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Choosing which presentations to attend at SAPPHIRE NOW is a lot like shopping for shoes – so many great choices, so little time. In case you couldn’t make it to all the retail sessions you wanted to, we asked Christine M. Pfefferle, vice president of order management at OfficeMax, to help out and give us her top five picks from SAPPHIRE NOW.

“In the last 5 or 10 years, retail has undergone significant change fueled by technology and social media,” she says. “But that was just the prelude of what’s coming. In order to succeed, retailers really need to get out in front of their customers, to anticipate and meet customer needs now, on their customers’ terms. The sessions that told this story and outlined how retailers are ‘getting it done’ – those really grabbed my attention.”

Adapt and Win with Omni-Channel Supply Chain

Consumers. What are you going to do with them? They start shopping online, but finish their purchase in-store. Or they walk into your store, wanting to return that sweater they bought online. And you’re expected to keep up. And of course you will, if you have any expectations of competing in today’s marketplace.

Welcome to the world of omni-channel retailing, and the linchpin that keeps it turning – the omni-channel supply chain. In this lively forum, three SAP customers share and compare their experiences in this new supply chain environment. David Rumberg, partner at Sports Basement, provides perspective as a small, specialty retailer in the San Francisco Bay area; Christine Pfefferle of OfficeMax speaks as a multibillion-dollar, multinational retailer; and John Buckley, director, integrated business planning at Kraft Foods, explains what he’s seeing from a manufacturer’s point of view.

Along with moderator Paula Rosenblum, managing partner at RSR Research, the three discuss the issues they face, such as complete transparency into ultra-lean inventories; strategies for success, from third-party warehouses to unique in-store experiences; as well as the pressures they feel from the manufacturing and retail side of the supply chain. Now, as consumers are approaching retailers from all sides, so do manufacturers and retailers need to allow for some give and take to achieve the agility they need to make the most of the omni-channel supply chain.

Transforming the Retail Experience Through Innovation

Attention, retailers: There’s a new type of shopper stepping onto the world stage. Born from massive growth in the middle class along with mobile and social technologies that enable browsing and purchases right from the palm of the hand, these shoppers expect

a new kind of retail experience, too – one that’s as fluid and as personalized as the way they live their lives. And with emerging technologies from SAP, retailers will be able to meet these expectations and more, says Lori Mitchell-Keller, senior vice president and global head Retail Industry Business Unit at SAP.

Imagine delivering a personalized offer straight to a shopper’s phone the minute she steps into the store. It’s possible, according to Mitchell-Keller, when you can understand your customer in real time.

Delivering a Better Shopping Experience: Consumer Products and Retail

And the word of the day is: Millennial. Oh, and don’t forget: global middle class. At this session, SAP’s Lori Mitchell-Keller and Edward Kenney, vice president Consumer Sector at SAP threw out a few jaw-dropping statistics to remind us why those words need to be at the forefront of every retailer’s mind.

For example, by 2017 it’s expected that Millennials will have more spending power than any generation previously. By 2030, 80% of the middle class will be outside what we consider to be the developed world. That’s a seismic shift in purchasing power. And for smart retailers who want to successfully tap into it, they need to think local but act global. Easier said than done, as you imagine how every aspect of your business would have to change, from the warehouse to the store floor. However, some retailers and consumer product manufacturers are already there, such as Mike Bell, CIO of Kingfisher, the largest home improvement retailer outside of the U.S., and Jerry Wolfe, CIO of the food flavoring company McCormick & Co. Inc. They shared the stage and their stories in this near hour-long session.

Meet the Needs of the Modern Customer from Real Time to Right Time

Mind-reading. That’s probably the secret super-power that every salesperson dreams of. The power to know exactly what your customer wants the moment that he or she wants it. The good news is mind-reading is just about here, in digital form at least, and you don’t need a cape to use it. It’s called SAP 360 Customer for Sales, and Bernhard Schumacher, head of sales at MVV Energie, shared how it’s helped his company’s customer acquisition and retention efforts by sharing real-time insights tailor-made to a customer’s needs.

Convert Fans into Good Customers and Good Customers into Great Ones

You see the minivan pull up to the drive-through window. You see her hand reach out to grab the Dunkaccino. As she pulls away, you see the soccer ball sticker on the bumper. She’s late to a game.

What you just witnessed, ladies and gentleman, is a look into the life of a FEARNet fan, powered by SAP HANA. Who knew soccer moms were among the fans of cable TV’s premier horror channel? Who knew between watching showings of “Christine” and “Dead Birds,” FEARNet viewers also liked to stop by Dunkin’ Donuts?

FEARNet didn’t know until they worked with Fan Appz, which built their next-generation marketing platform on top of SAP HANA. As Jon Siegal, founder and CEO of Fan Appz, explains it, companies have amassed huge amounts of social and digital data on their customers, but they still know very little about them. “They’re just numbers on a Facebook page or Twitter profile.”

Until now. In this close to 20-minute session, Siegal and Faye Walker, senior vice president of marketing at FEARnet, tell the tale of how they learned about the hearts and minds of FEARNet fans, and why that matters now more than ever. Stay tuned.

To experience these and other SAPPHIRE NOW Orlando 2013 replays, go to SAPPHIRE NOW: On Demand for Retail.

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