How tech changes retail game

Retailers need to recalibrate their digital transformation strategies in the "never normal" scenario of the continuing pandemic.

SAP Industry Business Architect – Retail and Consumer Products Gabriel Lorenzo Santos underscored this need in a recent virtual event, ‘Retail Reimagined: How Technology Changes the Game of Retail in 2022,’ hosted by the Philippine Retailers Association (PRA) and co-presented by SAP Southeast Asia.

Already, the pandemic changed the way consumers behave.

Last year, the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) noted an increase in spending on various categories, such as food and non-alcoholic beverages, restaurants and hotels, furnishings, and household equipment for work-from-home setups even clothing and footwear.

A recent study by Visa also revealed that nine out of 10 Filipinos increased their digital shopping activities and are now using online delivery services.

Meanwhile, 73 percent of 1,014 respondents have adopted more contactless payments.

In addition, Filipinos are now more conscious of sustainable and socially responsible commodities.

Hence, retailers should identify gaps that need to be addressed, whether they are in product availability, delivery, or logistics.

Businesses should know what an intelligent and agile enterprise looks like to help identify these gaps.

“An intelligent enterprise starts with having insights on processes that need improvement, automation, and innovation, coupled with cross-application analytics, delivering new dimensions of real-time and predictive insight and foresight,” Santos pointed out.

At the heart of this strategy is an intelligent suite of applications providing core end-to-end processes and helping businesses manage every part of the organization, such as finance, employees, customers, services, and even IT.

For SAP, integrating industry-specific cloud applications must be part of the strategy to enrich business processes, specifically for retail.

The intelligent suite and industry cloud can be enveloped by experience and sustainability management solutions to help ensure that retailers hear their customers and adhere to their sustainability goals.

These solutions run on a scalable business technology platform, serving as the standard architecture for analytics development and data storage, allowing enterprises to innovate much faster.

Finally, the business network takes this strategy outside the four walls of enterprises, allowing companies to collaborate with trading partners to drive connected processes and experiences.

Some companies remain hesitant in integrating new technologies since acquiring them for a specific process is already troublesome, making it challenging to involve the entire enterprise.

To address this problem, SAP offers RISE with SAP, a Business Transformation as a Service (BTaaS) offering that consolidates solutions and services needed for business transformation in one package.

Nowadays, companies that thrive are those that adapt quickly.

However, true transformation takes changing an organizations’ culture and shifting its mindset.

It requires redesigning business plans and processes and demands new technologies that unlock new ways of running a retail business.

Leveraging technology can help bridge the gap to ensure a seamless experience despite changing demands and buying behaviors, improving the topline and bottom line.

“Across our customers, benefits have been reaped with the use of technology, such as improved customer satisfaction, reduced days in inventory, reduced customer churn, and even increased digital channel revenue, which are relevant in today’s situation,” he concluded.