Finally! A Retail revival, but for whom?

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Two years ago I wrote about the struggles of the retail industry in my article “Retail is dead! Long live Retail”, it’s nice to see some of the predictions in this article come true! Time to reflect and see what’s next.

The US retail market, the bellwether of the industry, has finally started growing again. Retail sales are surging, up 6.4% YOY from last year this July. Store closures are down 22%.

The growth is being led by Retailers who are getting the consumer back, bringing e-commerce like service to their customers, with click and collect and curb-side pickups, concierge services, frictionless returns, store to home deliveries, and many other services. While physical retail is back, e-commerce continues to grow, interestingly a major part of this digital growth is being driven by retail giants like Walmart.

At the same time, we are seeing a number of brands and retailers heading down the slippery slope. Some of them household names. The market is clearly being divided into those who will make it and those who will not. These retailers have closed unprofitable stores, cut costs, reduced manpower, rejigged their pricing and merchandise, yet they are not able to make it out of the downward spiral. So what is the reason? Since we work with retailers across 22 countries and see some of our customers and friends in both categories, we can clearly see the difference in their approach. Some retailers see technology investments and related service costs as a necessary evil, they do not see them as strategic tools to help them win this wave of transformation both in the industry and the minds of consumers. These are the retailers who are endangered, though they can still turn around if they change their mindsets.

On the other had there are a number of retailers who are quietly embarking on large internal projects to change the way they work with consumers and the service levels they provide, transforming their technology and online presence, bringing Omni-channel and self-service initiatives to the table and using smart ways to price right and brand right and promote the right products to the right consumers. They have brought in change in their existing teams and brought on board a number of new retail experts, worked closely and deeply with technology and supply chain partners, malls and banks to bring about the transformation that’s required. They are making great progress and have a shot at winning the retail race.

The race is still open, and like in any race, there will be winners and losers. May the best retailers win!

This article has been written by:

mr-naresh-ahujaNaresh Ahuja, Chairman and CEO, ETP Group

Naresh as the Founder, Chairman and CEO of the ETP Group leads the company with a clear focus on bringing enduring value to customers through best practices mirrored in software applications. Spanning 30 years of focus on retail domain expertise and IT development, ETP today, has a strong customer base of market leaders in more than 22 countries across Asia Pacific, India and the Middle East, and is Asia’s leading Omni-channel Retail Software company.

 

Luxasia Goes Live with ETP Omni-channel Solution

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ETP Group is proud to announce that Luxasia, the leading omni-channel partner for beauty and luxury lifestyle brand distribution, retail, and e-commerce in Asia Pacific, has gone live successfully with ETP’s Omni-channel Retail Solutions in “Freyja”, its new community beauty hub in the Philippines, with the ETP V5.5 POS, Mobile POS and Omni-channel Connect software successfully integrated with its online store, CRM and ERP.

The Omni-channel Transformation of Retail Businesses at ETP #Futuretail, Philippines

ETP #Futuretail, Philippines

ETP Group, Asia’s leading Omni-channel Retail Solutions company hosted senior representatives from Philippines’ leading retail organizations to discuss future challenges and opportunities in an ever-changing retail landscape. The key discussion, “The Omni-channel Transformation of Retail Businesses in the Philippines”, was led by team ETP, including Mr. Naresh Ahuja, Chairman and CEO, Mr. Stephen Dodgson, Principal Management Consultant and Mr. Heherson Uy, National Sales Director – Philippines.

The discussion was part of the ETP #Futuretail 2018 event held at the Fairmont hotel in Makati, recently. Mr. Heherson welcomed the ETP #Futuretail guests and Mr. Stephen Dodgson shared an overview of ETP’s growing presence in Asia. Mr. Naresh Ahuja then shared insights on the growth of the Philippine retail industry in the context of Asia Pacific and the transition of traditional retail to modern retail, e-commerce and omni-channel retail.

Mr. Naresh Ahuja presented key growth data of retail sales in Asia in the coming years. He highlighted the significance of the retail space per capita in the Asian retail market. The presentation also shed light on the abundant opportunities at hand for the retailers in this dynamic region by adopting an omni-channel strategy for their businesses.

ETP then presented a live demonstration of ETP’s Omni-channel Retail Solutions during which, audience members were invited to come forth and personally experience the omni-channel journey by purchasing goods online and instantly collecting them from a pop-up store, setup exclusively for the event.  The audience also witnessed ETP’s Endless Aisle, Click and Collect and Click and Deliver solutions live, completing the O2O journey.

ETP will continue to drive the omni-channel transformation of retail businesses across Asia-Pacific, India and the Middle-East.

Why managing inventory the right way matters?

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Technology has completely transformed the way people make purchases. From online marketplaces to brick-and-mortar stores, retailers tend to implement innovative measures to better cater to the needs of customers. They incorporate promotion planning, customer analytics, and mobile payments to enhance the shopping experience. But, one thing that forms the backbone of retailing is somehow neglected in the entire retail chain. Yes, we are talking about inventory.

