Wednesday Mar 16, 2016

No Time to Lose: The Power of Omnichannel and Customer Knowledge

Retailers in Latin America seek integrated solutions that get quick results in order to speed up their omnichannel activities

It is impossible to speak about the retail Latin America market as all companies in all countries of the region were at the same stage of development. On the other hand, this heterogeneity offers the possibility of an intense experience exchange among retailers from different sectors and countries.

According to Carlos Victoria, Vice President of Oracle Retail for Latin America, although the scenarios are quite different in region countries, they have many common issues. “Latin American retailers face challenges such as optimizing inventory and anticipating demand, which are basic issues, but that continue to offer opportunities for increasing efficiency”, he said.

The growth of e-commerce and its integration with other sales channels has also been opening up business opportunities, both for Oracle Retail as well as for retailers that get their staff better trained and processes changed in order to get in the top of consumer expectations.

“We have been noticing a continually increasing interest for our e-commerce solutions, as a part of a retail movement to increase revenue, and most of all, to extend the contact base with customers”, says Victoria. “In the last two years, omnichannel has become relevant around the world, and with the reach we already have on a global level, customers request support to help them improve this cycle and capitalize much more quickly on its benefits”, he explains. It is a little shortsighted to see ecommerce as a one channel more to generate new revenue.

The best examples are those who understand that e-commerce and mobile applications are an additional omnichannel point of contact, to maintain in an integrated way the consumer experience with the store. The most important thing is to attract the customer to the physical store to complete your experience and your purchase.

Know Your Customers 

It is proven that consumers that interacts through multiple channels plus the physical store is a customer whose average sale is higher. A customer who starts their online interaction or in an application and completes the transaction in the physical store, just add other items of physical store. The key is how to attract the customer to the physical store. Oracle Retail can help retailers through science and technology better understand this client with Oracle Retail Customer Engagement Cloud Service, allowing promotions and concrete and custom actions that attract the customer back to the physical store.

The need to increase speed of implementing and obtaining results in order to optimize return on investments has brought on changes to the structure of the solutions and market approach. “Today, our solutions focus on practical and concrete issues, so that the retailer can implement and obtain a more appealing ROI”, according to the executive. This approach involves shorter cycles of solution implementation; and allow quickly and appealing results, turning business more attractive to the shareholders. 

Drive Incremental Revenue and Profitability 

One example are loyalty programs that for many years was considered a great opportunity for retail, but until now with intangible results. “That is because our competitors were concentrating on completely transforming companies, introducing impressive monolithic CRM solutions without worrying about retail strategy. Why did the company want a loyalty program? What was the purpose? This question was not usually asked”, Victoria recalls. “Our approach is more consultative. We seek to understand what the intention of retail is with the loyalty program, and then build the ideal solution. As a result, companies have found ways of making their programs more appealing to consumers, who notice this personalized and relevant attention and return to the sales outlet to buy more. “By working with retail, we create solutions that strengthen their relationship with customers and accelerate return on investments”, explained the executive.

In order to speed up ROI for customers, Oracle Retail has invested in cloud services and embedded science in retail solutions. “The idea is to provide solutions based on the scientific analysis of the information and that through alerts and exceptions support decisions that should be taken by the executive, in a relatively simple but robust way”. These insight are now available as cloud services for quick and easy deployment. 


Our global customer community will convene in Orlando, FL on April 11-13, 2016 at the Oracle Industry Connect. We will feature over 30 global retail case studies talking about omnichannel success including Big 5 Sporting Goods, Decathlon, Falabella, Livraria Cultura, Kohls, Nordstrom, PacSun and several others.  

Resources:

Global Research: Retail Without Limits - A Modern Commercial Society

Drive Incremental Revenue and Profitability with Oracle Retail Customer Engagement Cloud Services

Gain Visibility into Consumer Preference with Oracle Retail Customer Insights Cloud Service

Monday Mar 07, 2016

30 Retailer Speakers Confirmed for Oracle Retail Industry Connect 2016

We are honored and privileged to work with 30 customer speakers from 23 global retailers. The schedule will be set this week and published on the Oracle Industry Connect Website. We hope you will join us to learn from this dynamic line up of insightful speakers.

Who's Who (alpha by company)

Paul Sperling, Director of IT at Retail, A’GACI
Nick Oswald, Senior Manager - Demand Planning Operations, Best Buy
Rikke Alderson, Senior Digital Marketing Executive, Big 5 Sporting Goods
Chad Petersen, eCommerce Director, Carolina.com
Eddy Lecointe, Omnicommerce & Digital Transformation Director, Decathlon
Bryan Podgorny, Manager, Global Store Operations at Deckers Outdoor Corporation
Julius Odian, Vice President Business Development, Falabella
Fernando Jacome, CIO, Corporación GPF
ArMand Nelson, Director IT, Gander Mountain
Carissa Rollins, CIO and Executive Vice President, Gander Mountain
Paul Lamoureux, Senior Director, Enterprise Architecture, Gap Inc
Connie Santilli, Vice President Corporate IT and Strategy, Gap Inc.
Amy Stanberry, Vice President, Enterprise Systems & Strategy, Gap Inc.
Rick Whicker, Senior Director of Information Technology, Gap Inc.
Jesus de Francisco Garcia, CIO IT Director, Livraria Cultura
John King, Vice President - IT Merchandising & Product Development, Kohl's Department Stores
Mario Castano, Vice President, E-Commerce, Lenox
Jason Richard, CIO, Lucky Brands
Mark Baxendale, Senior Vice President, Planning & Allocation, lululemon athletica
N.C. Nagarajan, Director, Design, Merchandise Planning and Allocation Systems, lululemon athletica
Andrew Anosenko, COO, SPAR RUSSIA (SPAR TULA)
Cory Day, Sr Business Analyst, Pacific Sunwear
Eduardo Smaniotto, Director of Retail, Paquetá The Shoe Company
Daniel Moure, CMO, Pureformulas.com
Jackie Johnson, BT Business Partner, Red Wing Shoes
Marc Kermish, CIO, Red Wing Shoes
Mike Austin, Director, Ecommerce, Rooms to Go
Keith Costello, North America Consumer Facing Lead, The Estee Lauder Company
Bill Boezinger, Systems Manager, The Walt Disney Company
Bob Krohn, Director Merchandise Info. Systems, The Walt Disney Company


