Thursday Feb 25, 2016

Avoid the Headlines: 4 Tips to Protect Your Brand Integrity

Consumers demand high quality and unique offerings from grocers. These retailers are being asked to expand assortment to drive loyalty. In order for this to be profitable, retailers must command higher prices and margins.  Historically, private label has been a powerful promotional or low cost option. The pendulum is shifting. Private label products have been experiencing a truly impressive growth spurt, creating new opportunities, challenges and risks for grocers.  

As retailers rely more heavily on private label to improve margins and boost customer loyalty, they also take on the responsibilities of being, in essence, brand manufacturers. With global supply chains consisting of hundreds or even thousands of suppliers, retailers require effective tools to understand, and keep close tabs on, each and every product they sell. In the case of food items, a single ingredient within a product that makes a consumer ill can cause a challenge and brand liability for a retailer.

Four Tips to Protect Your Brand Integrity

#1 Centralize Product Data on a Single System

Given the sheer volume of private label products being offered on supermarket shelves, creating and maintaining a centralized database of products — and their constituent ingredients — becomes an absolute necessity. In case of an emergency situation (i.e. a product recall of a potentially dangerous ingredient), speed is of the essence, both to satisfy government regulatory bodies and to support crisis control with consumer perceptions.

#2 Standardize Supplier On-boarding Processes to Include Product Data Collection

Finding new suppliers offering innovative products is a key element of ongoing private label growth. Once retailers create a centralized database with existing suppliers, they will need to tightly integrate product data collection into new supplier on-boarding processes. While this can be a challenge with smaller or less sophisticated companies that may not be accustomed to stringent data requirements, it’s absolutely essential that these workflows be established, maintained, and continuously checked and updated.

#3 Leverage the Cloud to Foster Transparency and Communication

With today’s globalized supply chains, a product may use ingredients grown and harvested a mere 10 miles from the retail store – or from 10,000 miles and multiple oceans away – or any combination in-between. The enormous web of manufacturers and raw material suppliers contributing to even the seemingly simplest products means cloud-based compliance and communication solutions are a must-have requirement. In addition, cloud-based solutions’ ability to foster multi-directional communications offers significant benefits in boosting innovation and speed to market.

#4 Create and Regularly Test Action Plans for Queries, Recalls and Other Potential Crises

Having a brand compliance solution in place provides retailers with a framework for preparing action plans, for events ranging from a simple query about which ingredients are used in which products to a full-scale recall generated by a potential health hazard.

Retailers need solutions providing granular traceability and high levels of accountability to deal with crisis situations such as product recalls or supply chain disruptions. Retailers also need effective ways to communicate and partner with their widespread supply chains. 

As Murphy’s Law says, anything that can go wrong, will go wrong. As you change the mix of your assortment to seize the private label momentum, be prepared. Avoid being in the headlines in the wrong way. Oracle can help. Explore the potential of Oracle Retail Brand Compliance Management Cloud Services

Source: The State of Private Label Around the World by Nielsen


Wednesday Oct 28, 2015

Reporting from Oracle OpenWorld: The Road Ahead

For the benefit of our global community, here is an editorial view on the presentations from Oracle OpenWorld 2015. We have had a fantastic week in San Francisco. Wish you were here. 

Oracle will continue to bring retailers new and more flexible capabilities expanding the integration of its more than 50 software products designed for retail, according to Jeffrey Warren, Oracle’s vice president of Solutions Management.

Warren outlined what’s ahead for the company’s retail software solutions in an “Oracle Retail Roadmap and Vision” session at Oracle Open World in San Francisco on Monday. “We’ve done some very exciting things in the last year,” he said. “We have several integrations and new products that are coming out as a result of hard work within our R&D organization.”

Customers no longer question the need for a “Commerce Anywhere” solution that helps satisfy customer demands across channels, Warren said; instead, they need assistance in implementing a solution. “As we talk to our partners, the most common question is, ‘We understand what we need to do, but can you help us create a roadmap for how we are going to do it?’ These are the products we believe are going to help get you there.”

Common Goals

Retailers’ goals are fairly straightforward: They want to better identify who their customers are, better engage with those customers, help them convert and reward their loyalty in an increasingly complicated, omnichannel environment. “We believe we have the capabilities to help you achieve these four goals successfully,” he said.

