14 Sep Sunday Business Post: ICT in Retail
‘ICT in Retail: Real-time data is key to retailing success’
Sunday Business Post 03:55, 30 August 2015 by Ross O’Neill
Retailers have begun driving sales growth though personalisation campaigns, which are only effective in conjunction with the insights of an outsourced cloud-based infrastructure
In the past decade, the average Irish retailer has become increasingly pressured from large format discounters offering their product ranges in non-traditional digital spaces.
But at Celtech Software Group, one of Ireland’s leading innovators in real-time retail systems, the scope now is to offer a number of solutions to add an extra dimension of convenience to retailers from corporate to local level.
“Convenience is fighting back and, to do this successfully, retailers are investing for the future and focusing on in-store core retailing activities,” said Alan Victory, head of finance and internal operations in Celtech.
“There has been a shift to allow local store management to have ownership of daily stock ordering, to empower local management, while still keeping ultimate control of the stock ordering and replenishment activities at head office level, within certain parameters.”
Batch file processing has been a standard practice across the retail sector and for the most part has been fine for financial reports of last week’s sales and historical stock reports. But with technology being offered by companies like Celtech, information is being delivered that is becoming more and more useful for progressive retail management teams.
Victory said that by taking the day-to-day management activities out of local stores, in conjunction with outsourcing from head-office, retailers on a local level can begin to focus primarily on their customers’ in-store requirements.
Strides in this form of efficiency are a vital ingredient in reducing wastage and costs across retail channels.
“We have seen gains from 10 per cent to 15 per cent regularly, and even as high up as 50 per cent in some categories” said Victory.
“A large supermarket chain in the UK recently reduced its stock holding by over half a million in a three-month period using real-time systems stock replenishment, from a single grocery category alone, achieving a 200 per cent category cash return-on-investment within the year.”
It’s not surprising that forward-thinking retailers are approaching Celtech with a willingness to invest even during hard times to help tightened the gap with online competitors.
By leveraging information from these real-time systems, a retailer is able to deliver clarity on management insights and thus is able to react to market trends instantly across a spectrum of products.
Victory makes the case that even through traditional marketing methods such as coupons or the increasingly popular loyalty cards, an enterprise-wide system is needed as retailers have begun driving sales growth though personalisation campaigns, which are only effective in conjunction with the insights of an outsourced cloud-based infrastructure.
Victory warned that “retailers need to be aware of investing into legacy architectures, with distributed stand-alone systems, that don’t handle the whole spectrum that’s required in managing retail information insights to the point of customer sale execution. Retailers can deliver huge efficiencies internally and reduce costs accordingly.”
The end goal is to allow retailers make decisions quickly and Celtech retail systems can help gain a march on competitors in the market.
“You can see these benefits easily in terms of fresh produce orders for example, where stock-outs or over-ordering creates either lost sales or wastage issues quickly, and making a decision tomorrow is too late to rectify the situation,” explained Victory.
“New product releases is another area where critical decisions need to be made immediately. For example, to quickly lock-in extra stock orders where sales rise ahead of expectations leading to potential stock-outs.”
Information has always been the primary source of power for business and with an ever-changing marketplace, especially in retail, investment today has never been so important for retailers.
Celtech is a world-class retail software company that is renowned for inventing true real-time retail.
Its pioneering core product, ab-initio, is regarded as the ‘future of retail’.
It is the only solution which gives retailers total visibility over their stock, sales and cash reporting, in true real-time. ab-initio fully integrates with its own set of best in class product modules which offer retailers every function they need to create winning customer experiences.
Its customers benefit from seeing how their business is performing in real-time, and take inspired action to save money, optimise operations and sell more product through intelligent reporting.
For more information: Visit us on www.celtechgroup.com or phone us at +353 1 855 8200