By : Adam Blair
June 25, 2015 03:00 PM
On June 24, NCR officially launched NCR Retail ONE. The following is an excerpt of an interview with NCR Retail Solutions president Michael Bayer, revealing some of the strategic thinking behind the launch of NCR Retail ONE. To read more about NCR Retail ONE, click here. Q: What are the biggest retailer “pain points” that NCR Retail ONE addresses?
MICHAEL BAYER: So many retailers are seeking solutions that provide them with greater readiness to operate in an omnichannel environment. They may have a specific capability they’re interested in adding, like a loyalty program, or a new channel in which they want to establish a customer touchpoint. In fact they may have two or three in mind. The problem they face is that while they know there will definitely be others down the road, they’re not yet sure exactly what those capabilities or touchpoints will be. So they want solution structures that will offer them that future readiness, but at the time when it’s most advantageous to them. Because of the competitiveness of the retail marketplace, they also want to accomplish this in a cost-effective manner. The platforms we provide to some of the world’s largest retailers tend to be very highly customized, demanding a certain level of IT staffing to manage. So from a TCO perspective we wanted to offer a solution that’s highly standardized, with limited customization but high levels of flexibility for current and future additions of third-party hardware, home-grown or third-party software, or our own NCR products. That’s why we made NCR Retail ONE an SOA-based omnicommerce hub rather than an omnichannel platform. Q: Which macro retail industry trends does NCR Retail ONE reflect? BAYER: One of the biggest is the Internet of Things (IoT). In retail, this consists of touchpoints for gathering data within stores; touchpoints where the customer uses Internet connectivity or interaction points; and what might be called environmental information, like weather changes or real-time traffic reports. If I can give retailers both the possibility of gathering information, along with analytics software to draw conclusions, that allows them to create a value-add. Q: Can you give me some examples? BAYER: One example would be IoT sensors on store shelves that provide stock replenishment alerts. This can go down to the level of telling a store manager that he has 50 umbrellas in the stock room and that rain is forecast for this afternoon, so if he displays them by the checkout lane and puts a 10% off promotion on them, he’s likely to sell a lot of them. Q: Retailers have a number of pressing priorities when it comes to their IT projects. How do you plan to push Retail ONE to the top of their lists? BAYER: The value proposition for this omnicommerce hub is clear. It’s needed when the amount of “friction” in the way you handle data in a multi-channel environment is causing you to have transaction failures, or the inconsistencies in the way you present yourself in different channels is limiting your growth potential. Compelling events also come when retailers realize their POS software isn’t up to their needs, or their entire group of applications isn’t capable of scaling up in the way they need. But the point about Retail ONE is that, no matter which system you’re addressing immediately, it can fully omnichannel-enable a company for future projects while providing high levels of investment protection.