Oliver Guy

Global Industry Director - Retail, Software AG

Specializing in industry strategy, digital transformation and omni-channel technology strategy, Oliver advises companies across the globe on their technology strategy and decisions.

Oliver is an industry strategy specialist with 20 years’ experience driving value for leading technology vendors and their customers across supply chain, operations, channels and digital transformation across all types of retail.
He is an innovative thought leader with a track record of collaboratively defining strategic go-to-market approaches and aligning solution capabilities to market needs to ensure solution relevance.

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Oliver Guy is Global Industry Director at Software AG, specialising in Digital Transformation and unified commerce technology strategy, Oliver advises retailers across the globe on their technology strategy and decisions. With more than 20 years focused in technology, Oliver has worked with major names in global retail helping them improve their business through the use of innovative technology. Prior to joining Software AG, Oliver was part of the European Management team at Oracle Retail – his team being responsible for Retail focused Solution Consulting across Europe. Oliver started his career in technology implementing Supply Chain Planning and Optimisation solutions for customers across multiple industries in both Europe and Asia Pacific with Manugistics (JDA).
  • Posted on: 04/23/2019

    Are secondhand sales the right branding move for Neiman Marcus?

    Awesome -- very brave to be first-mover in this way but it is likely to be a growing market. Luxury brands are investing in this way - Richemont recently purchased a pre-owned watch retailer to tap into the market. The difficulty is that this is a new business model - it requires new people skills, processes and systems in order to support. Systems to support are not readily available in the marketplace so they have to be built.
  • Posted on: 04/23/2019

    Is it time to push the ‘go faster’ button on cloud computing?

    I feel there is huge danger of cloud being seen as a "silver bullet" to solve all problems. I have seen cloud move from being an area of concern for central IT (as "shadow IT" started to use cloud services) to being seen as a way to focus on core business and have someone else deal with the hardware. The dominance of AWS has led to concerns -- but this is becoming less so as more choice appears. Cloud offers huge possibilities for retailers to add new capabilities and differentiate themselves without the risk of having to replace all on-premise systems. This makes integration (from on-premise to cloud, cloud to cloud) absolutely critical and central to everything (the smart people of saw this and this is why they paid so much for the acquisition of Mulesoft). The difficulty is, ensuring that neither use of cloud or your integration strategy constrains you in any way. You need to be able to avoid being "locked in" -- restricted to only use certain clouds or not being able to connect application in cloud A to application in cloud B.
  • Posted on: 04/23/2019

    Why is Petco doubling down on same-day delivery with Shipt and Instacart?

    Consumers want convenience to make up for our struggles with organisation in our ever busy lives -- and pet supplies are no different, the need for something urgently comes up all the time. Same day delivery will be a differentiation element until every retailer offers it. Consumers will start to expect it the way they expect retailers to sell online in the first place. Relationships with Shipt & Instacart are yet more examples of retail ecosystem establishing ... something I am really passionate about. However the relationships work (or don't work) depending on the timely and accurate sharing of data -- meaning technologies like B2B integration and API management are going to need some significant focus.
  • Posted on: 04/17/2019

    Will livestream shopping take off in the U.S.?

    Given the prominence of TV shopping and the rise of Instagram-based shopping (and other social based commerce) I see no reason why this should not be very popular - especially among Generation Z. Using existing platforms makes a lot of sense to me as they have the audience and technology - although paying to get attention may cost quite a bit.
  • Posted on: 04/17/2019

    Apple owns the checkout at Decathlon’s sporting goods store

    Great idea - avoids the need for queue busting. However I wonder if there could be a security challenge - given that a customer could be at the rear of the store when they pay for their goods, it could become challenging to determine what a customer has (and has not) paid for as they walk through the store and towards the exit.
  • Posted on: 04/12/2019

    Should retailers worry that secondhand apparel is flooding the market?

    The term vintage in relation to clothing has been used for some time and consumers are looking more and more to rental and second hand - often for financial reasons. This is starting to be taken seriously in the luxury sector - Stella McCartney has moved in this area. This is likely to trickle down. The business implications are huge in that it generates the need for complete re-engineering of merchandise and supply chain processes. A key question is, do systems exist in order to support this? The answer is "unlikely" - as this is a completely new business model.
  • Posted on: 04/12/2019

    Why consumers are breaking bonds with their favorite brands

    This is an amazing phenomenon. It illustrates how Gen X and Gen Z no longer follow older generations. What I do see as highly relevant here is that these emerging brands all have something in common - they either offer something different or highlight something different. This could be that they solve a problem for the consumer (the hassle of re-purchasing blades - Dollar Shave Club) or they focus on ethical credentials (Ben & Jerry's ice cream). "Legacy" brands may not need to change the product - just how it is delivered or messaged. What is interesting is that another approach is to buy the emerging brand out - Unilever did with the two examples above. However - what they don't seem to have done is expand the credentials or know how to expand other parts of the organization.
  • Posted on: 04/10/2019

    Will Walmart clean up with its robotic workforce?

