Today’s consumers, i.e. Retail customers want a simple, personalized, and compelling shopper experience just like it was years ago, when merchants knew each shopper by name and personal buying habits by memory. Today, however retailers struggle with this due to significant complexities such as the following:


Complexity of Data Proliferation, i.e. variability, speed, sources and volume of data

Retail companies collect more data than any other industries. The velocity of new product introductions, channel speed and market segments makes it incredibly difficult to manage data mass effectively. For retailers, it’s an enormous challenge to derive insight and act in real-time and deliver contextual and personalized experiences. Thus, retail category managers and CPG brand managers alike manage their reports using averages and aggregates, but are expected to make decisions in real time. Conventional data warehouses use predefined analysis “cubes” or dimensions. This rigid process users restricted to dissecting data in limited ways

Complexity of the Empowered Customer

Today’s digitally empowered customers are in control. The customer journeys that used to be dictated by the brand are becoming more complex as customers develop an Omni-channel approach to engagement. Brands that cannot keep up will experience eroding top-line growth, declining gross margins and high inventory levels. Legacy technology still conforms to the notion that the sale is a mediated process controlled by the business, when in fact 57% of the buying process is completed before a first interaction with sales. Customers expects retailers to be readily available for service on whichever channels customers deem convenient

Difficult to identify the ideal fulfillment location based on projected sell out, customer preference, time of year, warehouse locations, store locations, and labor resources

Complexity of a Disparate View of the Retail Business

Multiple Lines of Business have adopted point solutions with incompatible data systems. With enterprise data in silos, retailers have an incomplete view of their business. As a result, companies are blind to opportunities as well as the ability to capitalize on them. They cannot leverage inventory as a shared investment across channels. They struggle to develop assortments and pricing targeted to the customer needs. Retail Supply chains do not respond to customer demand. Altogether this leads to high customer churn and sales and margins not matching expectations

That is why the future of retail requires simplification.

Moving forward, retailers must clearly understand their customers’ digital information footprint across all channels; align planning and execution seamlessly; and recruit, train, and empower store employees more effectively to ultimately provide customers with a personalized shopping experience – and run the business in real time to make use opportunities as they occur.

This is the Simplification mandate:

  • Simple and unlimited access to customer and business information – real time insight to drive all your retail processes, no yesterday’s data
  • Eliminate channel conflicts – provide a single view of inventory, customer, and supply chain information across channels to drive decisions.
  • Simplified and consistent customer engagement – create targeted, if not personalized experiences to improve and expand customer intimacy
  • Streamlined assortment planning – unified strategic, merchandise, assortment, and location plans to maximize profits and adapt quickly
  • Streamlined sourcing – friction-less commerce with your supplier network to reduce goods not for resale and merchandise spend.
  • Optimized business on a real-time platform – flexible fulfillment, personalization, and other complex processes run on a single real-time platform.

Hear how Sports Basement, Detskiy Mir, Brooks Brothers, Salvatore Ferragamo S.p.A and Discount Tire make their way on their journey to running simple.

Introduced by Lori Mitchell-Keller, SVP and Head of Global Retail Business, these SAP Retail customers talk about their understanding of Run Simple and how SAP Retail helps them remove complexity from their Retail business, improve and expand customer intimacy and simplify their IT.

It’ll be interesting to hear what you think. Have you started on this journey to running simple? Post a comment or tweet me at @joergkoesters.

Joerg Koesters is a Technology Marketing Executive with passion for Retail and Consumer industries, and a retail ambassador for SAP.


Interested in your feedback. You can also get in touch at @joergkoesters on Twitter.

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