Just as it has been for much of the retail industry, 2020 has been a very different year for Kamal Osman Jamjoom Group (KOJ), the Middle East’s leading multi-channel retail group. KOJ is home to multiple popular international brands, with more than 700 stores across nine countries and 11 brands spanning fashion, cosmetics, and other categories.
Despite its broad scale and wide reach, one thing all of KOJ’s brands share in common is that they fall into the ‘non-essential’ category, making the Group’s stores subject to varying local regulations—from decreased occupancy limits to forced closures of brick-and-mortar locations. As a result, across its operations, KOJ has faced what are now all-too-common challenges for retailers in the face of the current health crisis.
“We are not odd men out; we are a part of the game,” said Sulthan Mohideen, CIO, Kamal Osman Jamjoom. With a predominantly brick-and-mortar strategy, KOJ faced months-long store closures, placing heavy pressure on the Group’s P&L, costs, and inventory stocks and operations.
Thankfully, as the world pivoted to social distancing and working from home, KOJ already had plans in place that would enable the Group to not only weather the current storm but ward off broader challenges as the retail industry continues to evolve.
KOJ’s business resilience strategy is built on a steady technology foundation architected in collaboration with Oracle Retail solutions. Since 2018, the Group has closely evaluated its operating markets, identified non-profitable locations, and reduced its footprint from roughly 900 to 700+ stores, decreasing expenses while increasing revenue. In tandem, KOJ recognized ecommerce headwinds and shifted its focus online, introducing a new digital and innovation team and transforming its warehouses into ecommerce fulfillment centers.
Sulthan Mohideen credits KOJ’s thorough planning and having the right technology in place with its strength in the current era. “Our management believes in technology,” said Mohideen. “We’re able to survive the challenges of the current situation, and I think automation and other technologies on the horizon contribute to business resilience.”
Through a range of Oracle Retail solutions, KOJ can now deliver a truly omnichannel customer journey and is looking ahead to empowering new customer journeys, such as click-and-collect and curbside pickup. The Group is also shifting to the cloud and is currently implementing cloud management brokers which will enable KOJ to offer multiple business customer journeys in its stores and online portals.
Currently, the Group is also undertaking a complete back-office transformation with Oracle Cloud Applications, which will leave KOJ even better positioned for retail’s ongoing transformation.
“Don’t wait for the situation to arise in front of you,” Mohideen counsels other retailers. “Be prepared for any circumstances at any time. Look at your business strategy and business demand and set up a roadmap for what you’ll do in the next couple of years. Work on that and take it forward.”