• Oliver Guy
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Oliver Guy

Global Industry Director - Retail, Software AG
Specialising in Industry Strategy, Digital Transformation and omni-channel technology strategy, Oliver advises companies across the globe on their technology strategy and decisions. Industry strategy specialist with 20 years driving value for leading technology vendors and their customers across supply chain, operations, channels and digital transformation across all types of retail. Innovative thought leader with track record of collaboratively defining strategic go-to-market approaches and aligning solution capabilities to market needs to ensure solution relevance
  • Posted on: 02/15/2019

    Are legacy retailers on the right track or heading off the tracks?

    To me, the big challenge legacy retailers face is avoiding the tendency to try and be all things to all customers. Finding (or refinding/re-inventing) the niche is critical. There are things that are becoming "table stakes" or things you MUST have -- an ecommerce offering is one of them -- and the list of must haves will continue to grow over time, and most of these will be technology driven and enabled. Consequently having a hyper flexible approach to technology adoption is critical -- something that seems to be a constraint in many legacy retailers today.
  • Posted on: 02/15/2019

    Retail leaders need to care more about tech

    CEO buy-in to technology and board level understanding is critical. Multiple pieces of research show this and that when this happens the organisaiton performs better financially. Consequently shareholders need to be looking for this technology competence when CEOs are appointed. Tech vendors vary in terms of their approach -- however my feeling is that as technology (and software is first for this) moves towards subscription based pricing models, there is an incentive for the vendor to look after the customer and ensure they are successful for the longer term -- they have "skin in the game" to ensure things stay long-term focused.
  • Posted on: 02/06/2019

    Walgreens tests tech that sort of recognizes you in-store

    About 3-4 years ago, Software AG demonstrated this technology at a number of customer events. It always attained great interest from attendees but in terms of using it in the real world, there were always concerns around "creepiness." Despite the fact the system only recorded age, sex and length of time looking towards the camera (dwell time), there was concern that irrespective of what and how customers were told they would worry that their images were being stored for future use. Privacy concerns have not gone away -- and putting privacy statements on the coolers makes sense -- however the key is whether or not consumers trust these statements. After recent media coverage regarding use of private data by social media companies, it could be that consumers do not always believe such statements.
  • Posted on: 02/06/2019

    Are malls better off as fulfillment centers?

    Using malls as fulfilment locations makes a lot of sense given proximity to population centres, convenience in terms of parking etc. Larger experience-based malls still have a part to play in terms of being lifestyle & leisure focused. There could be a combination that could be valued by customers -- pick up your shopping on a trip to the cinema or after eating a meal out.
  • Posted on: 02/05/2019

    Shopper technology opportunities are the focus of FMI Midwinter

    Let's face it, few of us like grocery shopping. Amongst other things, customers seek convenience and consistency/quality of product. Technology therefore needs to be focused on addressing these as cost effectively as possible, making it really easy for customers to get their groceries - saving them time - but also using technology to ensure product quality through the supply chain.
  • Posted on: 02/04/2019

    Is trust the next omnichannel inflection point?

    People trust brands because they know (or think they know) what they will get. Some fascinating things going on in this area and look set to continue ... came across an interesting one yesterday with AirBnB where they remove negative feedback about a property after they provided a refund. If a retail platform (like Amazon or eBay) had a similar policy it could well make consumers question the reliability of the brand and associated feedback -- making them look towards alternative sources -- perhaps like social media!
  • Posted on: 01/31/2019

    Is experiential retail overhyped and misunderstood?

    I feel like the term "experience" (customer experience, CX) has been overused, abused and hence devalued over the past 10 years. There is a danger that "experiential retail" becomes confused by this confusion. For me, the term "experience" describes the holistic journey that a customer participates in between the decision to consider buying something – i.e. a need, through selection, purchase, receipt and then use. Experiential retail is where we create an environment for customers to learn, play and experience rather than just transact – a destination for experience. A store is the perfect place for this -- but reinvention of the store is needed. I also feel that you cannot have experiential retail without considering the overall customer experience -- it is no good exciting and educating a customer if the either goods or the way they are delivered to and used by the customer is not in line with the expectations set. In other words -- experiential retail must be considered a subset of overall customer experience. It cannot be in isolation.
  • Posted on: 01/30/2019

    Are new brick and mortar solutions the key to digital brand growth?

    There are some interesting concepts appearing. In the Middle East there is a big thing around "retail-tainment" in terms of making going shopping a "complete family day out." I would anticipate more of this for less mundane purchases. That is not for groceries -- although one of the things I am hearing about is in-store cookery schools in order to pull traffic into store -- has additional benefit of potentially being an additional revenue generation within the store -- using some of the excess merchandising space as customers move to having groceries delivered.
  • Posted on: 01/28/2019

    Cloud and AI seen fueling digital transformation

    I don't think cloud and AI on their own are able to solve the challenges around inventory visibility, enabling unified commerce and helping data to be better utilized. The first thing that needs to happen is data silos must be eliminated. Connecting across the different silos to provide a consistent view is where cloud may act as the "delivery mechanism" and AI might help add additional value -- however, this delivery mechanism is less important than the outcome. Doing this for inventory can solve the inventory visibility issues; doing it for all data can address underutilization. Beyond that, orchestration across the data and logic silos fundamental to the delivery of unified commerce.
  • Posted on: 01/25/2019

    Can BOPIS keep up with its own success?

    The lack of understanding & visibility into where inventory sits is frightening given how long we have been talking about it. Multiple approaches have been tried but still the silos exist in a vast number of organisations. As for BOPIS, it is clear why this is popular with consumers as the challenge of being at home is eliminated -- however it is still expensive to execute -- picking singles from store or DC and shipping to a collection point.... Retailers undertaking BOPIS might want to think about offsetting costs by taking a similar approach to convenience retail -- by aiming to sell the customer something they did not come into the store for.
  • Posted on: 01/25/2019

    Amazon takes multi-pronged approach to owning the last mile

    I wonder whether the "Amazon Scout" can solve the problem associated with people not being home. There is still an element of friction when a customer has to balance between when they are home and when the delivery will take place.
  • Posted on: 01/24/2019

    Can grocers sell produce without plastic bags and boxes?

    This is a fascinating subject. Key is, can these items get to the store -- and then to the shopper's home -- without damage using this approach. The impact of David Attenborough's highlighting of ocean plastics in Blue Planet was remarkable with retailers responding almost overnight. Tesco for one eliminated plastic cotton buds.
  • Posted on: 01/24/2019

    NRF: Will grocers be ready for 2030’s smart future?

    The employees one is interesting and as GenZ move into the workplace in the coming years, their expectations around the systems they use to do their job will come into focus.
  • Posted on: 01/24/2019

    What will it take to dramatically reduce risk in the retail supply chains?

    This is becoming a bigger issue and consumers want more reassurance. Look at the strawberry problem in Australia -- incredibly worrying for consumers. Some smart technology could help. IoT along the supply chain perhaps to monitor opening/closing of shipping containers....
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