Managing inventory is not just a single task encompassing certain limited activities; it is a process that involves some complex calculations such as sell through rate, inventory turnover ratio, GMROI among others. It is an uphill task to perform the aforementioned calculations, which in turn makes it difficult for retailers to manage their inventory. Retailers require a tool that bridges the gap between brick-and-mortar stores and marketplaces, and provides them with a single, simple, and holistic view of the inventory.

One such powerful tool is ETP Connect – a robust, multifunctional, and comprehensive tool that connects the brick-and-mortar stores with the ecommerce sites and marketplaces. It provides real time updates to the stores and head office of the retailers about the purchases being made both offline and online. Whenever a purchase is made through website or marketplaces, ETP Connect routes the information to the head office, where the designated authority can view the immediate effect on the inventory in real time.

Also, since retailers get access to real time data, it simplifies their task of computing complex inventory calculations, thus enabling them to take timely decisions to further speed up their entire retailing process. The effects of this are manifested in the form of satisfactory customer experiences and a robust bottom line.

ETP Connect is a one stop solution for leading retailers to end their inventory management woes, by enabling them to better plan their business strategies. It also allows retailers to have a unified view of customers, endless aisle, and features such as Click and Collect, and Click and Deliver. Put an end to all your retail woes by implementing a futuristic and powerful ETP Connect and embrace the omni-channel transformation the right way.

How Do You WOW Your Customers?

– Ross Stokes

ETP Blog
[Image courtesy: Bain & Company]
 Ever since I’ve been spending my “pocket money” I’ve been a collector of retail stories and experiences.  There’s only 2 primary experiences that stick in the memory…  Both involve a WOW

WOW, that was awesome, I’m so happy!!

… and I want to go back and experience that again and share it with my friends, orWOW, that was horrible and can’t believe I wasted my time and money!!! … and I never want to ever experience that again and I don’t want anyone else to have to experience it either.

What MEMORIES are being CREATED?
I remember going into my favourite sports store as a kid and being welcomed by the owner like his buddy. He knew what sports I played, always had a new racquet to show me and would give me the “secret” details of why this was the one to have. He made it his business to know me and what I liked.  That was over 40 years ago and I still remember those special days when I got to visit his store of sporting treasures with my savings to happily buy my next racquet.  He knew the value of caring enough and making a connection.10 years ago I visited the Louis Vuitton store in Paris with some friends.  What a WOW experience.  We were given a guided tour and a lot of attention while our group browsed and tried on shoes.  We were made to feel special in a store designed to evoke a feeling of WOW.
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[Image courtesy: highsnobiety.com]

I walked out of there with a new pair shoes, not the best value for money shoes I’ve bought but definitely the most memorable pair.

So did I buy just a pair of shoes OR did I buy an experience wrapped into a pair of shoes?   Even after 10 years when I put on those shoes on I still get reminded of my time in Paris and that LV store experience. Buying is an emotional experience.

We all have horror stories and memories from bad retail purchases and store experiences.

These experiences are the antithesis of building customer loyalty and have a negative impact on a retailers profitability, particularly in today’s connected world of social media where stories and experiences are shared instantly.
I believe a retailers return policy experience is usually a good insight into how they value our loyalty.  They can choose to make a WOW experience that has us coming back for more or saying “never again!”.  There is no excuse using today’s technology for this to be a negative experience.
All these WOW experiences and the mediocrity in between are the result of people.  When leaders are engaged at all levels of a retail business, magic can happen.

Bain has written an article “A Fresh Look At Store Labor”

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The article highlights “Winners adapt their store labor model to what matters most to customers, they zero-base their operations instead of relying on what worked for them in the past, and they are systematic in mobilizing store labor for the required changes in behaviors, activities and processes.”

They include 8 useful starter questions to help a retailer explore whether they are empowering their store operations.

Are Store Staff Enabled and Empowered?
When I go into a store I’m always interested to see who is more informed about the products…  the store staff or me.  The irony is that most store staff have the technology skills and often the devices to be well informed and educated so they can add value to the customer experience however its not the norm.  Often store staff are distracted on their smart phones or the POS browser and the customer isn’t their focus.
The essence of retailing hasn’t changed.   Give a customer a positive WOW experience and they will reciprocate with their loyalty and cash!  Online retailers have used technology to set new benchmarks in customer experience. Taking what is that essence, putting the customer at the center of their business and making it the best, most seamless buying experience possible.

Nothing new other than the enabling technology.

The right technology solution with training can turn stores into 
productive, profitable WOW experiences.  

This article has been written by:
Ross Stokes, Regional Director, ASEAN-ANZ, ETP Group

 

Ross brings a diverse corporate and personal set of experiences to his role of Regional Director, Asia Pacific, for ETP. His business experience aids in understanding the various challenges retail owners and executives experience while growing their business and successfully supporting their desire to improve retail management processes and systems to achieve optimal profitability.