We are thrilled with the progress on the program so far. We have a few more confirmations expected this week. Please confirm your participation in the retail program today by registering at Oracle Industry Connect. Attendance is limited to retailers and our program sponsors to ensure that the focus remains on retailers learning from one another. We will also have participation from key industry analysts and publications in Orlando.

I hope you will join us. Send me a direct message if you have any questions.


Thursday Mar 03, 2016

Speed, Security, and Best Practices in the Cloud: Oracle Releases Market-Leading Retail Demand Forecasting Solution

Oracle Retail Demand Forecasting enables retailers to accurately and efficiently maintain a single projection of forecasted demand across all Commerce Anywhere operations, increasing revenues and margins while lowering overhead through reduced inventory. Now, this market-leading solution is available to retailers as a cloud service, providing implementation speed and lower total cost of ownership.

The ability to accurately project and manage inventory requirements has become significantly more important in today’s Commerce Anywhere environment. It has also become significantly more difficult, due to ever-changing assortments, promotional tactics, and evolving flexibility in points of fulfillment. In this environment, retailers need stronger forecasting tools and optimization science than the spreadsheets and ad-hoc mechanisms still often being used.

Market-Leading Capabilities with Simplified Approach and Lower Cost

Oracle Retail Demand Forecasting is used by hundreds of retailers around the world to accurately predict consumer demand. The new Oracle Retail Demand Forecasting Cloud Service delivers science-based demand forecasting to an even wider community of retailers at a price point and in a delivery package that will enable them to quickly take advantage of a proven, market-tested solution that produces significant operational and economic benefits.

“Inventory is the number-one cost center for any retailer. By having an accurate forecast, retailers, now even mid-tier and growing retailers, can make certain they will strike the right balance of inventory levels to meet their customers’ needs, while minimizing the effects of excess inventory, such as markdowns and wastage,” says Mike Johnson, Oracle Retail Solution Director, Supply Chain.

Speed to Value and Ease of Implementation

Oracle Retail Demand Forecasting Cloud Service provides high speed to value by leveraging the operational advantages of cloud technology. Retailers can have the forecasting tool up and running, and their users proficient with it, in a matter of 12 to 16 weeks. To facilitate ease of implementation, the solution is prepackaged with a best practice-driven workflow and the best in retail science, requiring very little configuration.

With accurate product demand projections, Oracle Retail Demand Forecasting Cloud Service enhances the business management and decision-making processes in both planning and execution activities. The service not only streamlines processes but provides actionable insights and a view of customer demand that retailers can drive financial planning, purchasing, allocation, or replenishment decisions from.

To delve deeper into the specifics of Oracle Retail Demand Forecasting Cloud Service, check out:

You may also be interested in learning about our Retail Reference Library, a collection of implementation information for Oracle Retail customers and partners, featuring the power of:

  • 12,500 business partners +
  • 5,750 customers in 96 countries =
  • 681 detailed retail process flows

When you invest in and trust the solutions of Oracle Retail, you buy the power and knowledge of our ecosystem.

Wednesday Mar 02, 2016

Four Reasons to Attend Oracle Retail Industry Connect 2016

This is my favorite time of year. This is the season of the customer.  We are in the process of preparing our community for Oracle Retail Industry Connect, an exclusive retail executive event hosted on April 11-13, 2016 in Orlando, Florida. I have the privilege of talking to customers nearly every day about their experience with Oracle Retail. I learn something new everyday. The people I work with are the reason I love my job.

We are excited to host this unique and exclusive gathering at our valued customer Walt Disney Parks and Resorts. Oracle Industry Connect brings the Oracle Retail community together to collectively solve the complex business problems of the dynamic retail industry.

Here are some reasons you won’t want to miss this event:

#1 For Retailers, By Retailers: The Oracle Industry Connect retail program is predominantly delivered by retailers, for retailers. The sessions highlight how global retail companies of all scopes and sizes are embracing technology, adopting cloud services, and executing commerce anywhere to address business pains and solve complex problems.

#2 Vision, Innovation, and Execution: In the last 12 months, Oracle Retail has launched 16 new cloud services of our retail applications. Come to learn about the latest developments in our roadmap and explore the innovations in our solutions. Begin to map your journey to the cloud while protecting your existing investment.