    I love the approach. Ocado is a big user of robotic technology - albeit in a grocery warehouse rather than a customer facing store - many would argue that their proposition would not be possible without robotics. I love the way Walmart is jumping into this - bringing it into the norm.
  • Posted on: 04/09/2019

    Will Alexa earbuds advance Amazon’s virtual assistant ambitions?

    Fascinating. What I have always really struggled with is how alternatives to Apple products are priced, i.e. very high. I am thinking non Apple smart phones that appear to be priced in a similar way. This offers Amazon a way to get into the Apple ecosystem of users, but to win over iPhone users they must offer a significant price advantage over Apple to make up for the potential additional hassle of connecting. But also to divert people away from the likes of Jabra, RHA, AKG etc, they need to consider price as well. Alexa may well be a differentiation but only for people who are not eternally frustrated getting Alexa to interact with a non Amazon kit at home. (The Guy household is continually frustrated getting Alexa to work properly with Sonos).
  • Posted on: 04/08/2019

    Retailers still haven’t solved last mile challenges for fresh foods

    A key challenge has got to be reducing delivery costs and increasing drop density is a key way to address this. Addressing this is difficult without making it less convenient for the consumer. There are some examples where it has been increased - Picnic in the Netherlands for example where they have a "milkround" type approach - but this means consumers are highly restricted as to when product is delivered.
  • Posted on: 04/08/2019

    Will Amazon, CVS or Walgreens win the speedy Rx delivery race?

    This is going to be huge ... the convenience factor of being able to "click" when drugs are running out for them to be replenished provides an opportunity for removal of friction - offer it to the consumer and they will engage. A vast proportion of the population take prescribed medication -- the process of renewal could be call the doctor request repeat, after so many days visit the pharmacy. Changing this to one click and they are delivered is a huge bonus for consumers.
  • Posted on: 04/08/2019

    Can subscription retail solve its retention problem?

    What fascinates me about this whole business model is the metrics. A traditional retailer moving into this arena will still deliver standard metrics to their shareholders -- sales and profit. The question is, will it be the same for a subscription only retailer? My logic here is that the best know type of subscription business -- telecommunications providers (think Vodafone, Sprint) routinely report ARPU (average revenue per user) and churn rates when providing details to shareholders. Measures focus behaviour and reporting these mean that actions taken by the organisaiton will be focused this way. ARPU and Churn, or their equivalents, need to be measures of note.
  • Posted on: 04/05/2019

    Kellogg pilots virtual reality merchandising solution

    This is awesome. A true practical application of this technology. However we have to remember that when you try to measure something, the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle suggest that you cannot measure it without impacting the result. In this case, placing a headset on someone’s head you automatically tell them (subconsciously) that you are monitoring what they look at -- which might influence their behaviour. A great first step -- this will become more interesting when you are able to track this from the shelf out, using cameras to track where customers look. The trick then is to make it actionable -- responding in real-time and ensuring the insights can be used across the business to drive decision making around price, promotion and other factors.
  • Posted on: 04/04/2019

    Will IKEA become the world’s largest furniture rental outlet?

    As a new business model this has phenomenal potential. There are so many situations where people need furniture for a limited time. What becomes interesting however is how "heavy duty" the furniture would need to be to be rented out because it could be moved between locations more frequently than typical domestic furniture. A bigger challenge will be how to support this from a technology and business process perspective. Application software to support this simply does not exist -- they will have to create composite applications in order to enable this. Integration technology will become a massive focus for them.
  • Posted on: 04/03/2019

    Harris Teeter tests self-checkout store

    Interesting ... the theft associated with these terminals is really underestimated. I read a piece last week that talked about how retail theft is on the rise partly due to this. Statistics included 200 thefts per hour from grocers in the UK. What is needed however is first class supervision of the terminals -- this also helps with customer satisfaction. People are always the weak point in technology change and with something like this too many retailers place their least skilled staff supervising these machines -- when it should be the most skilled.

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