity here for retailers is to give consumers what they want – relevant and timely offers. In fact, if retailers can catch consumers at the right time, with the right offer, they can compel them to buy. Other Findings:  34% of consumers are browsing online every day 47% said it would be awesome to receive real-time offers based on browsing history The more retailers take the time to understand the customer, capture a 360 degree of engagement and invest in building a personal conversation, the better off they will be at impacting marketing ROI and the bottom line. Consumers will continue to demand convenient, personalized, and responsive shopping experiences that extends across all channels and sometimes it’s that perfect offer that wins the sale. To compete, retailers and associates need to develop a one-to-one relationship with consumers, anticipate their needs with relevant offers, and deliver a delightful experience—regardless of where shopping is taking place. Are you ready to win your customers over with a little help from AI? Watch 2-Minute Video - Right Place, Right Now

Going into the holidays, one of the biggest challenges for retail CMO’s is overcoming the saturation of irrelevant and impersonal communications (especially via email). This coupled, with an acute...

Best Practices & Trends

The 4 Must-Haves for the Modern Black Friday Shopper

Black Friday is quickly approaching - historically known as the largest shopping day of the holiday season - how ready are retailers this year to support infinite shopper journeys and give customers the best possible experience? We dug into our most recent consumer research, The New Topography of Retail, which asked 15,500 consumers about their feelings on privacy and personalization, supply chain visibility, sales assistants in retail and more, to see what four must-haves retailers need to keep shoppers satisfied. View the Infographic Our study found that 62% of consumers prefer to purchase in-store, and it’s estimated 57% of 2018 holiday dollars will be spent online. So what consumers do in between will vary from person to person, brand to brand. From our findings, these are the four most important things retailers must deliver to keep customers coming back all season long: 1. Fast, Impulse Buys Online  71% say a fast, responsive online experience is vital 55% feel an online checkout process shouldn’t require an account setup  In-store 54% desire staff that can process payments anywhere in store 55% want the ability to use self-checkout 2. Personalized, Real-time Offers 63% think personalized offers and promos are important 66% find offers based on purchase history appealing 47% feel real-time offers based on browsing history is awesome           3. Smart, Transparent Interactions 74% want to encounter knowledgeable in-store staff 72% of consumers expect granular tracking of their delivery status 4. Hassle-Free Returns 58% expect retailers to always know the reasons for their return 60% expect customer service to know the date of their original purchase  Other Trends From the Study Consumers feel a need for: Privacy and anonymity of their personal data Information – whether it’s on shipping updates, inventory accuracy, real-time offers or dealing with knowledgeable in-store staff – consumers want to stay informed and every little detail matters New retail experiences (both on-line and in-store) - which can be delivered with the right retail software technology So whether your customers are looking to score the next hot electronic or kid’s toy this Black Friday, make sure you are making things easy, personalized, transparent, and hassle-free. Give your customers the experience they are longing for this Black Friday, download our study and stay on top of emerging consumer trends.

Black Friday is quickly approaching - historically known as the largest shopping day of the holiday season - how ready are retailers this year to support infinite shopper journeys and give customers...

Planning & Optimization

Retail Science: Oracle Accelerates Data Insights for Retailers with Oracle Digital Assistant

Integration of Core Retail Technology with Conversational AI Powers Targeted and Contextual Offers that Engage Customers and Drive Results. Enabling retailers to build personalized customer experiences as well as voice-enabled assistants to help employees work smarter and more productively, Oracle Retail solutions are now integrated with Oracle Digital Assistant.  Together, these offerings empower retailers to find answers to critical business questions such as, “What’s the current margin on our new BOGO offer for trendsetters?,” faster than ever before.  Announced at Oracle OpenWorld 2018, Oracle Digital Assistant leverages artificial-intelligence (AI) to understand context, derive intent, and identify and learn user behaviors and patterns to automate routine tasks proactively on behalf of the user. By integrating the technology with Oracle Retail Offer Optimization Cloud Service, analysts can easily streamline location-specific sales forecasting, promotional deployment and performance, approval automation and target prioritization. To see these technologies in action watch the video.  “Most retailers think about conversational AI in the context of the store or e-commerce, however, retailers can now apply conversational AI to their core operations, via voice or text, to accelerate productivity and optimize processes,” said Mike Webster, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Oracle Retail. “Smart digital interactions are an integral part of our everyday life as we query Alexa, Google Home and Siri for recommendations. This latest integration between Oracle Digital Assistant and Oracle Retail Offer Optimization Cloud Service brings the power and simplicity of voice to retail operations, speeding time to insight and action.” Built on Oracle Cloud Infrastructure, Oracle Digital Assistant goes well beyond standard chatbots available today that provide simple, single skilled, linear responses. By applying AI for natural language processing (NLP), natural language understanding (NLU) and machine learning (ML), Oracle is in a uniquely positioned to leverage its breadth and depth in enterprise applications to offer a digital assistant that can truly span the enterprise. "Going forward digital assistants will transform how merchants, planners, and marketers collaborate, engage their company's information assets, and how they work," said Greg Girard, program director of intelligent product merchandising and marketing, IDC Retail Insights. "As digital assistants become more conversationally and analytically skillful and more aware of their users' intent and context we'll see more incisive decisions, made quicker, to deliver better business outcomes. Retailers should bring digital assistants into their digital transformation planning assumptions now."  In April, Oracle launched the next generation of promotion, markdown and offer optimization capabilities as a cloud service with the launch of Oracle Retail Offer Optimization Cloud Service. With these new updates retailers can analyze promotion and pricing decisions for the entire product lifecycle while providing consumers with targeted and contextual offers.  Next Steps Download Guidebook: How One Retailer Improved Profitability of Targeted Offers With Machine Learning    

Integration of Core Retail Technology with Conversational AI Powers Targeted and Contextual Offers that Engage Customers and Drive Results. Enabling retailers to build personalized customer experiences...

Merchandising

Don't Get Tricked: Retailers Share Tips on Transforming Merchandising Operations

Worldwide we are seeing retailers transforming their fundamental (but not mission-critical) operations, starting with analytics, planning, commerce and others. Those that have made the shift to cloud are seeing the benefits, including faster go-lives, enthusiastic user adoption, and ‘always on’ access to upgrades. Yet until now retailers have been largely reticent to move their core merchandising operations to the cloud. Long the embodiment of a brand’s bedrock in terms of inventory operations, "secret sauce," data masters and strategy, merchandising operations typically remain moored in the category of big, scary, don't touch it in case you break it, in-house domain of on-premises systems. So what’s holding them back from making a move to the cloud? In conversations, retailers often point to three common concerns regarding cloud services. These concerns are voiced by their internal leadership and business teams when they discuss moving merchandising operations off aging legacy systems and onto a cloud services platform. Top 3 Concerns About Moving to the Cloud: Upfront costs of transitioning merchandising operations Perceived security risk around proprietary data Difficulty getting executive buy-in for the upgrade Changing the Conversation Around Cost Making transformational changes to a merchandising operation is a major undertaking, one that has traditionally represented years of planning and significant capital expense, staff time, consulting and solution costs. When retailers opt for a cloud merchandising solution, they often do so when they are on the brink of making this type of major replacement to an existing on-premises system. This is the juncture at which transformational costs are already on the table, and implementing a cloud solution can result in lower costs as well as being more predictable. Add in the prospect of avoiding being right back in the upgrade spot years down the road, and the cloud solution is even more compelling. Worth considering are the immediate and near-term needs of the business and what an existing system may be costing in terms of missed market opportunity, hiring/keeping those specialized resources who know the legacy system, and missed security updates to name a few. In our new Oracle Retail Guide, “Top 6 Reasons Retailers are Transforming Merchandising Operations,” we look at what retailers are saying about their merchandising projects. Retailers say that merchandising “impacts everything that we do.” Download the guide today and you won't get tricked this Halloween. Retailers say updating merchandising operations to a current solution allows for: Business growth Provides competitive advantage in customer journeys and sales Provides greater flexibility Brings industry best practices that help to drive better performance Securing Merchandising Data For many retailers, panic sets in and alarms bells sound at the thought of placing merchandising data anywhere other than a location they control – with a redundant system at another location. People often ask “Is my data secure in the cloud?” The short answer is yes. Moving to a cloud service avails the retailer of global, specialized security teams that are always on and singularly focused. Oracle provides the industry’s best cloud security services with multiple layers of security and multiple levels of defense throughout the technology stack. The current environment has changed the conversation around security, requiring a different approach – one that often is better addressed with cloud services than internal systems. Letting Executives Lead the Transition Securing support from executive leadership often depends on their area of responsibility. For chief merchandising officers, the ability to use cloud services to automate and streamline processes – and boost productivity – is a driving force. But chief financial officers may balk at the cost of moving to a new IT platform. However, the opportunity to remove capital expenditures associated with IT systems purchases is attractive. By moving to a cloud solution, the organization shifts the cost to an operational expense while making the line item predictable, avoiding unexpected or ill-timed hardware upgrades and working through the expense of large software upgrades. By reducing the cost of the data center, and moving talent to retail-focused initiatives, the CIO is able to shift emphasis to those initiatives that have business value, such as having IT focus on creating customer facing solutions. The cloud solution remains current, delivering steady upgrades, and eliminates the disruption and cost associated with significant “down the road” upgrades. Don’t be spooked by the move to the cloud. It may be less risky than trying to make your own Halloween costume with a glue gun and glitter.  Watch The Power of Exception Based Retailing Video  

Worldwide we are seeing retailers transforming their fundamental (but not mission-critical) operations, starting with analytics, planning, commerce and others. Those that have made the shift to cloud...