#3 Applicable Learning: Each session is designed for peer knowledge sharing with tangible strategies, best practices, and recommendations that you can apply to your business. Learn from retailers of all segments and sizes including A’GACI, Big 5 Sporting Goods, Decathlon, Falabella, Gap, Inc., Lenox, Lucky Brand, lululemon, Neiman Marcus, PacSun, Red Wing Shoes and more. View the retail program.

#4 Relationship Building: Mix and mingle with 275+ retail executives, 25 of our best implementation partners, and Oracle Retail experts from around the world. Invest in new contacts and relationships that can help you succeed on your journey toward commerce anywhere. Each year we continue to enhance the networking opportunities. This year we add Oracle Retail User Group pre-conference sessions, athletic endeavors to like yoga with lululemon ambassadors and a fun run sponsored by Big 5 Sporting goods.

I love the open and provocative discussions that happen in our retail community in the welcoming environment of this event. I would be happy to make introductions across the community of retailers, partners, analysts, press friends, and Oracle experts. This is where the magic happens. After all, isn't that what Disney is known for?

I am personally very proud of the heritage and history of this event. We began the program in 2006 as CrossTalk. By 2009, we evolved the CrossTalk program to be 90% delivered by retailers, for retailers. The event grew by word of mouth over the years, thanks to the willingness of our customers to share their successes, challenges, lessons learned, and triumphs. Our customers provide tremendous value to one another in this forum. We are lucky to work with some of the most innovative retailers on the planet. Due to this value, the event has been adopted more widely and expanded to foster communities across Communications, Hospitality, Financial Services, Utilities, Health Sciences, Primavera, and Education as Oracle Industry Connect.

I sincerely hope you will join us. Please confirm your participation in the retail program today by registering at Oracle Industry Connect. Attendance is limited to retailers and our program sponsors to ensure that the focus remains on retailers learning from one another. If you have any questions, send me a personal email rose.spicer@oracle.com.


Wednesday Feb 24, 2016

Minding the Gap in Retail

In the demanding world of retail, the CIO faces a delicate balancing act between maintaining smooth operations and innovating to meet consumer demand.

By Jeff Warren, Vice President, Oracle Retail

A few years ago, retailers spent a lot of time talking about the challenge of multichannel operations: how to provide the same merchandise and the same level of customer experience online as in the store. Then the use of smart phones exploded, adding in effect a third channel, mobile. Even as retailers were scrambling to deal with this complication, they realized that the boundary lines between one channel and another were vanishing. Customers walk into the store with a phone in their hand, buy things they see on the sales floor, accessorize them with items from the website, and expect it all to be handled as a single, on-the-spot, totally personalized transaction. The expectation is very clear: give the consumer what she wants and how she wants it, and in as close to real time as possible.

Meeting this expectation is essential. In a market in which any advantage in price point and selection can be countered by a dozen competitors, the key differentiator has become customer service. Retailers are striving not only to meet consumer demand but to anticipate it, and to provide an ever smoother and more personalized shopping experience. To do that successfully, retailers are looking to their CIOs to evaluate, adopt, and integrate new technological capabilities as soon as they become available.

But innovation, of course, is only part of the CIO’s job. IT is a cost center, and retail, for all its glamour, is a brutally competitive, low-margin industry. CIOs have to innovate, but they also have to keep the lights on—if the system’s down, you’re out of business—and they have to stay within the budget. How does a CIO create more capacity?

Changing the rules

One way—perhaps the key way—is by moving to the cloud or to a hybrid model that leverages the cost advantages of the cloud while retaining local IT control of core assets and operations. In a recent Forbes article on top strategic CIO issues, Oracle’s Bob Evans noted that “Before cloud computing, the #1 enemy of the CIO was the economic reality that 80% of his IT budget would be consumed by low-value maintenance and integration. Because cloud computing pushes that burden over to cloud vendors, CIOs can liberate huge portions of their budgets and reallocate them to projects centered on growth and customer engagement.”

Once the IT budget is liberated, it stays liberated. The cloud, whether as a total IT environment or as part of a hybrid system, makes it possible for retail organizations to keep abreast of business and technological developments without having to make unexpected investments in IT infrastructure.

The shift to the cloud also enables the continuance of a deep and ongoing change in the role of the retail CIO. A decade ago, retail IT was essentially seen as a cost center. While the CIO was responsible for enterprise-level IT, market-driven functions like ecommerce frequently reported to someone else. This pattern clearly required a change; retail IT broke out of its silo and began working more closely with functions like marketing. Now, with some routine maintenance and upgrade issues moved off their desks, the industry’s CIOs are shifting to become key innovators who work hand in hand with all the organization’s business stakeholders.

In this transition, retail CIOs may find themselves needing to evaluate the cloud and, as it stabilizes, to advocate for it. While the cost benefits more or less make the case for themselves, it may be necessary to explain, and where possible to demonstrate, the redundancy, functionality, security, and scalability advantages of the cloud to executives not versed in IT issues. Trust and performance must be proven.

The end goal is enablement. Today, organizational survival—especially in an industry like retail—depends on embracing new technologies at an unparalleled pace. More than ever before, CIOs need to create capacity and lead—to reach into the cloud and bridge the gap between operations and innovation.

Tuesday Feb 09, 2016

Analyst Reports: IHL Market Studies Name Oracle Retail a Leader in POS Software for Hardgoods and Softgoods

Leading global research and advisory firm IHL recently released two new market studies (one focused onhardgoods and one focused on softgoods) and named Oracle Retail—specifically its flagship Oracle Retail Xstore Point-of-Service offering—the #1 overall provider for both types of retailers.

