Wed. Sep 27th, 2023

The retail sector has been immersed, for years, in improving its sales processes. The fundamental change in the trends of the sector lies in the fact that the client is now at the center of this strategy. For this reason, building loyalty, anticipating their needs and implementing digital marketing platforms are the essential priorities. And, we are facing a sector with high competitiveness among the different companies that make it up, so advancing in these digitization processes will allow them to attract and retain customers. To analyze their main challenges and trends, BYTE TI has organized a webinar, in collaboration with Brother, which has had the participation of David Moreno del CerroCTO of Grupo Tendam; Carlos Gutierrez, CEO of Sprinter Sport and Alvaro Gonzalez, Brother Key Account Manager.

Artificial Intelligence and Big Data in the retail sector

In the digital era in which we live, the retail sector faces an increasingly competitive and constantly evolving business environment. To stay ahead and meet changing consumer demands, retail companies are turning to the integration of two key technologies: AI and Big Data. But, what are they going to contribute to the sector? Carlos Gutiérrez, CEO of Sprinter SportCarlos Gutiérrez, CEO of Sprinter SportIn the words of Carlos Gutiérrez, CEO of Sprinter Sport, these technologies can provide a differential value in many areas, but the important thing is to know how to apply it, “in addition, we must know how to differentiate ourselves from the competition, especially since the retail , time to market, is one of the most sought after KPIs. In our case, there is great value with scalability issues, so you have to start thinking in different ways, be disruptive, and these technologies that exist, which are more than proven, are very useful” To which he adds that These technologies allow, above all, to shorten times, “shortening times, I would say that it is one of the values, in our case, most obtained and being a facilitator for the rest of the company, when it is growing”.David Moreno del Cerro, CTO of Grupo TendamDavid Moreno del Cerro, CTO of Grupo TendamFor his part, David Moreno del Cerro, CTO of Grupo Tendam explains that his company has been working with Machine Learning models and advanced data analytics for 6 years, “we have a lot of information from our customers, that this, together with the Big Data part, allows us to reduce the time with predictive models ”. “We have been the second fashion company to have electronic commerce in Spain. And we have a lot of experience in the online world. The offline world is different. The omnichannel way and so on, led to the world of the store is complex, because the reality of the store is different from what we have from central services or from what we can believe that the store has. The technology is different, the features are different. So there, it is true that we have all these new trends in focus and we believe that they are going to be very important, especially with a view to optimizing all the technological resources that we have to the maximum and making life easier for the dependent, so that they can do more with less,” he says.Álvaro González, Brother Key Account ManagerÁlvaro González, Key Account Manager at BrotherFollowing the line of his colleagues, Álvaro González, Key Account Manager at Brother explains that Big Data allows us to foresee and anticipate what can happen in supply chains, especially when it comes to labeling, “we we are experts in labeling, and one of the great advantages of analyzing data is to improve or anticipate systems that are not being operational or productive enough and improve said productivity. But, how can we increase productivity with these technologies?” Well, with different accessories that we can implement, we always talk about hardware in this case, to promote employee productivity. We are talking, for example, about cutters, peelers… and returning to the issue of habitat, in the experience of present projects that we have had, we are aware, or at least that is how they have transmitted to us, that labeling is the base where the data rests”.

Main challenges of the sector

Retail companies are facing market saturation, where the presence of physical stores, e-commerce and online marketplaces has increased dramatically. To stand out from the crowd, companies must find ways to differentiate themselves. These changing demands present a series of significant challenges that retail companies must address in order to remain relevant and successful in the market. Regarding this, the CTO of Grupo Tendam explains that one of the great challenges facing the sector is management of talent, “a very high speed is being demanded of us when it comes to delivering value solutions. But all these technologies and all these developments are not done alone. We need people to do it. And today it is very complex in many aspects and many verticals. Every day we try to save talent, but with great difficulty. On the other hand, a significant challenge is the legacy. Although we are working hard to modernize it, there is still a large part of the operation that is legacy and that forces us to carry two speeds. In the opinion of the Brother Key Account Manager, one of the great challenges they face is the reduction of errors and consequently the reduction of avoiding losses, “on this, we understand that store personnel have to be attending to the store, you do not have to be aware of a hardware, a peripheral, a printer… We work with different partners, with different partners that allow us to integrate different solutions to adapt to new trends, Big Data, IoT… We also have our own solutions, also at no cost. So how can I avoid the issue of overtime? How can I avoid errors?: with a traceability system”. For his part, the CEO of Sprinter Sport has an impact on the data, “we have 5 strategic pillars within DTI, one of them is data-driven. So, within the strategy, we have added a pillar: be very disruptive in the data part. Our vision is that any salesperson, any Sprinter employee has to have access to data in the most intuitive and easy way possible, from a mobile printer to a terminal. Another challenge is that of talent. I think that the IT sector in general has to face this and think about how we face one of the biggest challenges that we all have, absolutely, both providers and companies”.

Attract and retain the customer

With increased competition and changing consumer preferences, retail companies face the challenge of creating effective strategies that allow them not only to attract new customers, but also to maintain a solid base of loyal customers. For David Moreno del Cerro, From their company they want the client to feel that they are getting a personalized service, “you cannot send an SMS to a girl or a boy of 18 or 20 years, when they are more used to direct interaction through social networks, or to through an influencer… We also listen a lot to the store. The store is an important feedback channel for us because we have learned, based on many mistakes, that reality is very different from what we think. We have technologies or platforms deployed a bit to interact, so that the store sends us any type of information that may be interesting and that also allows us to react quickly, because it is true that this world of retail is very dynamic. We discussed Time to Market earlier. There are collections that literally last for weeks. So, for us the important thing is to listen, to actively listen to the store, to see what is happening in the world in general, to adapt and to have a conservative perspective in the sense of always ensuring that all The management of the data, of the information that we have just given to our clients, is in the hands of the client”. Knowing this, what will be the ICT trends that will generate the greatest impact in the retail sector? Álvaro González, once again emphasizes the customer experience, “the trends that we see at this point are the forms of self-payment, to improve agility, that is, that the customer spends less time in the store when paying, and does not suffer what is burning tails. A mobile payment must be offered within the store, generate an automatic receipt… With this, the star in terms of automatic identification is RFID, which not only improves the customer experience, but also that of the employees themselves. the company”.

Artificial intelligence and data

Artificial intelligence (AI) and data analytics have become essential tools to drive transformation and growth in this sector. The combination of AI and the use of data offers retail companies the ability to obtain deep insight into their customers, improve strategic decision-making and provide personalized and satisfying shopping experiences. In the words of Carlos Gutiérrez, the Data management is an obligation and a necessity. And it is that as he explains, “you cannot do AI without the data. So, how can we manage what comes our way? What we have is difficult, but what is coming will be even more difficult. The main thing is to know how to use this AI in the appropriate way in each case”. David Moreno del Cerro agrees with his colleague and points out that in the end, everything that has to do with intelligence is difficult, “this is going to be a trend that will depend a lot on that data and on how we govern it and to what extent we can trust the Machine Learning systems and the ingestion of information. Because trustworthiness in AI these days, at least in AI that’s in the newspapers, is pretty relative. For me, another trend is automation, insofar as it helps us all to reduce costs, and also with talent, as well as sustainability”.

By Alvaro Rivers

Award-winning student. Incurable social media fanatic. Music scholar. Beer maven. Writer.