Supply Chain

October Brand Matters – How Retailers Can Easily Meet Ethical Standards

Supply chain compliance and lifecycle management is now key to ensuring retailers can fulfil upon their brand promises. Offering consumers assurance in quality, transparency, availability and sustainability whilst exploring support for Fairtrade, ethical standards, value and environmentally friendly initiatives is complex and difficult to control. Enter Blockchain with a range of promises based upon the simple concept of all transactions being securely deposited into a central data source for all to see. This is great if like the financial industry 99% of your transactions are digitally captured, but in the consumer goods market with very complex supply chains across many of the world’s poorest countries, this is many years from reality and in truth, what value does the contributor get? The challenge and answer lies in the data capture and the value exchanged in providing this. To encourage cotton farmers, rice growers and every player onwards to contribute they need to see the value in doing so. Retailers need to be enabled to collaborate with their entire supply chain in sourcing, development, selection, assessment, compliance, sustainability and transparency providing true value in efficiency, productivity and assurance to all involved. In this month’s Brand Matters blog we explore how the Oracle Retail Brand Compliance suite and the Supply Chain Network enables benefits in: Managing the lifecycle of your supply chain Providing the ability for developing a sustainable, reliable and ethical fulfilment Presenting the opportunity to promote, market and differentiate your brand Ensuring you are ‘Blockchain ready’ for the future Expert Insight - Brand Compliance: Know Your Supply Chain Julie Farrell | Senior Product Manager Retailers and brand owners face an ever-growing challenge to improve supply chain awareness, to ensure that products are sourced from reliable and ethical suppliers, especially as consumers across the globe become more conscious, with social responsibility in mind. Legislative requirements across various markets and categories have increased the focus on environmental compliance and ethical sourcing across the globe. Legislations such as Europe’s REACH (Registration, Evaluation, Authorization, and Restriction of Chemicals), and USA’s FSMA (Food Safety modernization Act), require companies to improve communication with suppliers on all aspects of policy, process and assessment and corrective action. Most recently, so-called ‘Conflict Minerals’ regulations are emerging in various geographies, to stop this trade being used to help fund conflicts and human rights abuse. Companies covered under these regulations are required to maintain approved supplier lists, capture details on the origin of materials, and gather information on supplier practices such as forced labour, trafficking and slavery. Oracle Retail Brand Compliance provides a suite of tools to handle all aspects of supplier assessment, management and review, with the ability to maintain a collaborative database of current, potential and past suppliers, including details of the head office and all applicable manufacturing and packing locations. Responsibility for entering much of the information lies with the supplier themselves, with system validation and notifications ensuring that they have completed all key set-up tasks and provided the required mandatory details. The site status enables the brand owner to identify the current approval and due diligence status of each location. Supplier and Site address details are captured, as well as key supplier and location information such as vendor codes. In addition, Brand Compliance promotes the maintenance of role-specific Supplier and Site contacts, which can be defined by the portal owner and can be mandated through routine prompts, to ensure these details are kept current. Each Site record captures the Product Categories which are manufactured at the location, enabling the brand owner to identify the presence of high-risk lines for the supplier. Site Risk Level identifies the overall risk assessment of the site location, which may be assigned based on various factors such as the product categories supplied and the overall competency and compliance of the Site.  Suppliers can list any location-specific References and Certifications that have been granted by approved third-party bodies. These details will support and complement the portal owner’s own verification programs, with scheduled reports alerting the portal owner to ‘Expired’ certificates. The assessment of new and existing suppliers is supported by Brand Compliance Scorecard functionality, with configurable questionnaires to handle both pre-verification of suppliers and ongoing supplier and facility assessment. Multiple types of scorecards can be configured to support multiple markets and categories, different aspects of the portal owner’s verification program and target suppliers with different risks. Each question response carries a weighting, so that a final Scorecard Score is automatically generated; the score can be used for assessment of the supplier against a specific brief or against their peers. Scorecards may either be issued to suppliers to complete or be completed by the portal owner on the supplier’s behalf. In either case, the retailer or brand owner will close out the final Scorecard. Scorecards can be automatically scheduled, based on a default frequency, with system notifications to alert users when the next Scorecard is due or overdue. Supplier and site inspections are captured using the Brand Compliance Audits and Visits functionality, providing ongoing visibility and maintenance of ethical and safety compliance for each location, with the current Audit status and Score contributing to the overall assessment of supplier compliance. Multiple types of audits or visits can be held against a single location, based on configurable templates, which can be created by the portal owner. The Audit record can be used for simple document collection, such as third-party accreditation, facility certification or vendor agreements. Alternatively, for extensive quality, safety and ethical audits, full checklists can be configured, which support automatic creation of non-conformances records. Details of any non-conformances can be captured within the audit, for monitoring and reporting. Corrective actions can be recorded, for collaborative review and sign-off with the supplier, and outstanding actions appear in users’ Task Lists and notifications. Both the portal owner and supplier have visibility of when inspections are due to expire, with future audits automatically scheduled and based on a risk-based frequency according to the Site Risk Level. Finally, the Brand Compliance Library facility provides a central repository for all documents that the portal owner needs to make available to suppliers, eliminating the need for a separate location to store these and ensuring that the most up-to-date versions are available to access. Importantly, for legislations such as FSMA, documents can be targeted to particular suppliers so that readership and acceptance of key documents is be mandated, so capturing suppliers’ adherence to policies, vendor agreements and other required standards. Readership and acceptance is fully tracked, so that exceptions can be followed up. Product News - Understanding Your Entire Supply Chain Network Jonathan Pickles | Director, Retail Strategy & Solutions Management Understanding your entire supply chain is becoming increasing important for retailers, from a supplier and product compliance perspective, to drive private label growth, underpin brand values and create brand loyalty, and ultimately drive revenue. The planned Brand Compliance Network platform brings together social, mobile, and cloud technologies to provide an extension to Brand Compliance. Enabling retailers to discover, connect, share data and collaborate with their entire supply chain network from suppliers and factories to industry bodies and ultimately consumers. The platform empowers retailers to achieve greater: Supply Chain Agility - Understanding the entire supply chain to be able to react quickly to market demands and drive growth and margin. Understanding supply chain resilience and exposure. Enabling responses to recalls quickly and efficiently. Supply Chain Compliance - Understanding the entire supply chain compliance and areas of product risk. Enabling verification of supplier and facility certifications to increase product safety and reduce liability. Supply Chain Transparency - Visualising the entire supply chain from ‘farm to fork’ and from ‘factory to consumer’. Better understanding a product’s point of origin and who supplies their suppliers, allows the surfacing of relevant data to consumers. Are You Blockchain Ready? Blockchain is one of the most hyped technologies of the last couple of years, and has been touted as the solution to everything including Brexit. Although hyped, Blockchain has the potential to change industries, and that includes retail. For Brand Compliance and the planned Brand Compliance network we see a great opportunity for Blockchain to enable industry-wide efficient and transparent supplier and product compliance. However, Blockchain is just one part of the equation. It’s a technology platform; an enabler. It is entirely reliant on the solutions and business processes which provide data to it (and ultimately the solutions which consumes it). That’s why Brand Compliance and the planned Brand Compliance Network are ‘Blockchain ready’ – designed to integrate with Blockchain solutions to capture and consume the right data at the right time through industry proven and adopted business processes.   Industry News – 86 Food Recalls in July - September of 2018 On a positive note, during July through September, there was a 4% decrease in the total number of food recalls, and 17% decrease in those items recalled for contamination when compared to the previous months. During this time, 86 food recalls were reported throughout the U.S., Canada and the U.K., with the majority coming again from the U.S. During this time, 56% of the total number of recalls were due to mislabelling, with 15 more cases reported than in the last 2-month period. Headline News Aldi suppliers are being required to enhance their ethical sourcing practices as the discount retailer shifts its focus to corporate social responsibility. Confectionery giant, Mars, plans to put smallholder farmers at the center of its ambitious strategy, which is broadly welcomed by peers and suppliers. We label fridges to show their environmental impact and – why not food? Mandatory environmental labels would change how we produce & consume The world’s most ethical retailer chains are revealed and includes many Oracle Retail customers   Read Blog: Protecting Brands From Counterfeit Through Transparency

Supply chain compliance and lifecycle management is now key to ensuring retailers can fulfil upon their brand promises. Offering consumers assurance in quality, transparency, availability...