The studies examined specific aspects of point-of-service (POS) software used by hardgoods and softgoods retailers, including common core functionality, key economic and technological trends impacting the retail landscape, and vendor market share. They also looked at unique segment conditions affecting each type of retailer. Then, for the top 200 retailers, IHL identified and ranked their POS vendors in terms of total accounts, licenses, and revenues. This evaluation revealed Oracle’s leadership as a POS vendor for both hardgoods and softgoods retailers.

Commerce Anywhere and Oracle Retail Xstore Point-of-Service
With its acquisition of MICROS, Oracle inherited a wide range of POS solutions tailored to individual sectors and geographies. While continuing to support all of our stores solutions, Oracle Retail is investing in Oracle Retail Xstore Point-of-Service to help global retailers build strong customer loyalty in a commerce anywhere world.

"Thanks to the easily scalable, extensible architecture of Oracle Retail Xstore Point-of-Service around the globe, retailers can speed upgrades and leverage deep integration with Oracle Retail's customer engagement, commerce platform, order brokering, store inventory management, and order management solutions," says Oracle Retail Senior Director, Stores Erick Rowe.

Rich features and functionalities empower retail staff to provide memorable service levels, from seamless inventory visibility to the kind of customer insight that supports clienteling, gift registry, and targeted in-store promotions.

Special Offer: Migration to Oracle Retail Xstore Point-of-Service
To help retailers adopt the next-generation Oracle Retail Xstore Point-of-Service, Oracle Retail is extending a special offer, available via sales representatives, that protects customers' current license investments, while speeding and simplifying the migration process. The program includes:

  • Licensing credits. Many retailers will be eligible to apply credits from their current licensing agreements towards adoption of Oracle Retail Xstore Point-of-Service.
  • Streamlined migration. Oracle Retail has worked with partners and its own consulting organization to create scripts and process maps to speed migration from retailers' transitional solutions to the strategic platform that Oracle Retail Xstore Point-of-Service provides.
  • Modular adoption. Oracle Retail Xstore Point-of-Service has been engineered to integrate with the other key Oracle Retail solutions that support commerce anywhere operations. Oracle is helping retailers build a modular strategy, beginning with addressing key pain points, as they move toward a comprehensive commerce anywhere solution.

Global Omnichannel Commerce in Action
To understand how Oracle Retail Xstore Point-of-Service fits into Oracle's larger strategy for global, omnichannel commerce, retailers can contact Oracle Retail to schedule a viewing of the new Oracle Retail global omnichannel demo. 

The demo reveals the unified, state-of-the-art architecture that synchronizes all of the following solutions to support commerce anywhere:

Read the IHL market studies for hardgoods and softgoods.

Learn more about Oracle's special offer to migrate to Oracle Retail Xstore Point-of-Service via your Oracle Retail sales representative.

Schedule a viewing of the Oracle Retail global omnichannel demo.

This content is intended to outline our general product direction. It is intended for information purposes only, and may not be incorporated into any contract. It is not a commitment to deliver any material, code, or functionality, and should not be relied upon in making purchasing decisions. The development, release, and timing of any features or functionality described for Oracle’s products remains at the sole discretion of Oracle.

Friday Jan 15, 2016

Retailers Expand Commerce Faster with Oracle Cloud

Oracle Cloud serves every aspect of retailers’ business needs, from enterprise financials to customer marketing to e-commerce. The cloud is the most effective way for any retailer, big or small, to expand and update its retail operations to roll out new business models, expand merchandise offerings, open in new markets and drill down into customer preferences using best-in-class Oracle business intelligence and analytics.

Responding to the industry’s best growth opportunity in 2015, many retailers launched all-new shopping experiences with Oracle Commerce Cloud. Replacing platforms that were traditionally hosted and managed by IT teams within the walls of the retailer, today’s cloud services offer a simpler solution to maintaining feature-rich online storefronts, engaging customers, viewing inventory and fulfilling orders across channels. And unlike old systems, these modern solutions offer retailers immediate access to new technology and upgrades as they become available.

Nowhere is this truer than in e-commerce, and Oracle saw retailers take full advantage of new solutions well before the holiday shopping season began.  

Elaine Turner Director of e-CommerceWomen’s luxury brand Elaine Turner updated its e-commerce site to run on the Oracle Commerce Cloud so that it could expand beyond its 10 brick-and-mortar stores to engage its customers nationwide.  The move to the Oracle platform provided the retailer with a scalable, user-friendly and customer-centric system that quickly won favor.

“With Oracle Commerce Cloud, we expect to increase conversion rates by two times,” Carrie Leader, director of e-commerce, Elaine Turner, said during a recent webinar -, “and traffic between 20 and 30%.” Looking to the future, Elaine Turner predicts a sales increase between 50 and 100%with the help of the solution. Ms. Leader also shared the company's motivation for moving to Oracle Commerce Cloud at Open World this fall in a live interview

Similarly, at the end of 2015, independent retailer Rock/Creek was looking to expand its online presence and teamed up with Oracle Commerce Cloud. The outdoor specialist wanted to allow customers to generate more of their own content on the site, but needed help maintaining and upgrading the website to meet customers’ evolving expectations. Moving to a SaaS system made more sense for the retailer than struggling to keep upgrading on premise software.

