Many retailers still believe that building an omni-capable infrastructure costs a lot of money. That it is also possible to include omni-channel platforms and applications into existing infrastructures, explains Michael Bayer, President of the global Retail Division at NCR, in this interview.
Mr. Bayer, can retailers deploy omnichannel application without investing heavily in their IT infrastructure?
Capital and operational expenditure should always be considered alongside the value that retailers, and their customers, may get from the investment. The good news is that omnichannel platforms and applications can now be easily integrated with legacy infrastructure and provide an evolutionary path for retailers to build on.
This means that retailers can start small, should they wish to, and introduce new capabilities over time. These services are integrated through open or customized interfaces which our professional services teams can develop for them. By having a flexible platform in place and access to a diverse set of applications it also enables retailers to prepare for the future and take advantage of trends, such as the Internet of Things, as they mature.
NCR will present the next Generation of its self-checkouts at EuroCIS. What role will self-checkout have in the German retail industry in the next couple of years?
We have seen a lot of momentum in self-checkout in Germany in the past twelve months. This is due to a gradual shift in the service understanding of food retailers who increasingly see the need to transform their stores to cater for their customers’ needs. They turn to self-checkout as one means to provide better service and differentiate from competitors.
The proactive educational activities of the self-checkout initiative initiated by the EHI have certainly helped as well. Furthermore, we see that self-checkout adoption in Austria with Merkur and Billa put additional pressure on German retailers to make a move. Extended opening hours and rising labor costs open up new investment scenarios.
Today retailers need to find a way to work more efficiently with the existing resources and offer customers extended, flexible opening hours without long lines at the checkout.
At this year’s EuroCIS you will have a speaking slot on “how the smart kitchen will revolutionize food retail”. Can you give a short outline of the topic?
Our experience with retailers of all sizes and types around the world has revealed that there is a gap between the shopping experience that they are able to provide and what consumers expect. Closing this gap and moving from an omnichannel to a complete unified commerce experience is a significant challenge.
Our job is to help retailers understand where they are on this journey. I’ll be speaking alongside our Retail ONE ecosystem partner, freshub to explain how grocery retailers can achieve a unified commerce experience by harnessing the power of the Internet of Things to connect consumers’ kitchens with theirs store.