Community

Highlights from ORUG Meetings in Minneapolis

Last month, around 30 global retail users of Oracle Retail solutions gathered in Minneapolis, Minnesota for three days to discuss top industry challenges and learn process improvements from one another. The 5th annual Oracle Retail User Group sessions, known as ORUG, was led by retailers such as American Eagle Outfitters, DTPM and Kroger. Attendees ranged from retailers in fast fashion, grocery, DIY, hardlines and more, all eager to tackle burning retail business pains around improving inventory, achieving plans and improving merchandising processes. Discussion Areas in Retail Planning Bill Boezinger, Merchandise Planning Systems Manager at DTPM, led the planning group’s conversations. Here were some topics that were discussed: Why should retailers be moving to the cloud? Retailers such as Orvis stated that they knew the future was moving to the cloud. “We didn’t want to be left behind, so we wanted to become an early adopter for planning,” said Gregg Alexander, Director of Merchandise Planning for Orvis What is better - upgrading on-premises solutions or moving to the cloud? One benefit to moving to the cloud is retailers are assigned a customer success manager (CSM) that works closely with them to plan continuous enhancements. Retailers can accept the solution changes every month or as they see fit, so changes are only happening when the retailer is ready, with the help of the CSM. How are retailers using retail science applications? Some retailers are using customer segmentation to cluster on customer attributes or shopping frequency. A round-table discussion on Merchandising Financial Planning Cloud implementations Retailers shared product hierarchies, planning organization structures and roles and tips on how they run their retail operations. For example, DTPM was able to move to the cloud in 15 weeks and had a great experience. Discussion Areas in Retail Supply Chain Lindsay Plagge, the Demand Planning Lead at Kroger, led the supply chain group’s conversations. With over 64 customer journeys to support, it’s no wonder inventory accuracy remains a challenge for retailers. Other topics the group discussed included: Retail challenges such as: Where is demand coming from? Structuring supply chains to meet customer needs Bringing together separate channels into one view Bridging the gap within distribution center teams - when replenishment, planning and warehouse receiving solutions don’t talk to each other. Ways to optimize solutions, calculate out of stocks and forecasting best practices Retailer views on inventory accuracy (industry average is 65%), the majority of attendees shared they were around 80% inventory accuracy.  Retailers shared science innovations related to supply chain One retailer will be piloting driverless car grocery deliveries Another retailer uses an in-house science team that blends forecasts from a home-grown solution with Oracle Retail Demand Forecasting to create the best forecasting outcome. This innovative approach resulted in a 1-2% improvement in errors. Innovations for process automation and efficiency including addressing the challenges of reducing SKU costs Use of RFID tags for inventory accuracy, tracking and loss prevention One retailer uses RFID tags on every item, to connect where the product is and feeds that back to planning Another retailer uses RFID tags on display shoes, which saved associates time each morning in locating misplaced display shoes A fashion retailer uses RFID zones (front of the store, back of the store, and the fitting room area) to better understand fitting room abandonment and purchases Key things retailers are asking for: Simplified and streamlined omnichannel fulfillment on the back of a centralized real-time view of discrete inventory The efficiency of store personnel to deliver value to our customers and right size inventory across locations Ways to future-proof their business Discussion Areas in Retail Merchandising Randy Bolette, VP of Global Logistics and Supply Chain Technology at American Eagle Outfitters led the merchandising group’s conversations. Retailer discussions were focused on: Wholesale, consignment and deals Retailers shared how they are using consignment and challenges around using more than one SKU for an item based on when it’s returned and may be considered a consignment piece (for example if a vendor hasn’t been paid yet) Another retailer shared that they may have two identical items in stock and one may be a consignment item, while the other is not, and it is tracked by in-store associates on paper. Insights on cloud journeys throughout the retail operation Retailers shared experiences around core areas they have already moved to the cloud. Areas ranged from data warehousing, product lifecycle management, retail demand forecasting, item and assortment planning, merchandising, replenishment and more. Best methods and new functionality and examples of how cloud solutions are enabling retailers to decrease the window of a batch run. Member Benefits of ORUG I sat down with the SIG leader for the supply chain group, Lindsay Plagge, the Demand Planning Lead at Kroger, to see what value she has gained from actively being involved in the user group over the past years. “I started attending the Oracle Retail User Group meetings several years ago during a new project implementation,” said Plagge. “There is a wealth of experience and insight to be gained through ORUG, and I certainly have found value from every event I’ve been a part of.” Plagge went on to say that, “it is not as much about sharing the ‘secret sauce’ that a company uses, but rather discussing business problems that are universal and sharing ways we have overcome those with the support of our systems and processes.” Plagge has found that the connections she’s made with retailers, as well as the Oracle support team, have been integral in her personal development over the years. She says, “even more importantly, I can help shape the future path for our company and continue to drive efficiency and positive change for my team.” Top Reasons to Join ORUG Build connections with other retailers you can call on for new insights and process improvements. Meet Oracle solution management and get your pressing solution questions answered. Be the first to see the product roadmap and know what is launching next. Offer suggestions on product enhancements and improvements. Your Next Action: Watch Video on the Benefits of ORUG Access ORUG Presentations Join the Oracle Retail Users Group      

Last month, around 30 global retail users of Oracle Retail solutions gathered in Minneapolis, Minnesota for three days to discuss top industry challenges and learn process improvements from one...

Supply Chain

Inventory Accuracy – Driving Click & Collect, Customer Satisfaction and Margin Savings

Here’s a true story for you, from the customer of a highly regarded department store retailer with an excellent reputation for customer service, which proves that accurate information, is only valuable if the people who need it (store associates) have access to it. While preparing for a family vacation, the customer ordered a need-it-fast item online and arranged to pick it up in-store. A lot of people do Buy Online, Pick Up In Store (BOPUS) or click-and-collect and it’s one of today’s most popular customer journeys. An associate texted her to let her know the item was ready, whereupon she drove 20 minutes, parked right outside the store entrance — by the service desk — and went inside to pick up her purchase. It wasn’t there, and neither was the associate who had sent the text. The service desk sent her to the second floor, where she said the hunt continued. “I go to the second floor. Not there. I run an errand in the mall and come back to the second floor. Now they think it was sent to the first floor. So I go to the first floor. It’s not there, either. And I’m doing all this in the first place because I’m in a hurry: I need to get to the airport. I ended up coming back a week later and going through the whole thing again, because they could not figure out where my item was.” Was the elusive item actually there in the store somewhere? Probably. Was that enough to take care of the customer’s needs? Not even close. Inventory Accuracy and Complex Channels When retailers deliver a unique customer experience that is convenient and compelling across all channels, they often do so in spite of – rather than on the strength of – disparate data about inventory. The industry as a whole averages only about 65 percent accuracy when it comes to inventory data, according to the Auburn University RFID Lab. It’s higher than that for total investment, of course—they know how much money they’re spending—but they are only certain  where a given item is less than two-thirds of the time. The murky view of inventory happens because of the sheer number of items, the complexity of the supply chain, and reliance on traditionally manual inventory control methods such as quarterly cycle counting. On the back of these inefficient processes, replenishment and distribution becomes a problem, as stores order too much or in the case of too little, resulting in out-of-stocks, increased markdowns, customer disappointments, and missed sales opportunities. So when retailers talk strategic planning, personalized promotions, and enabling customers to do things like BOPUS, the lack of information about inventory is often what holds them back from satisfying customers. For a retailer to effectively leverage its investment in merchandise and deliver on promotions and other promises to customers, inventory accuracy needs to be at a much higher percentage - somewhere in the mid-90s. 3 Reasons Retailers Look to Improve Inventory Visibility into accurate, discrete inventory information to power your omnichannel operations An efficient spend of dollars, when you can trust that your inventory is accurate Empowers all customer journeys – the end-to-end process from customer purchasing to intelligent fulfillment, and last mile fulfillment executed by store associates There must be accurate inventory information all the way through the supply chain and down to the individual store and department level. The retailers that are able to satisfy customers with BOPUS options have the right inventory solutions in place to deliver on customer orders. Retailers have seen inventory improvements with solutions like Oracle’s Retail Store Inventory Operations Cloud Services, which when tightly integrated with core merchandising, point-of-service, order management, commerce, and call center applications, provides accurate and timely visibility into discrete store inventory positions. Deployable on Android, iOS, or Windows 10, it solves a major pain point by enabling the retailer to place inventory visibility and operations into the palm of each associate’s and manager’s hand to connect customers to inventory and last mile fulfillment brilliance. Improving Open-to-Buy In addition to facilitating omnichannel execution, this solution — along with data from third-party suppliers — can also be integrated with Oracle’s Retail Merchandising System to give merchants a clear, constantly updated understanding of their open-to-buy position, along with current visibility into product and item performance. Outbound orders allow the store associate to create, change, and approve orders to a supplier, warehouse, or other store to ensure efficient use of inventory that meets global objectives. It provides, for everybody who needs it — including our hapless customer who ran from floor to floor and didn’t leave with her BOPUS order — one source of the truth. Read More About Breaking Down Inventory Barriers Here

Here’s a true story for you, from the customer of a highly regarded department store retailer with an excellent reputation for customer service, which proves that accurate information, is...

Best Practices & Trends

Oracle Retail Industry Forum 2018 Convenes European Retail Leaders to Share Insights and Strategies for Continued Growth and Innovation

Over 110 European Retailers from 26 Countries Expected to Attend Conference in Budapest Next week Oracle Retail will convene a European community of retail leadership at the Oracle Retail Industry Forum (ORIF) in Budapest Hungary with a program tailored for retailers by retailers and an opportunity for strategic networking to continue discussions on strategies and successes. “Oracle Retail Industry Forum is about bringing together our retail community to foster continued growth and innovation. We are pleased to showcase local customer success stories. Within the forum, we highlight real software, delivering real value,” said Chris James, vice president of Europe, Oracle Retail. At Oracle Retail Industry Forum, retail executives gather to share deep domain expertise and best practices on the mission-critical applications that are core to their businesses and their success. Program content is focused on customers providing perspectives on identifying and overcoming complex industry challenges. Retail speakers include: Delphine Brabant, Head of Buying/Product IT Department, ÏDKIDS Community Bhavesh Chavda, Enterprise Architect, John Lewis Andrew Parr, IT Director, Wyevale Mathilde Paul, Chef de Projet Chez, Auchan Piotr Pawlowski, Strategic IT Director, CCC, S.A Retail continues to be mercurial as consumers react and adapt to technological developments, in order to help customers navigate shifting attitudes and customer behaviors Oracle will reveal the findings of a global consumer research report. “For us, the Oracle Retail Industry Forum is a critically important event because the focus on the European community. We view Oracle as an important partner and our collaboration with Oracle is a key part of our strategy,” said Platinum Sponsor Gabor Tozser, Chief Executive Officer, Quickborn. “Oracle’s solutions have the capabilities that we believe are supporting critical retail capabilities without which retailers will not succeed today.” Oracle will be joined by 11 strategic solution integrators as sponsors for ORIF in Budapest. These partners contribute to and help deliver success within our community. Our partner community includes platinum sponsor Quickborn; gold sponsors Accenture, Logic, Retail Consult and Veltio; and Adyen, Cognira, First Friday, HRS, OLR and SkillNet as silver sponsors.  For more information about how Oracle is committed to empowering organizations through best-in-class, industry-specific business solutions, visit oracle.com/retail. To learn more about Oracle Retail Industry Forum 2018, go to www.oracle.com/goto/orif18. Registration is limited to retailers and our sponsor community. About Oracle The Oracle Cloud offers complete SaaS application suites for ERP, HCM and CX, plus best-in-class database Platform as a Service (PaaS) and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) from data centers throughout the Americas, Europe and Asia. For more information about Oracle (NYSE:ORCL), please visit us at www.oracle.com. About Oracle Retail: Oracle provides retailers with a complete, open, and integrated suite of best-of-breed business applications, cloud services, and hardware that are engineered to work together and empower commerce. Leading fashion, grocery, and specialty retailers use Oracle solutions to anticipate market changes, simplify operations and inspire authentic brand interactions. For more information, visit our website at www.oracle.com/retail. Trademarks Oracle and Java are registered trademarks of Oracle and/or its affiliates. Other names may be trademarks of their respective owners.    