ETP Group – Getting It Right In Retail

In 2014, 50,000 retail associates used ETP Retail Software Solutions to serve 180,000,000 consumers, selling USD 15,000,000,000 of merchandise. Over 300 global brands in 20 countries, across 10 time-zones, in 200+ cities, at 25,000+ stores, in 5 languages, run on ETP. More than 500 enterprise software projects were successfully implemented for leading retailers throughout Asia Pacific.

Founded in 1988, ETP Group is a leading retail software solutions company headquartered in Singapore with a presence in 20 countries across Asia Pacific and the Middle East. ETP’s value proposition is its ability to create innovative retail software solutions, to deliver domain expertise through its  best practices knowledge base and expert team of consultants adding up to 1800 man years of retail expertise in various retail verticals: Apparel, Fashion Footwear, Sports Goods, Luggage and Hand Bags, Time Pieces, Luxury Goods, Mobile Phones and Accessories, Electronics and Multimedia Communications, Furniture and Home Furnishings, Jewelry and more.

ETP’s Retail Software Solution – ETP V5 is an enterprise class, scalable and secure platform for large to mid-sized retailers. ETP V5 includes forward looking innovations in omni channel store solutions, marketing campaigns and CRM, supply chain management and warehousing, merchandise planning, assortment planning and OTB with powerful analytics solutions. With a simple and user-friendly interface and a range of mobile, social media and web apps, it is tuned to the new generation of retail employees.

ETP’s 25 years in the retail space has resulted in ETP building a powerful and solid domain expertise, demonstrable through its renowned best practices templates, which are used during the implementation of the ETP V5 solution. Companies looking for advanced technology to improve their business efficiencies and a long term, stable partner find value in ETP.

International Retail Expansion In India

India dominates the future plans of most CXOs of global enterprises around the world. This is especially due to the new pro-business government inclined to push past facial foreign engagement which was adopted most of the last decade. Serious steps and calibrated operations are put in place to create an internationally savvy, productive ecosystem for major industries like retail, technology, hospitality, manufacturing etc. Most international businesses are planning to accelerate existing operations or enter into fertile ventures in the country. As an emerging market strategy, India accounts for a large chunk of their capital allocation, largely due to the educated, abundant and young work force with proficient skill-sets from manufacturing, engineering to creative arts and life sciences.

“India is blessed with a greater degree of persistence than the average emerging market (EM) when it comes to portfolio inflows. During the market ‘taper tantrums’ last year and in the more recent October correction, India suffered outflows along with other EM equity and debt markets. But recovery in portfolio flows after each disruption has tended to come sooner and more convincingly in India’s case than for other emerging markets.” says Geoff Lewis, Executive Director-Global Market Strategist, JPMorgan AMC in Money Today – December 2014.

Indian Retail Sector is continuing to grow despite irregular global economic trends. A.T. Kearney, a global consultancy firm, has ranked India as the fourth most attractive nation for retail investment among 30 emerging markets. The Business Monitor International India Retail report has estimated that the total retail sales in India will grow from US$ 411 billion in 2011 to US$ 804 billion by 2015. Robust economic growth, high disposable income with the end-consumer and rapid construction of organized retail infrastructure are key factors behind the forecast.

A panel of retailers and market experts will discuss the challenges and growth opportunities for international retail in India at the Retail Congress Asia Pacific 2015. ETP Group is proud to be the  Key Partner  at the Retail Congress Asia Pacific 2015.

Why You Need To Be Pro-Phygital In Retail

The term ‘Phygital’ is derived from the existing and emerging technology which employs the concept of bridging the gap between the physical and digital world, through convenient and interactive experiences.

In retail, phygital signifies the convergence of the physical and digital marketplace which helps brands and enterprises to engage customers on a broader spectrum and create a retail ecosystem which is truly seamless.

To cite a couple of examples, Tesco’s Homeplus pioneered the virtual supermarket where consumers scan the QR code of the product they’d like and the item is automatically added to an online shopping cart. Post payment through the secured mobile app, shoppers can continue towards home to find a bag of groceries on their doorstep. Brazilian fashion retailer C&A created a store with real-time “likes” counters on its clothes hangers. The like data was taken from C&A’s Facebook page where the clothes were listed for people to interact with, allowing customers at the store to see how many people online think that a particular product was a good buy.

The last couple of years have shown us the phygital marketplace is teeming with opportunities and retailers have just begun to explore and execute the same. In many ways, it is the organic evolution of the omni channel retail space with a multi-dimensional approach to not just increase customer reach and revenue but also create experiences that weave themselves perfectly into the customers’ lives.

Charles Darwin said, “It is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive but those who can best manage change.” Shoppers today have adapted to change and traversed onto the interchangeable, interdependent and integrated multiple channels of retail.

Global leaders in retail will engage and exchange their perspective and ideas on the evolution of phygital retailing at the Retail Congress Asia Pacific 2015. ETP Group is proud to be the Key Partner at the Retail Congress Asia Pacific 2015.