 “As a local Chattanooga-based outdoor gear retailer, e-commerce is a strategic way to extend the reach of the Rock/Creek business,” said Mark McKnight, head of e-commerce, Rock/Creek. “But we like to focus on bringing the best rock climbing, paddling, running and hiking gear to our customers—not managing a technology infrastructure. With a SaaS solution like Oracle Commerce Cloud, Rock/Creek can simultaneously keep our technology costs low and stay innovative with the latest commerce features for online shopping experiences. Both are important to our business as our customers demand more from their online shopping experiences and as we continue to grow and scale our business.”

The cloud is the most effective way for any retailer, big or small, to expand and update its retail operations to roll out new business models, expand merchandise offerings, open in new markets and drill down into customer preferences using best-in-class business intelligence and analytics.  

Visit Oracle Retail at booth 2521 during NRF's Big Show to demo Oracle Commerce Cloud.  


Single View of Inventory Means Growth for Retailers Nordstrom and Lids Sports Group

Inventory—or lack thereof—can make or break a sale, influencing the immediate purchase and making a lasting impression on the shopper. 

And although retail executives have long voiced the need for a single view of inventory, the demand is now deriving from the shoppers themselves. In Oracle’s 2015 “Retail Without Limits” survey, 70% of consumers said they wanted visibility into retailers’ inventory in order to make their purchases anytime, anywhere.

With stakes this high—and with a growing number of paths to purchase—it’s becoming increasingly necessary for brands in 2016 to offer consumers an accurate, right-now view of items in stock at any location or online.  

More retailers are achieving one fluid view of inventory that facilitates the services customers prefer – sometimes before they know it. Nordstrom long ago set the standard for excellence in service by making customers’ convenience its top priority. The retailer, which uses Oracle solutions as the foundation for its world-renowned inventory and merchandising operations, was among the first to allow customers to return items purchased at any of its brands to any convenient store, including at a sister brand location: Nordstrom Rack and Haute Look. 

Bringing One Nordsrtom to Life

“Our strategy is straightforward: to realize the strengths and advantages of One Nordstrom,” David Boeschenstein, VP of merchandise and supply chain technology for Nordstrom, said in a presentation at Oracle OpenWorld in October. “As we entered the Canadian market, we wanted to fuel growth. We wanted to avoid customizations and maintain the upgrade path, so we didn’t face the same situation going forward.”

Nordstrom launched a new, upgraded version of Oracle solutions to form the foundation for its retail operations in Canada. The features and functionality provided within the latest Oracle applications mean the retailer can avoid customization, a change that paid off quickly when Nordstrom rolled out upgrades to its Canadian store systems just nine months after the first location opened in 2014. 

Another retailer using a single view of inventory to further its success is specialty brand Lids Sports Group, which operates 1,300 stores in North America and an online business. What makes the retailer unique is that its brick-and-mortar assortments are hyper-localized and feature products from regional favorites, as well as national teams. The brand recently needed to upgrade its inventory systems so that all of the regionally available sports memorabilia could be seen by a consumer shopping in any store nationwide or online.  

In April 2015, Lids rolled out Oracle Retail Order Broker, enabling the retailer to nearly double the number of product SKUs available for sale online by exposing inventory in all Lids stores as well as throughout its supply chain.

The new system gives associates and customers real-time, chain-wide inventory information whether products are sitting in a warehouse, an e-commerce distribution center, or on a store shelf hundreds of miles away. Employees can easily find available items and then ship them to customers’ homes or businesses, or to any store in the chain. The deployment also replaced end of the day inventory tracking with real-time views. 

Lids Sports Group Webcast Archive Link

“Oracle Retail solutions have made a dramatic difference in how we do business, both with regard to our internal systems and in relating to customers,” said Larry Havlik, VP , IT and systems, Lids Sports Group. “This is a significant step toward driving growth, by expanding the items we offer and giving customers the full benefit of our locations, in-store service, and e-commerce site.”

Previously this year Kevin Thompson, Director of Applications Development at Lids Sports Group shared the company's experience working with Oracle Retail Xstore Point-of-Service and Order Broker Cloud Service in a webcast. View the archive to hear their story

Thursday Jan 14, 2016

Keeping Pace With the Speed of Retail Technology

As retailers arrive today at NRF’s Big Show 2016, they will be met with displays of the latest, cutting-edge technology. And as each attendee embarks to fulfill unique agendas and goals, most will face the same underlying challenge: How to effectively manage perpetual upgrades to existing systems, even while layering in new business intelligence and customer facing systems. 

Now, more than ever, it is essential that retailers leverage embedded best practices and keep systems updated with the latest technology in order to maintain pace with the digital commerce world. Proof of this necessity was the role technology played in the unmatched e-commerce success of the 2015 holiday season. Retailers’ success during this busy shopping season hinged on their ability to read what was happening, in real-time, and respond quickly. For example, personalizing promotions influenced purchase decisions across mobile, online, in store and even call centers, as did visibility to inventory and the timeline for fulfillment.

And while this selling period may have only lasted nine weeks, the holidays make up a majority of the retailer’s fourth quarter sales and set the tone for the entire year. With less than 10 months leading up to the next holiday season, now is the time to assess back-end systems and make necessary upgrades well before go time.  

