By : Adam Blair
July 14, 2015 09:30 AM
NCR has been making news with its launch of Retail ONE, and predictably the lion’s share of the attention has been on its customer-facing elements. But retail business and technology experts are well aware that enabling these new channels and capabilities is only a part of the story.
“NCR Retail ONE offers excellent capabilities in bringing together point-of-sale, self-checkout, mobile, online, kiosks, loyalty, and other touchpoints together,” said Todd P. Michaud, Global Vice President and General Manager, NCR Retail Solutions Division. “But retailers know they need to have their house in order behind these customer-facing capabilities in order to make them work in a unified fashion. We want to ensure that our customers and the market understand that we also offer a full range of merchandising and supply chain omni-commerce enabling applications.”
He explained that NCR’s recently introduced Power+ Platform and MDM (Master Data Management) system operates in parallel to Retail ONE, which “ties together all the various touchpoints and provides a unified shopping experience. Power+ does the same thing in the merchandising and supply chain areas, bridging together disparate elements. It’s a platform that allows customers to use various NCR applications in key areas and, where needed, integrate them with third-party applications. The idea is that Retail ONE plus Power+ equals Commerce Made Complete.”
Key elements of the Power+ Platform include:
These applications are designed to leverage demand intelligence, and Michaud believes NCR is in a strong position here as well. “NCR has been known as the consumer transaction company in retail. The transactions that are captured across these systems are the fuel feeding these key merchandising and supply chain applications, and that equals demand intelligence,” he said.
In pricing, for example, retailers are contending with much higher levels of price transparency regardless of shopping channel. “Retailers must know which items customers are most price-sensitive around, as well as those items where price sensitivity is lower,” said Michaud. “Retailers need to know whether they’re going to lead the competition or follow it, know where they are, and formulate a pricing strategy that fulfills those objectives. Most important, they need the right pricing and promotion platform to execute on their intentions, and NCR offers it.”
Retailers also need to continuously improve their supply chain capabilities, particularly as consumers’ desire for the products they want, when and where they want them, continue to rise. “Full inventory visibility is simply essential in today’s omni-commerce world,” says Michaud, “Without it, retailers will really see their ability to stay competitive diminish significantly”
“Today, we are not just talking about inventory visibility across store and warehouse locations so that operators can get an accurate inventory position,” said Michaud. “Retailers have to have the technology and the insight to think broader- inventory transparency across the entire supply chain. We’re talking about knowing what’s en route to the warehouse, en route to the stores, perhaps even en route to a consumer’s home. Identifying changes in demand signals immediately and understanding how to properly respond to maximize sales and minimize overstocks. Having the ability to know how much store inventory has been allocated to online orders so that when a customer comes in to pick up their order, it’s not out of stock. And when a store’s running short on inventory, knowing all possible replenishment options, including store transfers, so the shelf never goes empty. This is where retail is going, and many leading retailers are already there.”