Over 110 European Retailers from 26 Countries Expected to Attend Conference in Budapest Next week Oracle Retail will convene a European community of retail leadership at the Oracle Retail Industry...

Cloud

Retail Consult Becomes Oracle PartnerNetwork Platinum Level Partner

Oracle Recognizes Retail Consult for Their Track Record of Success to Deliver Global Retail Transformation Retail Consult, a highly specialized group focused on technology solutions for retail, has achieved Platinum partner status in Oracle Partner Network (OPN).  By attaining Platinum level membership, Oracle has recognized Retail Consult for its in-depth expertise and excellence in delivering the Oracle Retail Solution Portfolio. Retailers are under pressure to transform their business with solutions that will help them stay ahead of the competition. Retail Consult has demonstrated an extremely high success rate helping clients to successfully overcome the inherent risks with digital transformation projects.  Retail Consult provides solutions strategy, implementation, deployment, training and support services. These services combined with the depth and breadth of the Oracle Retail solutions has been a recipe for client success around the world. Retail Consult has established its depth and breadth of the expertise across the Oracle Retail portfolio including Oracle Retail Merchandise Operations Management, Oracle Retail Planning and Optimization, Oracle Retail Supply Chain Management, Oracle Retail Omnichannel, Oracle Commerce and Oracle Retail Insights. Many of Retail Consult’s resources are trained and certified to implement Oracle’s state-of-the art solutions that uniquely addressing the challenges of retailers today. “The breadth and depth of the Oracle Retail solution, combined with our retail business and technology expertise delivers an unbeatable combination for client success in their retail transformation projects,” Silvia Gomes, Partner, Retail Consult. “Retail Consult is a valuable partner to Oracle Retail. They have a proven track record of success delivery to our customer base,” Jeff Warren, Vice President of Solution Management, Oracle Retail. “Retail Consult consistently contributes to the growth and education of our community.” Examples of Exceptional Delivery of the Oracle Retail solutions by Retail Consult include:   Corporación GPF Optimized Inventory Performance Across Health, Wellness and Convenience Store Business with Oracle Retail Leader Grupo Martí Deployed Suite of Oracle Retail Technology, Improving Customer Experience Global Accessories Retailer Parfois Established a Foundation for Accelerated Growth with Oracle Retail With its Platinum status, Retail Consult, receives the high level of engagement, commitment and resources available to OPN partners. Platinum members receive dedicated virtual account management support to build joint development plans and help broaden Specialization areas and revenue opportunities.  Additional benefits include priority placement in the OPN Solutions Catalog, one free application integration validated by Oracle, joint marketing and sales opportunities, discounted training and more. For more information about the benefits of becoming an OPN Platinum level partner, please visit: http://www.oracle.com/us/partnerships/index.htm About Retail Consult Retail Consult is a group of professionals who specialize in technology solutions for retail, offering clients global perspective and experience with operations in Europe, North, South and Central America. Retail Consult provides solutions strategy, implementation, deployment, training and support services. They serve clients across a range of retail segments including fashion, grocery, pharmacy, do it yourself, telecommunications, and electronics. In size, their clients range from regional, privately held companies to global retailers deploying multiple brands.  Retail Consult is unique because they have an extremely high success rate for implementing Oracle Retail Solutions.  Their values and mission drive them to be a strategic partner to all clients.  http://www.retail-consult.com About Oracle Retail  Oracle provides retailers with a complete, open, and integrated suite of best-of-breed business applications, cloud services, and hardware that are engineered to work together and empower commerce. Leading fashion, grocery, and specialty retailers use Oracle solutions to anticipate market changes, simplify operations and inspire authentic brand interactions. For more information, visit our website at www.oracle.com/retail. About Oracle PartnerNetwork Oracle PartnerNetwork (OPN) is Oracle's partner program that provides partners with a differentiated advantage to develop, sell and implement Oracle solutions. OPN offers resources to train and support specialized knowledge of Oracle’s products and solutions and has evolved to recognize Oracle’s growing product portfolio, partner base and business opportunity. Key to the latest enhancements to OPN is the ability for partners to be recognized and rewarded for their investment in Oracle Cloud. Partners engaging with Oracle will be able to differentiate their Oracle Cloud expertise and success with customers through the OPN Cloud program – an innovative program that complements existing OPN program levels with tiers of recognition and progressive benefits for partners working with Oracle Cloud. To find out more visit: http://www.oracle.com/partners.   Trademarks Oracle and Java are registered trademarks of Oracle and/or its affiliates. Other names may be trademarks of their respective owners.

Oracle Recognizes Retail Consult for Their Track Record of Success to Deliver Global Retail Transformation Retail Consult, a highly specialized group focused on technology solutions for retail, has...

Cloud

How Much Can Your Retail Business Benefit From Cloud Planning?

In the face of deeper integration of technology in all aspects of the modern life, the role of physical stores within the retail industry has significantly changed. To capitalize upon the opportunities arising from digital disruption rather than being marginalized by them, many retailers are looking to the latest cloud platforms and SaaS applications for planning to connect their business and get closer to their customers. So let’s explore the changing role of the physical store and the benefits your retail operation could realize by moving to the cloud. Historically, the bricks and mortar store has been a literal ‘one-stop-shop’ for consumers looking to purchase certain brands and products, but now retailers are having to reassess the position of in-person experiences and commerce in the wider context of retail. Online shopping, connected experiences, omnichannel engagement and a consumer base with easier access to a wider choice of goods and pricing have placed a new importance on the in-store experience. Weighing up the benefits of in-store vs. online is not an either/or choice for retailers. The key lies in creating digital experiences that are connected to the in-store presence and converting declining footfalls into an increase in the acquisition of e-commerce customers. Today we are seeing retailers who have traditionally only had an online presence now opening physical stores, such is the need to have a physical presence to cater for the demands of the modern consumer. Likewise, other retailers are closing a number of physical stores while making significant gains in e-commerce and maintaining revenue projections and targets. There is a need to readdress the success criteria for physical stores, and tie that into the results seen online. Many brands that have closed stores have also seen their e-commerce performance suffer, so it is not simply a case of picking one over the other and scrutinizing their traffic and sales figures in isolation. Connecting Your Customers to Your Brand Having the digital infrastructure to connect with an increasingly discerning consumer base and build an accurate picture of your customers’ habits and behaviors will be crucial to creating experiences that are timely, appropriate, connected and deliver the desired outcome for retailer and consumer alike. Informing that system needs to be data from stores, e-commerce platforms, industry trends, and customer engagement across all channels. The more you can predict behavior—both in-store and online—the better you can manage stock levels and distribution and maximize the return on your physical footprint by tailoring the in-store experiences to what customers seek to gain from their visits. Developing a digital arm of your retail business to mitigate declining footfall is not the only benefit of technological transformation. There are a number of efficiency savings that come from moving operations to a SaaS model, as well as a greater opportunity for continual innovation through the integration of new and emerging technologies on a cloud platform. Quickly Calculate Your Potential Savings with Cloud Planning To help retailers understand how much they can save on their operating costs and the amount by which they can increase profits by moving to a SaaS model, Oracle Retail has developed a Cloud Planning Solutions benefits calculator. By entering a few simple details about your business, such as revenue figures, you can instantly see how much your business could save by moving your retail planning solution to the cloud. The benefits calculator will show you savings results in these areas: Product Availability Gross Margin Return Rates Inventory User Efficiency When you use the calculator, you will be provided a download of your own custom report based on the business information supplied and also gain access to further resources including videos, blogs, guidebooks, infographics and more on retail cloud planning. Calculate Your Savings From Moving to a Cloud Planning Solution Now

In the face of deeper integration of technology in all aspects of the modern life, the role of physical stores within the retail industry has significantly changed. To capitalize upon...