Upgrades can be a lengthy process, especially when working with legacy, internally developed or point solutions that are heavily customized. Vanilla is the flavor of the day.

Jill Standish, senior VP and general manager of Oracle Retail, notes that a combination of on-premises and cloud solutions offer retailers choice and the ability to make changes and complete IT initiatives faster. 

“That means keeping up with fast-changing consumer requirements and staying ahead of disruptive competition in the marketplace,” said Standish. 

Answering customers’ need for an easier way to fuel progress, the company has rolled out a complete range of its enterprise, marketing and retail-specific cloud services in Oracle Retail 15.  

Why Upgrade?

International fashion brand Perry Ellis asked that question in 2015 with Oracle Retail 14. The company first implemented Oracle solutions in 2006 to support expanding e-commerce and store operations. Then in release 12, the retailer used the systems to target pricing and promotions and grow its direct-to-consumer sales.  But over time, these systems required updates to accommodate increasingly more individualized customer services, mobile transactions and faster merchandising cycles.

When weighing the opportunity to upgrade, Perry Ellis made the commitment to deliver commerce anywhere experience in which inventory is available to fulfill customer purchases from any channel. The move also united Perry Ellis’ U.S. and European retail stores with a single global instance of Oracle Retail Merchandising System that serves both markets. Speed to value was critical to Perry Ellis, so the company teamed with Oracle and BTM Global to seamlessly upgrade its IT solutions, both online and in brick-and-mortar, in just six months. 

“The risk of doing nothing is we’ll be left behind,” said Sandeep Baghel, director of retail systems, Perry Ellis International, in an interview with Oracle. “We want to have the best IT systems available to support our business. We want to be available to customers wherever customers want us to be available. That will help us grow toward our future.”

This week at NRF 2016, Oracle is introducing the next set of innovation across the suite plus four new cloud services to give retailers access to the latest optimization and business analytics including merchandising financial planning, demand forecasting and customer segmentation solutions.  

All are part of the company’s latest release, Oracle Retail 15, which delivers cloud and on-premises solutions to help retailers more readily integrate existing legacy systems and new applications to deliver new value to the business. Oracle Retail 15 also includes updates to the Retail Reference Model featuring over 680 process flows that document industry best practices to jumpstart the implementation for retailers. 

Connect with us at booth 2521 this week at #NRF16. Learn more about demo options, networking and more


Monday Jan 04, 2016

4 Essential Considerations for Hassle-free, Low-risk Returns

According to NRF, retailers estimate holiday return fraud will cost $2.2 billion in 2015. Combine this number with the rise in online shopping this holiday season, of which 80% includes free return shipping, and you’ve got some significant revenue loss potential.


About $62 billion in goods bought between November and December 2015 will be returned, up 8% from the same period last year, with about a third of those items (more than $20 billion worth) purchased online, according to Customer Growth Partners.


A pain-free returns process is a vital part of the customer service experience and denying legitimate returns presents significant risk to customer loyalty. A well defined and managed returns process will enhance the customer experience while protecting the business from theft.


We asked Michael Colpitts, Solution Market Director, Stores & Commerce, Oracle Retail, to share his tips on how to achieve the right balance between fraud prevention and excellent customer service.


4 Essential Considerations for Hassle-free, Low-risk Returns


1. Plan for Unreceipted Returns

It is estimated that more than 13.4 percent of nonreceipted returns are fraudulent; unfortunately, you can't just deny all nonreceipted returns. Studies show that a customer's experience of returning merchandise is a key decision point in building loyalty and many of them expect to be able to return when and where they wish. So on one hand, you have to factor fraud cutting into the bottom line, and on the other hand you have to consider how a poor customer experience diminishes loyalty. Managing exceptions from your POS data allows loss prevention professionals to quickly flag recurring issues like unreceipted returns so that field investigators can prioritize investigations.


2. Leverage Automation to Ensure Compliance

It’s fine to write a policy statement and distribute it throughout your stores, but actually achieving compliance is another matter. That’s where automation becomes really important. You want a system in place that offers associates the right guidance during the execution of returns so that policy is adhered to, customer experience is consistent at every location, every time and employee knowledge of policies becomes widespread.


3. A Single View of the Customer is Critical

If your in-store POS and online sales data is siloed you are inevitably going to miss patterns. This is key because a customer’s return history is invaluable in determining the likelihood of fraud. Just as important, leveraging a central repository for all customer transactions enables you to convert a nonreceipted return into a receipted return by looking up the original transaction at the POS.


4. Look for Flexibility, Scale and Seamless Integrations

When selecting a technology solution always consider what the business will look like in 5, 10, 15 years and consider integration requirements with other solutions (both cloud and on-premises). The Oracle Retail Returns Management solution gives retailers the ability to create flexible returns policies that are fully integrated with the broader Oracle Retail Stores and Commerce solutions ensuring a consistent data set. Even the most complex policies are easy to create and manage with 40 built-in rules that evaluate the return. These rules incorporate all available criteria to determine how the return should be handled including presence of a receipt, customer return history, store location, item or brand being returned, condition of the item—and much more.


The Risk of Doing Nothing

As loss prevention technology adoption accelerates criminals strategically look for retailers that have manual processes and loop holes. For those who do not act, losses will inevitably accelerate. We’re helping retailers strike the right balance of risk mitigation and hassle free shopping experiences. Learn more at oracle.com/retail or drop us an email: oneretailvoice_ww@oracle.com.


