SAP’s highlights and commentary on the conference:
SAP had a huge, multi-level booth at NRF that marketed its current Retail strategy: to focus on customer-centric solutions, build out and up from its HANA in-memory database technology, expand cloud-based computing and extend its mobility solutions.
Nancy Casey is VP of Retail Industry Solution Management
Our differentiator when we’re working with this sector is how we drive customer insight to build a real-time, personalized experience. SAP traditionally has a name in ERP, in financial order management, and so on, and so it’s been a major shift for us, focusing on deep insights and analytics and how you can influence purchasing behavior.
Planners in retail used to be very siloed in their thinking. What I think is really exciting now is that we’re able to take that data and syphon it into the planning process with in-depth information, so that they can learn so much about the consumer.
Everything’s tracked: what they say about you on social media, what’s in their market basket. That’s our concept of localized global services: knowing how people of a particular demographic in a particular zip code usually shop and why. That’s real-time information that you can get in a daily or weekly report.
Lori Mitchell-Keller, SVP and SAP’s Head of Global Retail for the Industry Business Unit (IBU)
There are two or three big things that retailers are trying to do. First is becoming much more agile in this new world of omni-channel that they already exist in. Several years ago, we started talking about omni-channel where retailers were looking at using a mix of physical stores, online presences and mobile technologies to better serve their customers.
But the second stage is what I like to call ‘omni-commerce’, where you see the channels interact with each other: I buy online, I return in store or pick up in store. I’m in the store, but they don’t have the product so I order online from my phone, and so on. Those channels have really started interacting, and I think that’s where most retailers are, or should be.
But I think that consumers are now at a different place, which I like to call the ‘omni-customer’. Consumers certainly want multiple channels from which to buy their favorite brands, and they want to have those various channels to interact, but they also want brands to be very consistent across those channels so that they have a common culture, a common brand experience.
Next, they want that brand to understand them – to know what they like and what they buy, to suggest things, to give them relevant promotions and upsell opportunities that are unique to them.
You know, I love it when I go on one of the world’s largest ecommerce sites and I’m told ‘Other people who looked at this bought these things’. And I always think, ‘I don’t care what other people looked at. Help me to understand what I might like to look at, based on what I’ve looked at in the past.
This is where CAR comes in, SAP’s Customer Activity Repository, a foundation system that collects transactional data from multiple sources into a single container – and which, importantly, doesn’t force retailers to change their underlying systems. As long as they have online and inventory systems that can push data into CAR, they can use SAP’s technology – even if they’re not SAP customers.