Supply Chain

June Brand Matters - Importance of Capturing, Verifying and Sharing Product Data

Welcome to the June edition of Brand Matters where the Oracle Retail Brand Compliance team takes a look at the importance of capturing, verifying, analysing and sharing product data. 65% of consumers today consider transparency important in their choice of brands and products. With Retailers also investing billions in ecommerce, the expectation that this data is readily available and accurate is vital to building and protecting brand trust. However, simply capturing data from the supply chain and making it accessible is not a sustainable solution. IT solutions need to offer value at each layer to encourage adoption, standardisation and the continued maintenance of the data. Solutions that help the efficiency of building this data and testing the accuracy at each step to provide insights to all parties involved are proving to provide true operational benefits whilst fulfilling on brand promises. Expert Insight - Best Practices for Managing Supplier Third Party Certifications Julie Farrell | Senior Product Manager With the ever-growing challenge to deliver legally compliant products, sourced from reliable and accredited suppliers, while reducing audit duplication and costs, the requirement for suppliers to comply with recognized global standards is now often a fundamental requirement of leading retailers. This may include third party accreditations such as BRC or GFSI global standards; quality, safety and ethical audits; and facility certifications such as Kosher, organic and allergen-free status. Oracle Retail Brand Compliance Cloud Service offers tools to handle all aspects of supplier assessment, review and approval. For detailed capture of on-site inspections, the Brand Compliance ‘Audits and Visits’ functionality is ideal for scheduling multiple types of audits or visits against supplier site locations. Details of non-conformances can be captured for each audit or visit, allowing visibility of corrective actions and notification of completion by the supplier. Checklist capability is available, allowing auditors to provide comprehensive details of the entire audit, and drives the automatic creation of non-conformances where applicable. For third party accreditations and certificates, the Brand Compliance ‘Site References’ enables simple capture of all certificates and references that are held by the supplier site location, including confirmation of the certificate number, certifying body and expiry date. The certificate itself can be attached within the site record in Brand Compliance; alternatively, a URL link can take the retailer directly to the certificate held in the third party certifier’s system. Scheduled reports enable retailer technical managers to receive routine notification of certificates which are expired, or are due to expire, based on the expiry date held in the references table. In turn, the report output populates an alert to non-compliant suppliers, ensuring ongoing compliance. Product News - Maximising Data Value Jonathan Pickles | Director, Retail Strategy & Solutions Management With the growing number of product recalls and government regulations to adhere to, the data held within Brand Compliance has never been more critical or valuable. The ever-increasing consumer and regulatory data requirements and initiatives, such as Public Health England’s sugar reduction reforms, and the US FDA targets for sodium reduction among many others globally; require retailers and brand owners to be able to track and validate their progress towards these initiatives both internally and externally. The requirements for robust KPI reporting to track operational status of new product launches, range refreshments, and recalls are also equally critical to retailers and brand owners as they look to maximise investment and market agility. And these are just a few examples. To provide a robust and flexible solution for the future, Oracle Retail is investing in a next generation reporting platform for Brand Compliance. The new platform, based on the latest Oracle analytics technology, is developed with our customers and will offer a wide range of specific business use case driven report queries to enable retailers and brand owners to gain competitive advantage. Industry News - 90 Food Recalls in April - May of 2018 During April and May, there was a 6% increase in the total number of food recalls when compared to February and March. During this time, 90 food recalls were reported throughout the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom, with the majority coming from the U.S. During April and May, 58% of the total number of recalls were made up of contaminations, with 10 more cases reported than in the last 2-month period. Food and Legislation Headline News Lawsuits Filed As Deadly E-Coli O157:H7 HUS Outbreak Linked To Romaine Lettuce Grows To 172 Sickened Across 32 States The USDA and The FDA Have Issued A Report On Food Recall Trends From 2004 and 2013, Which Finds That Recalls Have Increased Significantly During This Period FDA Extends Nutrition Facts Label Compliance Dates Russia Plots Launch Of Traffic Light Nutrition Labels Private Label Headline News Brands Still Matter In The US – But Rules Of Game Have Changed Albertsons Ramps Up Own Brand Expansion The Next Wave Of Private Label Shoprite Launches Internationally Inspired Food Brand Biedronka Expands goBIO Product Range Aldi leads the Way at PLMA World of Private Label Excellence Awards Lidl Italia and Penny Market Expand Private Label Ranges Oracle Retail Resources & Events: Infographic: Protect Brand and Build Trust Through Transparency July SIG User Group Meeting ‘Introduction to Brand Compliance Integration – Using the APIs to drive efficiency and interoperability, and maximise data value within your organisation’ - Contact Jonathan Pickles for details The Oracle Retail Industry Forum – Budapest – 25-26th September October SIG User Group Meeting ‘Supplier Compliance Best Practice in Brand Compliance – Learn from your peers’ - Contact Jonathan Pickles for details

Welcome to the June edition of Brand Matters where the Oracle Retail Brand Compliance team takes a look at the importance of capturing, verifying, analysing and sharing product data. 65% of consumers...

Best Practices & Trends

5 New Threats of Omnichannel: What is Eating Your Profits?

Retailers are providing greater convenience, easier checkout, and more ways to shop and return items ordered online. But opportunities for theft grow with each new form of payment and channel of operation. Last week a group of industry professionals came together at the Oracle Retail Loss Prevention User Group meeting in Irving, Texas. They met to discuss the challenges the retail industry is facing in light of Omnichannel retailing and shared best practices on how to proactively protect the bottom line. I caught up with my colleagues who participated in last week’s session, loss prevention experts Bill Warrick and Rand Fernandes, to discuss the retail industry highlights and learnings from this community’s conversations. Below we share with you some key threats that are amplified by modern retailing.  Shrinkage: The Never-ending Problem A persistent threat to retail profitability—shrinkage—continues to take a toll. The most recent National Retail Federation security survey shows that in 2016 (the last year for which totals are available), shrink cost the overall U.S. retail sector $48.9 billion. Nearly half the respondents to the NRF survey reported a year-on-year increase in shrink—at a time when two-thirds of respondents’ loss prevention (LP) budgets are flat or declining. And nearly a quarter—23.1%—of respondents reported shrink levels of 2% or more of total sales. The sources of inventory shrinkage reported were shoplifting/external theft (36.5% of average total losses), employee theft (30.9%), administrative and paperwork error (21.3%), vendor fraud or error (5.4%), and loss from unknown sources (6.8%). Loss Prevention in the Omnichannel Landscape The combination of the move to Omnichannel retailing and a reduced availability of funds for LP creates some new opportunities for fraud and loss. Based on conversations with our retail industry leaders last week, as well as data gathered by some of the Oracle systems they have in place, here are five areas of operation to which we believe retailers, especially loss prevention professionals, need to be paying especially close attention. Threat #1: Returns (Buy online/return to store) A traditional return is pretty easy to control. The item came out of store inventory, the transaction was recorded by the POS system, and a receipt was issued; when the customer returns it, you reverse the process and have a record all the way. With buy online/return to store, this poses a concern if the POS does not validate the online transaction details when a customer returns the item to a physical location. For example, the store associate can say, oh, that’s my size, I’ll take it. The item may not even appear in that store’s inventory, which means—or can mean—that there’s no way to track it. According to the NRF security survey, the average instance of return fraud was $1,766.27 with a median of $171. In apparel, the average instance of return fraud—$968.81—was practically as high as shoplifting ($974.37). Threat #2: Sweethearting Sweethearting is what happens when an associate gives an extra discount to a friend (or just voids the transaction and gives the item away). Not all associates are standing behind a counter, physically handling goods. Some of them work in call centers. Some work as online customer service reps. Sweethearting may also be accomplished via a corrupt employee processing a shipment to their own residence or to that of an accomplice. The employee “stuffs” the shipment with high dollar items not included in the sale. Threat #3: Discount Stacking This is a variant of sweethearting. One by-product of Omnichannel marketing is the creation of multiple promotions around a given item. Employees are applying multiple discounts to the same transaction for a favorite customer. Employees who process Omnichannel orders are often experts in every possible discount and promotion available – some of which should have been discontinued, others that should not be combined but can be via manager override, others which may be discretionary, etc. This expertise combined with the anonymity of Omnichannel can result in employees manipulating promotional opportunities, resulting in large quantities of negative margin transactions. Threat #4: Gift Cards Online transactions used as a vehicle to mask physical location fraud, primarily via use of gift cards fraudulently issued at the store via fake refunds and/or price adjustments, can easily fly under the radar. Dishonest associates are known to attempt to mask their use of these fraudulently acquired gift cards by using them online, where their activity is anonymous to managers and coworkers who would normally be suspicious of these types of employee gift card purchases. Threat #5: Staff Undertraining As systems and procedures change on the road to Omnichannel, it is vital that the staff be trained on how to handle situations that used not to exist. While it’s true that dishonest associates are often the culprit in a shrinkage situation (see above), it’s also true that the honest ones are your first line of defense. If they don’t know what’s going on, they can’t help you. And if you don’t know what’s going on, you can’t help yourself. Perhaps the most troubling statistic in the NRF security survey is the increase in shrink due to administrative and paperwork errors, up 4.5 percentage points in a year. Measure Twice, Cut Once How do we recommend that you solve the threats? Oracle Retail offers solutions that help retailers quickly identify and investigate fraudulent activities across store and online transactions. With embedded science, retailers can detect new data anomalies and alert loss prevention analysts to potential risks and drive quick resolution by providing the transactional insight needed to investigate.       Omnichannel retailing is an exercise in inventory control and logistics—operating an entire retail enterprise as though it were one giant store. For that to work, there must be one source of the truth, and it needs to be timely. Inventory: how much of what do we have, right this minute? Logistics: on an item-by-item basis, where is it, and what will it cost me in time and money to get it where it needs to be?                                                                                      Clearly, this requires automation; there need to be systems that can keep track of the constituent parts of the giant store. The systems need to be capable of handling a great deal of complexity, they need to deliver useful information, and they need to talk to each other. To solve the returns problem described above, the loss prevention solution, the POS system, online ordering, and inventory need to share information. Again, useful information: what is this, how do I account for it, and where does it go from here? To Continue the Conversation At Oracle, we’re working very hard on this, particularly the talking-to-each-other part. Our overall goal is to make Omnichannel retailing as simple, as profitable—and as pilfer-proof—as it can be. If you’d like more information, or to discuss how what we do might fit in with your own loss prevention concerns, please email us: oneretailvoice_ww@oracle.com. You May Also be Interested in: Oracle Empowers Retailers to Detect Omnichannel Theft with Embedded Science The Evolution of Omnichannel: This is No Longer Your Father’s POS Project

Retailers are providing greater convenience, easier checkout, and more ways to shop and return items ordered online. But opportunities for theft grow with each new form of payment and channel of...

