“Openbravo offers an omnichannel platform using cloud-based mobile technology, which allows for the delivery of more differentiated and personalized shopping experiences.”
Could you talk about current trends in retail technology and how Openbravo incorporates them in its product offer?
Omnichannel has clearly become central to the strategies of retailers with an eye on the future. This fact, along with today’s hyper-dynamic retail environment and the need for better personalization, puts ever greater demands on retail management systems. For example the need to deal with more complex purchasing scenarios such as new payment methods or shipping options, to better use customer data at all points, or to offer greater flexibility in order to cope with rapidly changing business needs and gain a greater capacity for innovation and differentiation compared to competitors.
As omnichannel continues maturing the priority of retailers now is to improve the quality of execution given that this has a direct impact on the profitability of their operations. In terms of I.T. this means the adoption of technologies like mobile or the cloud along with more flexible solutions that will help in key areas such as efficiency, agility, or the capacity to innovate, thus achieving an overall reduction in I.T. costs.
In-store we see a need to adopt technologies that offer more digital and personalized experiences, bringing them into line with the store’s new role within today’s omnichannel reality and the gradual transformation of the traditional point-of-sale. We see, for instance in markets such as China, retailers adopting new technologies and launching new concepts at an incredible speed. Just in China, more than 70% of all in-store payments at Decathlon, one of our clients, are mobile payments made through Alipay and WeChat Pay.
To be responsive to these trends Openbravo offers a fully functional omnichannel platform built on highly flexible mobile technology and ready for the cloud. Openbravo lets retailers develop their omnichannel strategy, allowing them to transform their physical stores and giving their business more agility and innovative capacity, with more efficient operations. This puts in place a powerful basis for the delivery of stand-out, personalized purchasing experiences. All this with a highly competitive cost.
Given these trends, what are the technological investments that you consider a priority for retailers? How does Openbravo align with these?
Based on our experience and interactions with some of the world’s leading retailers we have identified four priorities.
In the first place investment in solutions and technologies oriented towards improving revenues through either increasing the acquisition and retention of customers, or an increased capacity to launch new and more frequent personalized products and promotions. In this regard Openbravo offers capabilities that allow a deeper knowledge of one’s customers, more nimble management of products, prices, and promotions in order to enable quicker launches, or flexibility in the set-up of loyalty programs. With Openbravo, for instance, centrally made changes in products or prices are available at the stores and terminals practically in real time. Many retailers still take days to do this.
Secondly, investment aimed at improving the customer experience on-line as well as in-store, with the omnichannel concept playing a key role. Our advanced omnichannel platform offers retailers a complete solution for physical stores including mobile POS with capacity for assisted purchase, support for mobile payments, and RFID or auto-pay terminals for a quicker and more convenient checkout experience. The use of the integrated OMS engine and existing connectors with eCommerce solutions such as Magento, Salesforce.com or SAP Hybris allows support for a variety of omnichannel scenarios.
Next, investment aimed at optimizing the supply chain, helping to ensure optimal inventory availability in all locations, thereby minimizing total inventory purchase and management costs. Openbravo gives retailers real time, centralized inventory management with the ability to execute tasks via mobile devices, as well as integrated buying functionality and support for meeting complex demand situations in order to optimize the costs of stock acquisition.
Lastly, investment in technology that can most quickly support all of the above priorities and at the same time reduce overall I.T. costs. This is a real challenge for retail CIOs who are more than ever under pressure to increase both the value offered by I.T. and its impact on the business. The areas of most interest are the adoption of mobile technologies, the cloud, and solutions that can offer a business increased agility and innovative capacity without excessive costs. In this area Openbravo offers a platform that is highly flexible, mobile, and ready for the cloud that simplifies dramatically the complexity of I.T. while optimizing related costs. A complete omnichannel platform that, thanks to its modular nature, allows greater flexibility on adoption, with functionality that can be easily activated, deactivated, or extended in order to meet the particular needs of a business. Among other additional benefits, it offers the possibility of avoiding the need for local in-store servers. A platform that is also easily integrated thus protecting earlier investment, and with existing connectors with solutions for ERP, such as SAP certification, eCommerce like Magento, Salesforce.com or SAP Hybris, with a variety of supplier solutions, as well as with payment solutions including Adyen, Ingenico, SumUp, Alipay, WeChat Pay, CHASE Paymentech and others.
