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Author's profile photo Joerg Koesters

The Next Generation of Retail with SAP HANA

“Retailers are finding that they need to have the insight to act in the moment…to tap existing and future opportunities of profitable growth.”

Achim Schneider
Global Head of Retail Business Unit, SAP SE

The world of retail is changing at lightning speed – with evolving consumer expectations, tightening decision gaps and ever-growing data volumes. Keeping up with the pace of change is no easy feat, and requires the help of agile technologies to power the day-to-day and innovate for tomorrow. Today’s digitally armed consumers seek seamless personalized shopping experiences, and with new e-commerce business models taking over market share from traditional brick and mortar retail, digitization is an inevitable requirement to compete in this fast-paced landscape.

Going Digital


While new digital native entrants such as Amazon and Alibaba disrupt entire retail business models, traditional retailers have a wealth of opportunity to innovate existing ways of doing business by adopting new technologies and leveraging the wealth of available data. For example, running shoe brands like Nike, Adidas and Asics are responding to a demand for personalized footwear by mass customizing their products with 3D printed soles. And furniture giant, IKEA, is using augmented reality to allow consumers to test run furniture pieces in their own home prior to purchase. By seeking ways to integrate and simplify existing siloed data landscapes into a unified data platform, retailers can leverage transparency for driving business insights.

SAP’s Digital Business Framework

SAP understands the five pillars of digitization, and we also understand that the continuously changing requirements pose big challenges for businesses. The method of reimagining business models, business processes, and work helps develop the digitization road map.

We have built the digital business framework to support retailers in developing and executing on their digital enterprise strategy to create the omni-channel experience that customers seek.

Digital Opportunities for Retail

What digital opportunities are there for retailers to disrupt the traditional way of doing business to uncover new opportunities? Here are five key strategic priorities that today’s retail leaders are pursuing:

  1. Customer Centricity
    • Retailers can better serve customers through deeper consumer insights, gamified interactions and personalized offers and promotions
  2. Investment in smart retail technology
    • Leveraging the latest RFID and sensor technologies to create connected stores, smart shelves and real-time store traffic heat maps
  3. Serving the ‘segment of one’
    • Through personalization, retailers can target product and offers and predict future demand for next purchases
  4. Adoption of a digital consumer supply chain
    • Allows for end-to-end tracking through every step of merchandise flow. Demands-driven operations
  5. Monetization of new customer offers
    • By leveraging data and customer communities, retailers have the opportunity to explore new business models leveraging trends such as the sharing economy, subscription models and technology platforms

Get Started Today

It isn’t necessary to implement this digital framework all at once, or even to start with SAP HANA. Companies can start with the pillar that creates the most value for their given situations, and add others when they are ready.

Learn more by reading our white paper: How to Win in a Digital World Where Technology Is Rewriting the Rules of Retail.

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