Cloud

Gartner 2018 Magic Quadrant for Digital Commerce

Digital commerce platform choice has grown in complexity due to increased vendor choice and breadth of offerings, pricing model complexity and emerging managed service offerings. In their latest report, the Gartner Magic Quadrant for Digital Commerce, Gartner evaluates 18 vendors of digital commerce platforms to assist application leaders supporting digital commerce. Gartner outlined some eye-opening assumptions regarding the future of digital commerce: By 2020, smart personalization engines used to recognize customer intent will enable digital businesses to increase their profits by up to 15%. By 2020, more than 50% of online sellers will either list their products on marketplaces or sell third party products on their core commerce sites. By 2020, 25% of leading online sellers will have enabled first-generation "commerce that comes to you" capabilities. By 2022, at least 5% of digital commerce orders will be predicted and initiated by AI. By 2022, 10% of the organizations running digital commerce will build that into a platform business to transform into digital businesses, and 60% of those will use an open ecosystem to scale the growth. Today's modern retailers are looking to rationalize and simplify their IT environments. By removing the burden of infrastructure, custom development and costly upgrades, retailers can focus exclusively on optimizing and innovating their customer experience. See for yourself how the right digital commerce technology and CX strategy can transform your retail enterprise through innovation and AI-driven technology to help increase your profits toward 15% by 2020. View the full report to learn more. This graphic was published by Gartner, Inc. as part of a larger research document and should be evaluated in the context of the entire document. The Gartner document is available upon request from Oracle. Gartner does not endorse any vendor, product or service depicted in its research publications, and does not advise technology users to select only those vendors with the highest ratings or other designation. Gartner research publications consist of the opinions of Gartner’s research organization and should not be construed as statements of fact. Gartner disclaims all warranties, expressed or implied, with respect to this research, including any warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose.

Digital commerce platform choice has grown in complexity due to increased vendor choice and breadth of offerings, pricing model complexity and emerging managed service offerings. In their...

Best Practices & Trends

Retailers Calculate Savings With Cloud Planning ROI Tool

Retailers are having to embrace digital to find new ways of understanding and reaching their customers to create experiences—both online and in-store—that meet ever-increasing expectations and foster brand loyalty. Consumers are seeing innovation today in malls and department stores in many ways. Some examples are life-size avatars of shoppers that allow them to visualize how garments will look on them; reserve online and try on in store; personalized shopping assistants helping you based on your online behavior; geo-fencing and mobile alerts when near stores that you've browsed online; AI and chatbots, and much more. These are just examples of what customers can see. If retailers and brands are to successfully bridge the gap between the digital and physical worlds of shopper behaviors, they need to be equipped to create the end-to-end view of their customers, connect their online and in-store environments with a digital thread, and ultimately develop greater loyalty. Crucial to delivering these experiences in a timely, cost effective and sustainable way is up-to-date planning and supply chain operations. And this needs to be informed by a holistic and detailed picture of the whole business. Connecting your planning with real-time insights detailing what customers want, when they want it and where they'd like to have it is possible, thanks to modern retail cloud planning solutions.   Benefits Cloud Planning Brings To Retailers While embracing digital may seem necessary to survival, it is not simply an exercise in self-preservation. There are significant cost savings to be made and opportunities unlocked for increased profits and customer experiences. Using this benefits ROI calculator tool can help you to visualize the monetary savings of moving your planning solutions to the cloud. By bringing a more detailed view of sales histories, weekly reporting and clearer forecasts, your planning accuracy will vastly improve. Accruing this granular level of detail and combining it with a greater understanding of customer habits enables bottom-up item planning to reconcile with top-down financial plans to prevent overstocks and reduce markdowns. Aligning weekly receipt flow planning and promotional activity with the strategic goals broken down across categories can yield an increased return on inventory investment. These all combine to support a much more proactive approach to retail management, resulting in fewer lost sales, excessive markdowns and costly exit strategies, while simplifying overall business processes through embedded science and optimization throughout the solutions. With a cloud continuous delivery model, retailers benefit from the latest application and platform enhancements, allowing the agility to adopt the latest innovations to support market and business changes. So whatever industry trends emerge, the configuration options tailored to retail businesses give the opportunity to shift strategies as needed. By moving to a SaaS model, the large initial capital investments can be moved to operational expense, freeing up budget to be invested in growth and innovation. How does this equate to your business? Quickly Calculate Your Business Savings Simply enter a few details into the retail planning benefits calculator to see how much your business could save by moving your retail planning solution to the cloud. The Oracle Retail Planning Cloud Solutions benefit calculator allows you to drill down to see possible: Improved Product Availability Impact of Granular Planning on Gross Margin Accounting for Return Rates Reduced Inventory Carrying Cost Impact of Increased User Efficiency In addition to the savings shown in the benefits calculator, you can download your own custom report and access further resources specific to the retail industry including videos, blogs, retailer successes, guidebooks, infographics and more. Calculate Your Savings Now

Retailers are having to embrace digital to find new ways of understanding and reaching their customers to create experiences—both online and in-store—that meet ever-increasing expectations and foster...

Best Practices & Trends

The Evolution of Omnichannel: This is No Longer Your Father’s POS Project

Patience for the dreaded multi-year point-of-service (POS) project is limited these days. Retailers are demanding quick return on even the most foundational technology project. In the most dynamic of consumer environments, brands need solutions with built-in best practices to gain agility and quick deployment. While a very important piece of the omnichannel puzzle, the POS project has evolved into an engagement that is meant to meld together the digital and in-store experience. Typically, a legacy POS is being replaced because of the closed nature of the prior generations’ systems. Today’s modern point-of-service solutions have an open architecture allowing critical data including inventory, pricing, promotion, customer and order information to flow freely through the enterprise. Offerings have become feature-rich in supporting the typical cash and credit and carry transactions as well as the store operational process. Forward thinking solutions must provide for out-of-the-box sophisticated customer shopping journeys that can be implemented in weeks, not years. The Clock is Ticking With all this technology available, retailers are still struggling to deliver seamless, connected shopping experiences. But the problem is bigger than the omnichannel programs themselves. Just prioritizing what needs to be delivered is a massive challenge, because there is simply not enough time to do everything your customers desire. Every retailer is at a different place in their omnichannel evolution, but regardless of whether a retailer is on the bleeding edge or a laggard, the pace of change has by far outweighed nearly every retailer’s ability to respond.  And where money used to be the number one challenge, time has now surpassed it to become the biggest barrier to success.   The Impetus for Change The impetus for POS change typically falls into the following categories: Increased Consumer Demands: Shoppers expect premium experiences but don’t want to pay for them. Nearly all shoppers in the US expect things like free shipping and store inventory online. According to research, 78% of those surveyed rank free shipping as important to their shopping experience (Source: Retail in 4 Dimensions). In addition, consumer experiences from other service industries, like banking and hospitality, are raising the bar in retail, creating additional pressures to deliver an exceptional customer experience. Lack of Flexibility with Disparate Systems: To keep up with the changing market, retailers are acquiring and bolting-on solutions atop or along-side of legacy POS systems to keep pace shopper demands, which accelerates omnichannel capabilities in the short term, but often leaves longer-term problems by reducing flexibility going forward. Retail leaders know the long-term solution is a full system re-platform. Rising Tech Costs due to Expensive Integrations: The result of cobbling together a variety of legacy systems is leading to broken experiences and expensive integrations. Because of these integrations, technology costs for digital commerce have doubled in the last 5 years. Growth is Digital: Even though retailers know bridging together store and digital experiences are critical, only 31% have technology in place to support the real-time inventory visibility need omnichannel shopping demands (Source: 2018 RIS Retail Technology Study). Consumers love features like buy online pick up in store, or viewing a store’s product inventory online before visiting. However, when inventory is not accurate and optimized, it leads to frustrating customer experiences and lost sales – and very often, it’s enough to lose a customer for good, in a time where customer acquisition costs are at an all-time high.   Omnichannel is a Journey not a Destination Retailers that build out their own omnichannel suites face the challenges of selecting all the components themselves, assuming the cost of the licenses and integration, and managing/funding the manpower needed for all the ongoing work that goes into making the solutions synch up and perform tasks seamlessly. And in this scenario, one or more products within the cobbled-together suite might roll out new functionality while other products may not, so the pieces no longer work well together. The result is a lengthy, labor-intensive, and costly integration. With Oracle’s pre-integrated omnichannel suite—which includes Order Management, Order Broker, Customer Engagement, and Xstore—we’ve addressed the issue of solution components not working together. We’ve built in the integration and made sure our products are synched up. We’ve eliminated the pain retailers are experiencing when building their own suites, taken care of the integration issues, and orchestrated the synchronization of all the pieces together in a package that delivers the ultimate omnichannel experience.  Retailers can focus on configuring the system to meet their business needs/rules, instead of the building of the entire back-end integration. They’re not putting it all together from the ground up. We offer retailers a faster, less painful, less expensive solution for achieving their omnichannel goals. To learn more about how you can exceed your customers shopping experiences, watch this 2-minute demonstration: Personalization of the Endless Aisle with Oracle Retail Omnichannel Suite

Patience for the dreaded multi-year point-of-service (POS) project is limited these days. Retailers are demanding quick return on even the most foundational technology project. In the most dynamic of...