Could you lay out an in-depth case study where your company successfully helped a client overcome challenges and achieve its business objectives?
One of our most important clients is Decathlon, the world’s largest retailer of sports equipment, with annual revenues of more than 13 Billion dollars and more than 1,400 stores in over 40 countries. Founded in 1976 in Lille, France, Decathlon sells equipment for more than 100 sporting activities.
Currently Openbravo manages almost 400 stores in a growing list of around 15 countries that includes Australia, China, having almost 300 stores operating with our cloud solution, South Korea, The Philippines, India, Indonesia, Japan, and Vietnam.
Openbravo provides Decathlon with a complete solution for their POS, that has been quickly and easily adopted and implemented to meet the specific needs of each country whether these were financial regulations or the integrations. A solution that incorporates the use of RFID, mobile payments (integration with Alipay and WeChat Pay), and auto-pay terminals, offering the possibility of improved customer service thanks to mobile POS that both reduce queue times and enable assistance throughout the store.
The optimization of I.T. operating costs was possible thanks to a dramatic simplification in the I.T. infrastructure required for the stores which both allows new stores to be prepared and opened more quickly, as well as reducing the effort and costs involved in their day-to-day running. In a matter of minutes, product prices and updates can be made centrally and applied in all the stores. The Openbravo architecture has enabled Decathlon to move forward with their transition to the cloud, another strategic objective for the company, which has resulted in a significant improvement in the efficiency and response capability of the I.T. department.
Openbravo’s value has also been proved with other notable clients. Among them, Cirque du Soleil relies on us for the management of their stores and shows worldwide, and Toys “R” Us Iberia for the management of more than 60 stores across Spain and Portugal. In France we help Groupe Rand with the digital transformation of the more than 43 stores of two of their better known fashion and accessories brands. Also in France we work with BUT, leader in furniture, domestic appliances, and household goods with more than 300 stores.
There are a number of companies competing for the leading position. What are the differentiating factors that give Openbravo a competitive advantage?
The value proposition of Openbravo comes from the strong partnership of omnichannel management capability and the unlimited flexibility offered by our technology platform. The combination of both components allows us to provide tools that help retailers achieve more agility, and be able to concentrate more on differentiation and innovation with a very competitive TCO.
At a functional level our web and mobile point-of-sale solution stands out as being equipped to deal with a variety of omnichannel scenarios. Its web based nature avoids the need for multiple installations while still offering the same set of functions on each device. This distinguishes it as a unique product when compared with competitors who deliver a native solution that must be installed on each device and only offer a subset of the full POS functionality. The solid off-line capabilities of Openbravo also ensure uninterrupted operations even in situations with low connectivity. Being a web solution Openbravo also offers important cost savings on in-store I.T., seeing that the need for local servers is avoided and the POS hardware has low minimum requirements. For those stores that require it, the local server option is available, which can give flexibility when considering hybrid deployment models. This involves some stores directly accessing the central cloud server and others functioning locally, synchronizing seamlessly with the central server.
The ability to customize and successfully adapt our software to very specific and changing requirements has always been one of our most valued attributes for our clients. This is obviously helped by the flexibility and modular concept of Openbravo, which enormously reduces the complexity and costs of customization that retailers have to deal with when adopting other solutions. Our advanced integration capabilities allow us to simplify the efforts involved in connecting to other systems and technologies, thus protecting the value of previous I.T. investment, always a worry for today’s CIOs.
Our Cloud offer, that allows working with either Amazon AWS or Microsoft Azure, offers retailers a greater degree of freedom and flexibility compared with other options on the market, with the possibility to adapt the software in the same manner as in a traditional on-premises installation. For example this includes advanced options such as multiple servers or high availability to ensure the maximum possible level of performance.
What do you predict for Openbravo in 2019?
2018 was a fantastic year for Openbravo, with strong growth across all our revenue lines, both services as well as software, and our cloud offer, Openbravo Cloud, generating great interest both with existing and new clients. This success was helped without doubt by new clients and strategic agreements that confirm our value to the market, as well as the opening of two new international offices, in France and Dubai (UAE).
Pushing on from this success, 2019 has shown a positive growth trend with new clients in markets that are key for us like France and Spain. We hope to be able to make an official announcement about this to the market very soon.