For more information on retail fraud statistics and trends read NRF’s 2015 Consumer Returns in the Retail Industry report.




Monday Dec 21, 2015

Analyst Reports: IHL Market Studies Name Oracle Retail a Leader in POS Software for Hardgoods and Softgoods

Leading global research and advisory firm IHL recently released two new market studies (one focused on hardgoods and one focused on softgoods) and named Oracle Retail—specifically its flagship Oracle Retail Xstore Point-of-Service offering—the #1 overall provider for both types of retailers.

The studies examined specific aspects of point-of-service (POS) software used by hardgoods and softgoods retailers, including common core functionality, key economic and technological trends impacting the retail landscape, and vendor market share. They also looked at unique segment conditions affecting each type of retailer. Then, for the top 200 retailers, IHL identified and ranked their POS vendors in terms of total accounts, licenses, and revenues. This evaluation revealed Oracle’s leadership as a POS vendor for both hardgoods and softgoods retailers.

Commerce Anywhere and Oracle Retail Xstore Point-of-Service
With its acquisition of MICROS, Oracle inherited a wide range of POS solutions tailored to individual sectors and geographies. While continuing to support all of our stores solutions, Oracle Retail is investing in Oracle Retail Xstore Point-of-Service to help global retailers build strong customer loyalty in a commerce anywhere world. 

"Thanks to the easily scalable, extensible architecture of Oracle Retail Xstore Point-of-Service around the globe, retailers can speed upgrades and leverage deep integration with Oracle Retail's customer engagement, commerce platform, order brokering, store inventory management, and order management solutions," says Oracle Retail Senior Director, Stores Erick Rowe. 

Rich features and functionalities empower retail staff to provide memorable service levels, from seamless inventory visibility to the kind of customer insight that supports clienteling, gift registry, and targeted in-store promotions. 

Special Offer: Migration to Oracle Retail Xstore Point-of-Service
To help retailers adopt the next-generation Oracle Retail Xstore Point-of-Service, Oracle Retail is extending a special offer, available via sales representatives, that protects customers' current license investments, while speeding and simplifying the migration process. The program includes:

  • Licensing credits. Many retailers will be eligible to apply credits from their current licensing agreements towards adoption of Oracle Retail Xstore Point-of-Service.
  • Streamlined migration. Oracle Retail has worked with partners and its own consulting organization to create scripts and process maps to speed migration from retailers' transitional solutions to the strategic platform that Oracle Retail Xstore Point-of-Service provides.
  • Modular adoption. Oracle Retail Xstore Point-of-Service has been engineered to integrate with the other key Oracle Retail solutions that support commerce anywhere operations. Oracle is helping retailers build a modular strategy, beginning with addressing key pain points, as they move toward a comprehensive commerce anywhere solution.

Global Omnichannel Commerce in Action
To understand how Oracle Retail Xstore Point-of-Service fits into Oracle's larger strategy for global, omnichannel commerce, retailers can contact Oracle Retail to schedule a viewing of the new Oracle Retail global omnichannel demo. The demo will also be showcased at the National Retail Federation Annual Convention & EXPO in Oracle’s booth, #2521. 

The demo reveals the unified, state-of-the-art architecture that synchronizes all of the following solutions to support commerce anywhere:

Read the IHL market studies for hardgoods and softgoods

Learn more about Oracle's special offer to migrate to Oracle Retail Xstore Point-of-Service via your Oracle Retail sales representative.

Schedule a viewing of the Oracle Retail global omnichannel demo

Friday Dec 04, 2015

Develop a Five Point Plan toward Retail Transparency

An excerpt from our new E-Book "Retail Transparency" by Michael Colpitts and Corey Gale

While retailers scramble to manage the impact of omnichannel on their operations, the way they communicate with customers, and the methods they use to promote their products and reward loyal shoppers, many have neglected to consider what will likely be the most profound change of all: the overall impact of omnichannel data transparency.

Omnichannel is destined to transform every aspect of the retail industry, including the store—its design and layout, the inclusion of mobile point- of-sale and clienteling systems, the impact of transparent inventory and what that means for fulfillment, a single view of the customer and its implications for loyalty programs, and even the physical location of stores. Retailers must stay ahead of the omnichannel curve if they expect to remain competitive in the race for customers in a commerce anywhere world, and that contest begins at the brick-and-mortar store. 

Considering the trends, technologies and desire to mitigate risk, how should retailers proceed with a commerce anywhere strategy that blends bricks with mobility? Retailers should focus on the five points below when developing plans:

  1. Retailers have spent decades trying to connect their brands with consumers, to bring them into the store. Now retailers must digitally connect and converge their physical stores with consumer devices to enable shoppers to find the brand, which requires intelligent investment in digital technology.

  2. Traditional point-of-sale is giving way to immersive engagement with shoppers from the time they are considering a purchase, through the in-store shopping and selection experience, payment and delivery. This commerce anywhere reality requires new systems and procedures inside the store.

  3. Associates must become tech-savvy consultants to consumers, elevating themselves beyond transactional interactions, which will ultimately pay dividends in the form of customer loyalty, same- store-sales and basket size.

  4. Increasingly, stores will become an intermediate stop for retail transactions. The experience will begin on the consumer’s mobile phone or tablet, continue through a mobile-device-driven consultation and selection phase in the store, and be completed on a mobile POS for the consumer to take with them or schedule for home delivery.