Best Practices & Trends

3 Innovations in Merchandising Operations - Why You Must Innovate or Die Trying

It is striking to me just how much the retail industry is currently under pressure. I think about the news of Nine West filing for bankruptcy – a large contributor to my high school shoe collection – and I see the financial strain that retailers are under right now, more than ever before. Retailers are under high pressure to keep the customer experience consistent, fun and on brand, wherever they may be interacting. They are expected to react much faster, not just for delivery, but with bringing new items to market. I’d like to think this tension is giving retailers a real opportunity though to take time and innovate. In IBM’s Experience Revolution Study, it was clear that what retail executives think is driving customers versus what customers actually think is in many cases not aligned. Retailers tend to rank control and self-service higher than customers, whose top priority is speed, ease and convenience. There is also a significant gap between what retailers think and what consumers are thinking in Oracle Retail’s “Retail 2018: The Loyalty Divide” research study that was just released. The study found, for example, that 53% of retailers think consumers are more loyal these days, when only 35% of consumers agreed. Gary Vaynerchuk, who spoke at our Oracle Retail Industry event years back, says that you either “innovate or die.” In analyzing the Toys ‘R’ Us bankruptcy, he made a good point that Toys ‘R’ Us missed a huge opportunity to innovate – especially since they had already captured the imagination of kids and even adults. As a toy store, they could've built playgrounds or had countless child-focused interactive experiences in their stores, but it was a missed opportunity that unfortunately contributed to their closing. In terms of innovation, Oracle Retail’s core Merchandising solution, with embedded business analytics and adaptive intelligence, is offering a way for retailers to modernize and deliver on customers’ increased demands. We are taking retailers on a journey to the cloud and building innovation into our solution to keep up with the market’s changes. Here are a few ways that we have evolved our core merchandise operations management suite to support the needs of the modern retailer. Top 3 Merchandising Innovations #1 Voice and Collaboration RIS mentions that by 2020, 50% of all searches will be done by voice alone. We've embedded the ability to have voice within our merchandising platform. Similarly, we are embedding cross company collaboration tools like Slack as well. For example, you can capture a conversation about a delayed PO shipment, save it to a particular PO, and then access that data from a tablet or mobile device, across the company, anywhere. Now that’s modern, mobile retailing. #2 Retail Home Now available with the use of Oracle Retail Insights or Retail Science, is the newly launched Retail Home. Retail Home is a highly configurable entry portal to our suite of solutions and gives you a tile view of meaningful KPIs, specific to a user’s role. With Retail Insights, there are over 4,000 metrics integrated into Retail Home out of the box. It also gives you access to the applications right from the dashboard so that you can understand the issue and take action as efficiently as possible. Using Retail Home as your overall entry point, you can dive into the operational insights dashboards within the merchandising solution. We developed these point of view dashboards collaboratively with our customer community to make sure each dashboard is relevant and tailored to user roles like buyer, inventory controller, inventory analyst, data steward and invoice match clerk. More than just being informative, each dashboard gives you the ability to take immediate action from the dashboard itself. Buyers can perform common tasks like approving a submitted purchase order or cancelling an item, all without even having to launch into the merchandising application. Retail Home is the common access point tying together operational and analytical data and connecting it to action. In addition, relevant unstructured data, such as social sentiment, can be loaded into Retail Insights and used to influence your assortment decisions. With Retail Home, users have a relevant, personalized place to go that brings together all types of insights in a single place. #3 Retail Reference Library & Retail Learning Subscription The Retail Reference Library helps cut down on modifications and gives retailers an innovative place to start their implementation. Instead of spending time and money to build out to-be processes, you can easily leverage the Retail Reference Model, which contains over 800 best practice processes, across all Oracle Retail products. The Retail Reference Architecture provides detailed deployment models and integration flows, while the Retail Semantic Glossary makes sure that your team has a common language and understanding. The Retail Learning Subscription (RLS) provides access to educational content 24/7 in smaller video snippets, for better user engagement. You don't have to wait for a class to be offered, since this self-paced instruction is available as a subscription and can be accessed at any time. We are continually adding new videos to the RLS to keep it up-to-date and to provide content in a more agile way.  As we continue to evolve our merchandising suite to support retailers, our customer base also continues to grow. A few of our retail customers that continue to innovate with us on the latest Oracle Retail Merchandising release include Dubai Duty Free, Lululemon and The GAP. Resources News Article: Retail Sector Confronts IT Innovate or Die Challenge Oracle Industry Connect Presentation – Merchandising Roadmap Single View of Inventory Demo Video from OIC Take a Quick Tour of the Merchandising Buyer Dashboard

It is striking to me just how much the retail industry is currently under pressure. I think about the news of Nine West filing for bankruptcy – a large contributor to my high school shoe collection –...

Cloud

Retail Science: Oracle Empowers Retailers to Detect Omnichannel Theft with Embedded Science

New Innovations in Oracle Retail XBRi Cloud Service Reveal New Sources of Omnichannel Risk and Provides Investigators with Automated Alerts and Actionable Insights Today Oracle announced enhancements to Oracle Retail XBRi Loss Prevention Cloud Service that help retailers quickly identify and investigate fraudulent activities across store and online transactions. With embedded science, Oracle Retail XBRi can detect new data anomalies and alert loss prevention analysts to potential risks and drive quick resolution by providing the transactional insight needed to investigate. The Oracle Retail XBRi enhancements also include embedded science developed over 20 years of research and development in retail including more than 4,000 reporting metrics and attributes representing experiences and best practices of global retailers. “The opportunity for retail theft grows as retailers reach to meet customer expectations and struggle to manage individual channels of engagement,” said Jeff Warren, vice president, Oracle Retail. “The updates to Oracle Retail XBRi provide customers with the tools to protect their margins and is another example of the continued value we aim to deliver through cloud services.” “This new generation of cloud services accelerates the path to ROI within months of deployment,” said Chris Sarne, senior director of omnichannel strategy, Oracle Retail.  “The result is a smart, holistic approach to preventing fraud and saving money that scales to grow with your business.” Oracle Retail XBRi Loss Prevention Cloud Service provides the retail community with: Agility, Security and a Path to Lower Total Cost of Ownership. One of the goals of using embedded science is to clarify and lower the total cost of installation, set up, and maintenance of solutions by taking advantage of iterative cloud updates. The cloud-based solution offers even greater precision, building on existing knowledge and adding new features and analytics automatically. Prompt Investigation. Upon deployment, the solution immediately identifies exceptions and escalates them to analysts and investigators without requiring manual intervention to initiate the process. Comprehensive Discovery. The cloud service employs embedded science to quickly surface anomalous behavior and potential cases. With new insight to emerging fraudulent activities comes opportunities to help store managers train their associates to detect and avoid potential loss before it happens. Intuitive Configuration. The Oracle Retail XBRi interface allows analysts to easily configure reports that reflect the unique needs of omnichannel brands without incurring additional costs or relying on IT specialists. POS Integration that Streamlines Investigation.  A heightened degree of integration between Oracle Retail XBRi Cloud Service and Oracle Retail Xstore Point-of-Service further enhances the ability of XBRi’s embedded science to pinpoint new sources of risk and deliver purpose-build reports that streamline and support investigative activities while leveraging the best practices built into the Oracle Retail portfolio. Oracle will continue to add new knowledge from the Oracle Retail customer community to combat new patterns of fraud that emerge in the complex omnichannel retail environment. To join our retail community, please contact us.  

New Innovations in Oracle Retail XBRi Cloud Service Reveal New Sources of Omnichannel Risk and Provides Investigators with Automated Alerts and Actionable Insights Today Oracle announced enhancements...

Best Practices & Trends

GDPR Snuck Up on You? You’re Not Alone

To keep up with a worldwide pattern of increasing consumer privacy regulation, retailers need a global—and agile—approach to compliance. The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) went into effect May 25, 2018, and as reported by the Wall Street Journal, only 12% of companies surveyed noted they are completely compliant and 57% reported it will take them over 6 months to be ready for GDPR. As retailers scramble to gain compliance, here are some things to keep top of mind. Consumer data privacy is a growing global concern. As the need for greater protection increases, regions worldwide are developing their own regulations — all of which global retailers must understand and address before selling to consumers. As new personal data privacy rules are enforced throughout the European Union, the changes not only effect European companies, but any retailer doing business, in person or online, with a citizen residing in any EU nation.  The challenge is complex, as unique as the national identification and address fields in each country, and subject to ever-changing rules. Retail data systems must identify and treat appropriately every data point including: a customer’s full name, home address, email address, national identification number (Social Security number, for example), passport number, IP address, vehicle registration plate number, driver’s license number, face, fingerprints, or handwriting, credit card numbers, digital identity, date of birth, birthplace, genetic information, telephone number, and login name, screen name, nickname, or handle. It is a challenge that will be repeated as regions worldwide develop new laws to protect consumer data privacy. Like the EU, governments around the world are addressing this issue by updating and adopting new privacy regulations addressing all forms of consumer data known as PII (personally identifiable information). How Countries Protect Consumers Today Jurisdictions in which detailed requirements about handling this sort of data have been enacted include: Australia. The Privacy Act of 1988 sets up a broad, principles-based regulatory model in which “personal information” includes information or an opinion, whether true or not, and whether recorded in a material form or not, about an individual whose identity is apparent, or can reasonably be ascertained, from the information or opinion. California. In 2003, California established the California Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), which was the first law in the U.S. to require operators of commercial websites, including mobile apps, to conspicuously post a privacy policy if they collect PII from Californians. Canada. The Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act governs how private sector organizations collect, use, and disclose personal information in the course of commercial business. The act was partially intended to reassure the European Union that Canadian law was adequate to protect the privacy of European citizens. Massachusetts. Massachusetts regulations 201 CMR 17.00, which went into effect in March 2010, require that any companies or persons who store or use personal information about a Massachusetts resident develop a written, regularly audited plan to protect personal information. Switzerland. The Federal Act on Data Protection of 19 June 1992 prohibits virtually any processing of personal data which is not expressly authorized by the data subjects. Additionally, any person may ask in writing that the company managing the data correct or delete any personal data. Consumers Want Greater Control Over Their Own Data Virtually all PII regulations address to some degree the consumer’s right to know, and have a say in, what components of their personal data are retained, and by whom. At the same time that regulation is growing, consumers, somewhat paradoxically, say they increasingly prefer the kind of service that can only be provided by a retailer who knows them. Much depends on the source of the data. An Oracle-sponsored market research study, Retail in 4 Dimensions: Understanding Consumer Behavior in an Age of Relativity, showed that 50% of retailers would be attracted to personalized offers based on loyalty data, purchase data, and real-time browsing data. Nearly a third, however—29%—said they would find offers based on social media data “creepy.” The solution? Make an offer in return for personal data, and be a careful steward of it once you have it. Cloud Applications Help Retailers to Address Security Requirements Worldwide Cloud applications can help retailers to stay on track and comply with unique and ever-changing regulations across global markets. In solutions like the Oracle Retail Omnichannel suite, the data manager—the entity responsible for data storage, security, and compliance—can be updated and revised to address the requirements of obtaining consumer information and completing transactions in each market. Oracle is deeply involved in all aspects of information technology. Our knowledge of and commitment to data security is extremely strong. As we help our customers move to the cloud, they gain an improved ability to respond quickly to changing market demands; including changes in government regulations affecting consumer data privacy. Our retail customers can innovate faster by focusing on their businesses while Oracle focuses on delivering best-in-class hardware and software solutions. Contact Oracle Retail to learn more about Oracle systems, services, and GDPR compliance: oneretailvoice_ww@oracle.com You may also be interested in: Earning the Right to be Remembered: Reconciling Data Privacy Regulations and Consumer Expectations GDPR: How Oracle Retail Can Help

