Earlier this month, over 400 delegates from the retail, logistics and supply chain space descended on 8 Northumberland, London, for the second Manhattan EMEA Exchange event. Hosted by the fantastic Babita Sharma from the BBC, it was an insightful day for all. We’ve recapped the key themes and highlights of the day in case you couldn’t make it!
Change is inevitable
Eddie Capel, CEO, opened the event with the clear message that current retail models are changing, so retailers are adapting to keep up with rapidly-changing consumer behaviours, supply networks, fulfilment approaches and business processes. The way in which companies adopt new technologies needs to become more frequent and more rapid. Departments must no longer be siloed – they must get in sync to deliver a better customer experience and improve operational efficiency so they can stay one step ahead
This is where our Manhattan Active Solution innovations were unveiled by Eddie. Manhattan Active Solutions aim to address the disconnect that many retailers face across their businesses and selling channels by providing access to an integrated suite of products that are always current, can run anywhere, are seamlessly interconnected and adaptive to specific needs.
What does this mean in practice?
“Always current” means the solutions are always current and automatically include the customer’s latest extensions and modifications, reducing or eliminating downtime needed for upgrades. “Can run anywhere” conveys that they can run in a Manhattan cloud or in the customer’s own cloud, and can be managed or offered as a service – it’s the customer’s call. “Seamlessly Interconnected” asserts that every application across the solution suites is enriched with a common platform of customer, inventory and execution data from across the entire enterprise. Finally, being “Adaptive” means the solutions have the flexibility to be added to as customers wish to support their bespoke needs and as new business challenges arise.
The store is not a separate channel
The store has for too long, been viewed as a separate channel. It is time for this outdated perception to change if retailers are going to keep up. Yes, the ecommerce channel is here to stay, but bricks and mortar stores serve as a physical extension of the digital experience. Retailers must see the physical and digital as two integrated channels that impact on each other.
As Matt Stringer, Global Product Officer at Mothercare explained during his talk, Mothercare has delivered an improved customer experience and increased sales following several store refurbishments. For example, Early Learning Centres became a haven for interactive play for children to get them hands on with their products. By focussing on their customer experience as a whole, they have been able to reinstate themselves as a key player in the market. Going forward, their strategy recognises their store and website as a single unified channel.
Giuseppe Guillot, Logistics and Systems Infrastructure Director at Kurt Geiger, also spoke about the challenges faced by the brand when it comes to establishing how customers behave in store. Deploying RFID tags in store will provide a ‘heatmap’, showing where customers are interacting the most to inform the customer experience, much like analytics can deliver on an ecommerce site.
Customer Centricity, Grocery & B2B Wholesale Streams
For the afternoon, delegates could choose between sessions focussing on different topics. The Grocery stream, in particular, discussed how grocery stores can keep up with Amazon who are offering same day delivery across various sectors. However, the general consensus was that it was better for retailers to offer what they can and do it well, than fail at offering something that is achievable but extremely challenging, like same day fulfilment. Rob Wilks from ASDA explained that actually, the uptake of their same day delivery has not been as high as anticipated. He explained that the lack of uptake could be down to customers not wanting to place their orders by the cut-off point, or simply because the increase in convenience stores reduces demand for same-day purchases as customers can find a store near their home or en route from work.
Thank you to all our delegates who attended the event, we hope you found the day useful and insightful. Next year’s EMEA Exchange will be held in Amsterdam – stay tuned for updates!