Q&A: Richard Willis, RVP Solution Consulting, EMEA and APAC, Aptos
An expert panellist at our upcoming Digital Transformations webinar series in September, Richard Willis has worked with retailers throughout Europe and globally. In his current role at Aptos, he supports retailers in their efforts to differentiate and innovate through the use of technology.
What does your company do? / What is your USP?
Aptos is the largest provider of enterprise software focused exclusively on retail. Our solutions are trusted by over 1,000 retail brands in 65 countries. With industry-leading omnichannel commerce and merchandise lifecycle management solutions, we help retailers develop dynamic and responsive assortments, streamline operations and deliver integrated, seamless experiences…wherever shoppers choose to engage.
What is the proposition for discussion?
One of the biggest questions facing retail as we move toward a post-pandemic landscape is whether the consumer behaviour changes that we’ve seen during the pandemic will continue for the foreseeable future.
Aptos believes that the pandemic has accelerated consumers’ expectation for omnichannel capabilities, which in turn will bring new focus and prioritisation of omnichannel technology investments by retailers.
What’s special about the platform and your approach?
Aptos’ microservices-based SaaS platform, Aptos ONE, enables retailers to address omnichannel engagements with their customers, whilst also having the flexibility to introduce new innovations quickly and in a differentiating way. The platform extends across the Aptos suite, offering one set of universal capabilities designed to enable retailers to compete in the complex world of constant disruption.
The ability to unify services across every touchpoint in retail, through the cloud, and on mobile devices, is critical in supporting retailers’ omnichannel and digital transformation strategies.
As non-essential retailers return to trading and store footfall increases, we expect to see a number of shoppers who want to minimise their time spent in-store in the near term. To address this, we are working closely with our customers to optimise their ability to fulfil click-and-collect orders, as well as introducing the capability for shoppers to reserve their goods online and then drive to the retailer’s location to collect their items and pay outside the store, such as at “curbside.”
Another area in which we’re supporting retailers in their COVID-19 recovery is by introducing more innovations in self-serve technologies, such as scan-and-go and in-store kiosks. There is a reasonable expectation that “high-touch” customer service will be uncomfortable for store staff and consumers alike in the near future.
Whilst there is no blueprint for providing the right experience for every shopper, many retailers are evaluating how they can empower shoppers to choose the level of staff interaction they want to receive in-store, including during the checkout process.
Aptos’ flexible and extensible platform allows retailers to introduce new capabilities quickly, such as those mentioned above, to offer the right experience, at the right time, and in a way that differentiates their brand.
What does a product/service implementation actually look like and how do you measure success?
Aptos has used its wealth of experience in customer engagement, order management and mobile solutions to enable a retailer to be up and live within 6 to 8 weeks for integrated buy-online and order fulfilment from the store. This delivers rapid business benefit and ROI by opening up store inventory for online orders for either home delivery or collection at the store. The measures of success can include orders that are fulfilled from stores that would otherwise not have been fulfilled from the warehouse and the potential cost savings in the shipment.
How are retailers using your systems to gain competitive advantage and what does best practice look like?
Retailers that can adapt to the “new normal”, while saving cost and maximising their revenue opportunity, will be the ones that survive the crisis and thrive in the future.
As retailers’ technology partner for omnichannel transformation, we can help retailers gain competitive advantage by providing the seamless experiences customers expect, whilst offering new and expanded fulfilment services. Opening up store stock for online purchases is one of the most beneficial ways to support revenue growth, preserve margin, and delight shoppers.
Any final thoughts?
Whilst the benefits of in-store fulfilment are numerous, retail staff are hard-pressed to handle the influx of orders originating from outside their store, in addition to their more traditional tasks.
To support retailers in this area, Aptos recently announced Aptos ONE Store Fulfilment, a mobile-native application that empowers retail associates to meet the escalating demand for in-store fulfilment.
Aptos ONE Store Fulfilment enables associates to quickly and accurately fulfil orders, while freeing up more time for other tasks throughout the store. The mobile-native application offers intuitive and visual workflows that help associates prioritise and simplify tasks, with progress indicators and next steps to stay on track.
To find out how Aptos can help your retail operation, click here.
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