To keep up with a worldwide pattern of increasing consumer privacy regulation, retailers need a global—and agile—approach to compliance. The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) went into...

Best Practices & Trends

Earning the Right to be Remembered: Reconciling Data Privacy Regulations and Consumer Expectations

As global privacy regulations become more stringent, so does consumers’ desire for highly personalized service; by offering choice and careful stewardship, retailers can provide both. For the past twenty years, jurisdictions around the world have been enacting regulations governing the collection and use of PII (personally identifiable information) data. Much of the discussion of these regulations centers around what is called “the right to be forgotten.” While there is no universal definition for this right, in general it refers to the idea that personal information should not be collected or disseminated without the owner’s permission. For about the same period of time, retailers have been collecting as much personal data about consumers as possible, in order to provide them with a smooth, seamless, and personalized customer experience. At first glance, it appears that there’s a large, serious conflict looming between personal privacy on the one hand and retailers’ strategies for the 21st century on the other. However, none of the regulations in place or being discussed forbid retailers to obtain and use personal consumer data. They just forbid them to do it without permission: you have to ask. A recent international survey, in fact, shows that retailers, when they handle this issue well, can easily obtain the consumer PII data they need to drive their CRM, loyalty, and promotion programs. By using it effectively, that can earn the right to be remembered—and well thought of—by their customers. Overwhelmingly, Consumers Say “Yes” When Asked In July of 2017, Oracle sponsored a survey of 15,000 consumers across four key global markets: Europe and the Mediterranean, North America, Latin America, and Asia/Pacific. This research was conducted by Morar HPI, an independent research and creative consultancy. Overall, the survey found that in today’s fast-paced world, a bespoke and balanced retail experience is increasingly more attractive to consumers. Customers from all over the world indicated a high comfort level with having their loyalty data, purchase history, and brand-relevant interactions accessed in pursuit of a personalized experience that anticipates their needs. However, more intimate data around people’s personal lives, social media networks, and browsing history are still deemed private, no-go areas. Here are a few highlights from the global consumer survey: 52 percent of consumers say they want to receive personalized offers based on data from their store loyalty accounts; 65 percent say personalized offers and promotions are “most important” to them in their shopping experiences; 87 percent would “mostly” give up their personal email addresses in exchange for offers (with a third saying they would “always” be willing to do this); and Half of all consumers want real-time offers based on what they are browsing at the moment. However, Maintaining Data Security is Key In other words, the data suggests that as long as you as a retailer are a careful steward of the data and provide value in return for it, you don’t really have to worry about the customer opting out of providing personal information—as long as you ask first and take no for an answer. A more pressing concern, however, is the danger of a data breach. The major worldwide data privacy regulations, such as the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation, focus not merely on privacy and permission but also on data security. Cloud services providers such as Oracle help retailers address these requirements by housing PII data and providing security. All the layers of the system—applications, middleware, the database environment, physical transport—are protected by Oracle Cloud security and benefit from upgrades as regulations change and new threats appear. The ability of a cloud services provider to focus on security frees retail IT teams to focus on its core business opportunities. The key to earning the right to be remembered is empowering the customer by giving them access to and control over all relevant personal data. The customer is king, and Oracle’s goal is to provide the security and flexibility to allow him or her to say yes. For more information If you would like to know more about Oracle’s cloud-based retail solutions and how they can help consumers earn the right to be remembered, please contact us. You may also be interested in:  European Privacy Requirements: Considerations for Retailers

As global privacy regulations become more stringent, so does consumers’ desire for highly personalized service; by offering choice and careful stewardship, retailers can provide both. For the past...

Best Practices & Trends

Retail Reference Library: Best Practices from Decades of Retail Experiences

Accelerating your implementation and maximizing the value you derive from your retail systems is something we at Oracle Retail are heavily invested in. Over the past 10 years we have dedicated significant time and resources into building the Oracle Retail Reference Library (RRL): A tool that is free to our customers and System Integrator partners, is based on nearly 6,000 implementations across 95+ countries, and includes input from the top 20 grocers, top 10 fashion retailers, and top 10 hardlines retailers. It’s continuously updated based on new implementation information that we and our 12,500 business partners gather. It grants customers access to 787 detailed process workflows and answers the “big picture” questions of how systems and business units fit together, for the benefit of both executives and architects. On January 31, we released the latest edition of the RRL: version 16.0. This marks the 10th year that we’ve been supporting our retail community with process flows, architecture diagrams, and semantic terms representing the latest release of Oracle Retail applications. And with an evolving portfolio of application best practices supporting a SaaS or on-premises configuration, the RRL has experienced double-digit growth with every major annual release, continuing to build on the Oracle Retail omnichannel vision. Here are some of the benefits our customers are realizing with this unique resource: John Lewis, a leading fashion, home, and technology department store retailer in the UK, found the RRL invaluable in simplifying documentation, articulating business processes, and challenging potential modifications while implementing Oracle Retail merchandising, stores, and supply chain solutions.   charming charlie, a women’s jewelry and accessories retailer in the US, utilized the RRL to quickly become socialized on their Oracle applications, and also to quickly get testers online with an understanding of what they were testing and the results they should get. And charming charlie’s 3rd party implementation team used it to tie all deliverables together, all the way from the ‘as is’ to the ‘to be’ process during testing. Watch the on-demand webcast "charming charlie: Building a Foundation for Growth and Innovation with Oracle Merchandising" to hear first-hand from both the retailer and partner OLR on the value of the RRL or download the guidebook today. Our customers have shared with us the many benefits of the RRL as a starting point during an implementation: It simplifies the documentation process It can be used as a guide during high-level design workshops It helps identify and align ‘to-be’ business processes It can challenge potential modifications, allowing them to focus on solutions which have real business benefits It can reduce documentation time by mapping the RRL to existing business process models It provides organized content enabling the adoption of best business practices that both business and technical teams find very valuable The RRL’s collection of detailed implementation information for our partners and customers is available via My Oracle Support. This invaluable tool brings together three components that are vital to a successful implementation or expansion of Oracle applications: The Retail Reference Model (RRM): A comprehensive collection of established, industry-leading business processes to guide retailers and implementers on the use of Oracle applications. It’s based on the experience that Oracle Retail and our partners have gained in working with a broad range of customers. The Retail Reference Architecture (RRA): A collection of artifacts that describe the different views of Oracle Retail’s solution offerings, including contextual models, integration models, and deployment models. It helps implementers understand how enterprise systems fit together. The Retail Semantic Glossary (RSG): A single source for defining terms, metrics, and measures used by retailers. Users search for terms to understand their definition, calculation, synonyms, and context; thus helping to align departments and provide consistency. During our 30-plus years of working hand-in-hand with global customers on implementations, and from our ecosystem of business partners, we’ve learned of the challenges that arise, such as: large, potentially costly modifications identified with an implementation approach; limited business documentation and resources; as well as the need for assistance with determining data model, architecture, and integration requirements. The RRL was developed to mitigate such issues, which can impede a successful and timely implementation. We’ve harnessed the power of all of this combined knowledge for the benefit of our customers. Here are the highlights of the latest RRL release (16.0): In the RRM, new process flows for: Planning and Optimization Cloud Service solutions (MFP, AP), Xstore (Lane Checkout), Open Commerce Platform, and Order Management System Cloud Service​ In the RRA, a new omnichannel domain In the RSG, new terms supporting the following applications: Order Broker, Retail Extension Module, and Retail Merchandising System For a complete list of updates, current customers may refer to the RRL V16 Release Notes accessible in the RRL V16 library which is downloadable from My Oracle Support (https://support.oracle.com) using document ID 2221510.1. Also, for a brief overview of the RRL or access to any released RRL version, please visit the Retail Reference Information Center using Oracle Knowledge Base ID# 2058843.2. More on the Retail Reference Library  

Accelerating your implementation and maximizing the value you derive from your retail systems is something we at Oracle Retail are heavily invested in. Over the past 10 years we have...

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