April 26th, 2016

Oracle Industry Connect 2016: Retail Recap

The Oracle Industry Connect, which started out as the Oracle Retail CrossTalk, has significantly transformed over the years. What was once a program developed for retailers by retailers has evolved to include Communications, Hospitality, Financial Services, Utilities, Health Sciences, Primavera, and Education. This year’s event was hosted in sunny Orlando, Florida, at the Walt Disney Swan and Dolphin Hotels. This exclusive invite-only conference brought together 275+ retail executives, 25 of the best implementation partners, and Oracle Retail experts from around the world.

The DMI team at Oracle Industry Connect 2016
The DMI team at Oracle Industry Connect 2016

Each session is aimed at creating an educational, best practices platform to help other retailers finetune their business strategies, ask questions, and get recommendations that can be applied at all levels of the organization. Some of the retailers we heard from included: Big 5 Sporting Goods, Decathlon, Falabella, Gap, Inc., Lenox, Lucky Brand, lululemon, Neiman Marcus, PacSun, and Red Wing Shoes. As Oracle and some of the biggest names in retail shared their stories and best practices, three main themes really stuck out as the focus for 2016 and beyond: Commerce Anywhere, The Mobile In-Store Experience and Cloud in Retail.

Commerce Anywhere

‘Commerce Anywhere’ was the overarching message with the goal of creating a consumer-centric retail strategy able to deliver a unified shopping experience. Michael Colpitts, Oracle’s Solution director, stated “Consumers today want a consistent shopping experience that merges the capabilities of the digital store with the physical store. Employees want a consistent user experience, on all devices, for their customer, product, and store operational tasks”. It’s important that employees and consumers have access to the same information when it comes to inventory, items, ordering, pricing, promotions and customer details in real-time. Although we know this is a big ask, retailers must look for ways to incrementally and in parallel start transitioning their strategies and systems to support them. Oracle CEO Mark Hurd predicted that the transition will take place over the next 10 years. While we don’t know how long it will take for all retailers to fully transition, one thing is clear: Commerce Anywhere will soon be a reality enabling customers to purchase when and where they want using their choice of devices and channels.

The Mobile In-Store Experience

Another major topic was around digital and mobile influence throughout the shopping journey. We heard that people who use digital while shopping in-store convert at a 20% higher rate, 1/3 of shoppers spend more, and 45% of shoppers said that the use of digital makes shopping easier in the stores. While a few years ago all of the focus was on building out e-commerce and mobile apps, now the focus has shifted to a more holistic view of the shopper journey and how digital and mobile can be used to positively impact the in-store experience and increase sales. This topic was not only a huge theme throughout the conference, but we also spoke more specifically on the Mobile In-Store Experience during our roundtable on Wednesday. One thing we’ve heard a lot is while many retailers can agree they should be doing something, they don’t have a clear strategy for how mobile devices should be used in brick-and-mortar stores. During our roundtable we discussed how DMI surveyed 2,500 US shoppers, built a mobile maturity model, and benchmarked and ranked 100 US retailers. We shared the insights and tools we used to help them evaluate their existing experience and gave them some tips on how to better define their future strategies.

Roundtable discussion at Oracle Industry Connect 2016
Roundtable discussion at Oracle Industry Connect 2016

Cloud in Retail

The overall take-away from the conference’s general session was about adopting Cloud services. As the retail industry evolves to keep up in the age of the digital consumer and workforce, cloud not only presents itself as a cheaper solution but also as a more flexible one. “Enterprise migration to the cloud is a not-so-classic case of several irresistible forces meeting a movable object”, said Oracle CEO, Mark Hurd. Some of those forces being a multi-generational workforce, a more mobile consumer, near flat revenue growth, business model disruption and CEOs being forced to cut expenses. As companies on average are spending more than 80% of their IT spend on maintenance, there is little room for innovation or flexibility. The major focus with traditional legacy systems has been on operations and efficiency. The reality of the matter is, consumers and the workforce are evolving fast and in order for retailers to keep the pace and afford it, they must start looking to implement cloud as part of their strategy. While the case for cloud sounds rather convincing, the question retailers must ask themselves is: Are we willing to forgo “custom” for “speed and flexibility?”

Contact us here if you are interested in hearing more about our Mobile In-Store Experience Rankings or to schedule a meeting to discuss different approaches for improving on your Oracle Commerce implementation.

Tags: cloud events omni-channel retail

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