  5. Many retailers may be investing in technology hesitantly, while they wait to see what technology and trends will be the winners. But a smarter strategy for achieving omnichannel transparency and greater functionality is to incrementally employ cloud services to quickly and cost effectively achieve commerce anywhere goals.

Monday Nov 09, 2015

Shoe Carnival Selects Oracle Retail Customer Engagement Cloud Services

With growing sales across its more than 400 stores and e-commerce site, family footwear retailer Shoe Carnival is implementing Oracle Retail Customer Engagement Cloud Services to transform its “ShoePerks” loyalty program. The Oracle Retail solution is part of a larger strategic marketing push at Shoe Carnival, and will make it easier for the loyalty program managers to customize and enhance offers, roll out new promotions, and drive sales in stores and online.

Shoe Carnival will use the loyalty program to better understand its customers’ purchase behaviors and segment shoppers by VIP, first-time buyer, and other categories that will help to match the right promotion with the right shopper at the right time. Shoe Carnival will leverage Oracle Retail Customer Engagement Cloud Services to support key aspects of its customer marketing, segmentation and loyalty awards operations. More specifically, Shoe Carnival plans to implement Oracle Retail Customer Management and Segmentation Foundation and Oracle Retail Loyalty and Awards Cloud Services.

We look forward to Shoe Carnival’s success. Become part of the Shoe Carnival customer community, check out www.shoecarnival.com and take time to browse the new winter selections. 

Friday Oct 30, 2015

Reporting from Oracle OpenWorld: Real-Time Inventory the Key to Commerce Anywhere

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.

Whatever selling strategies retailers choose, they have to have access to what’s in stock.

Oracle OpenWorld’s retail sessions launched Monday, Oct 26, with a General Session discussing Commerce Anywhere strategies, including a case study examining how international wireless carrier and retailer Vodafone streamlined its enterprise solutions to cut integration costs and improve inventory control.

“The term omnichannel is overused and ill-defined but it captures what happens from a holistic brand perspective,” said Jill Puleri, senior vice president and general manager of Oracle’s retail global business. “All it means is how a customer can interact with your brand.”

Each brand must define omnichannel or ‘Commerce Anywhere” on its own terms, she said, by personalizing the customer experience, offering convenient options for delivery, and accepting new types of payments. But most of all, Commerce Anywhere depends on real-time visibility of inventory. “The battleground is going to be around inventory,” Puleri said.

Review the Oracle Retail Keynote from Oracle OpenWorld from the Oracle Retail RACK: Oracle Retail State of Union & General Session

Across Channels, Across the World

Commerce Anywhere isn’t only about shopping, agreed Mukesh Nakra, associate vice president of the tech consulting company and Oracle partner Infosys Limited—it’s about mastering company data and the supply chain. And businesses are eager to adopt real-time inventory systems to expand worldwide. “Everyone wants to grow global,” he said.

For example, Infosys recently helped a university bookstore chain with 1,100 outlets manage the sale, rental and exchange of textbooks, using Oracle solutions to furnish the chain with a common view of inventory and tools to forecast demand.

But integrating the solutions necessary to handle inventory and meet customers where they want to be is an ongoing challenge, Nakra said. Even a point-of-sale system can be difficult to overhaul, he said—and so, too, is winning acceptance from stakeholders accustomed to legacy systems.

Here is the link to the Infosys presentation: Infosys: The Future of Retail

Vodafone: Building a New Legacy

U.K.-based wireless company Vodafone knows these challenges all too well. With 12,852 owned and franchised shops in Europe, Australia, Africa and Asia, the company was spending as much as 70 percent of its IT budget on software integration three years ago. “Moving the needle” just a bit with an “agile” software deployment could save millions, said Paul Booth, the company’s global technology head of Terminal Logistics.

The company launched a plan to streamline its system functions, and deployed it quickly in South Africa. But in the second year, deployment to other territories stalled, and stores were clamoring for new product. “It was like a bear pit—there was the product itself, and all these dogs just yapping at it all of the time,” Booth said. “Nobody could get anything done.”

With Infosys, he launched a “9-6-1” plan to speed Oracle solution deployment in Vodafone markets worldwide in just nine months. Since introducing the plan, Vodafone has been able to streamline the delivery of inventory and improve demand forecasting for stores in South Africa, Greece, Spain and the U.K., where it delivers an average of 37,000 handsets per day.

The solution ultimately helped Vodafone slash inventories by 15 percent worldwide, and the company expects a 1 percent increase in sales this year thanks its enhanced promotion and pricing capabilities—and that’s a lot for a company with £42.2 billion ($64.7 billion) in revenues for fiscal 2015. Selling stakeholders was the biggest hurdle in the process, Booth said: “It boiled down to trust.”

Emphasizing Oracle’s built-in best practices can also help retail IT leaders to embrace a new deployment and move their companies forward, Puleri added. “This is how retailers are doing it,’” she said. “Here’s how it works now, and here’s how you can do it a different way.”

Download the full presentation for Vodafone: Vodafone: The Future of Retail “TAPaS”


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

About


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




Oracle Industry Connect 2016


Stay Connect with Oracle Retail


Search

Archives
« May 2016
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
25
26
27
28
29
30
31
    
       
Today