Commerce Anywhere retailers must be ready to fulfill demand regardless of the source, and Oracle’s end-to-end solution is the only one of its kind on the market. “We are the only company that allows you to manage and create everything from operational-level financial planning down to the in-store experience,” Warren said.

New analytics features from Oracle will help retailers manage features such cluster forecasting, mobile merchandising management, exception reporting, and improved XBRi loss prevention in an easy-to-upgrade package. Users can switch functions on and off simply by making a phone call. 

The system will help retailers plan across channels. “Commerce Anywhere is not just the ability to buy online and return in-store,” he said. “Oracle gives you the ability to plan, forecast and manage across all of your channels.”

And new analytics features will offer insights to help retailers streamline every aspect of their businesses. “The goal is to use science and analytics to make you successful,” Warren said. “It’s an arms race that not everyone can keep up with. We can help you get better insights into the data you already have, and make it easier for you to leverage and mine that data.”

Easy to Implement

At the same time the Oracle Retail platform is going to deliver a better, more intuitive user experience. Retailers will be able to access simplified dashboards that unlock operational data that helps them merchandise better at a lower cost, Warren said. The interface is already so simple that many retail associates can learn to operate the system in 15 minutes, and companies are skipping formal training programs.

A new mobile interface, expanded exception reporting, XBRi loss prevention, and other aspects of Oracle’s retail package are also getting upgrades and integrations. “Having 50 products in your portfolio is a challenge,” Warren said. “People expect all 50 of those products to work together. With every release, we will invest in integrating both process and product.”

Oracle will continue to invest in retail software development at a “disruptive” rate, Warren said, to offer clients enhanced flexibility and ultimately, marketplace success. “This is a platform that allows us to innovate,” Warren said. “We have over 100 active patents in retail, and this is something we are investing in for your benefit.”

Oracle will help retailers access the right solutions, he added, with attentive customer care. “When you need us, you can pick up the phone and we’re going to be there,” he said. “Our goal is to allow you flexibility of deployment. Our goal is to help you find the right fit for your organization.” 

The full presentation is posted in the Oracle Retail Rack: Oracle Retail Roadmap and Vision

Tuesday Feb 10, 2015

Your Product, Your Problem

Today's posting comes from Paul Woodward, formerly with MICROS and now part of the Oracle Retail family. Paul has 20 years experience dealing with the supply chain with recent focus on brand compliance.

This month the New York attorney general accused GNC, Target, Walgreens, and Walmart of selling fraudulent herbal supplements whose contents did not match the labels.  Four out of five products did not contain ingredients matching the label and often instead contained cheap fillers, which could potentially harm those with allergies.

With the many scares over the past 12 months including the use of horse meat in Europe, the need for retailers to demonstrate due diligence in their collection, capture, and validation of supplier and product data is now fundamental to the protection of their brand and consumer trust.

As consumers, we continue to drive complexity into the supply chain -- we want greater ranges, experimental flavours, convenient ready to go products, choice of price points and an appreciation of our dietary needs. This creates a significant risk for the retailer as they balance bringing products to market quickly to meet the demand whilst ensuring thorough assessment of these ranges.

Just ten years ago consumers didn’t really care.  They didn’t ask for the information and they probably didn’t know they needed it. Now a third of consumers are allergic to something and 1 in 6 has a form of food related illness each year. This, along with our thirst for better living, healthier options, and the media's encouragement to know more, is firmly establishing that if it’s your label, it’s your product, and it’s your problem.

The average retailer is now handling over 10,000 active products from 2,000 production sites worldwide, and as the FDA and regulative requirements continually evolve and demand more transparency.  Retailers are faced with an ever increasing risk of failing to meet their brand promises.

Oracle Retail MICROS mycreations has been specifically developed to support this requirement. With over 20 years of proven capability in enabling the growth and protection of private label brands worldwide, the brand compliance cloud platform empowers retailers to collaborate with their supply chain in efficiently providing accurate and reliable data the consumer can trust.

Thursday Feb 12, 2009

OEM for Retail

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News and ideas about the retail industry with a focus on customers, innovation, trends and emerging technologies.

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