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Embracing The Digital Transformation

RETAILERS ARE INTEGRATING MORE CONSUMER-FACING TECHNOLOGIES INTO THE BRICKS AND MORTAR ENVIRONMENT, THANKS TO INTEGRATED SOLUTIONS PROVIDER HMY GROUP.

It's fair to say that the retail environment is a vastly different space to what it was a decade ago. For some retailers, the growth in e-commerce is a ‘death knell’ for the sector. For others, however, while online certainly pres­ents a challenge, the traditional sector is uncovering new ways to fight back.

A New Approach

HMY Group, specialist providers of inte­grated solutions for brands and retailers, understands this challenge, and believes that retailers that choose to 'reinvent' their store formats in keeping with the needs of the dig­itally-connected consumer, can reap untold benefits.

Lorena Gómez Latorre, retail technology manager at HMY Group, says that while in years past, integrated technologies tended to be 'pushed' on retailers that didn't understand their benefits, today, there is a definite 'pull' from operators that are looking for the tools to succeed.

"Retailers are starting to demand this sort of technology, and they are more aware," she explains. "They are creating new depart­ments to manage their digital technologies, and are looking for in-store solutions that can match their expectations. We can work closely with them on developing bespoke solutions for their business, and help them to connect their 'offline' channel with the grow­ing 'online' presence of their customer base."

According to Latorre, the rise of 'Internet of Things' (loT) technology has created an industry that is "alive, flexible and scalable" to any retailer's needs. "You can connect, at any time, to any device, and collect data that assists with the running of your store. For example, 'smart' cameras that not only tell you how many people visited your store, but also their gender and age profile. Or, social media 'walls' that project reviews and customer feedback on products in real time. They can get the same level of information in-store that they would have online."

Latorre believes that as the traditional retail sector becomes more accustomed to the benefits of integrated technology, so they will be able to take more ownership of their digital presence, and apply it constructively to their business: “We offer a service, and provide the platform, and we can also man­age it on behalf of our clients. But often it is the retailer that applies the scalability and flexibility."

Working Together

HMY works closely with clients to ensure that each 'phase' of a particular develop­ment is right for them, and to get them to understand the benefits of a particular approach. "Once we start a project with a client, our work with them is really 'alive' ," says Latorre. "Once we work out what the most-desired aspect is, we can build on that with new phases and new features, creating a solution that is constantly changing."

This in turn has led HMY to work with clients on novel concepts for retailers that were looking to do something a bit different. "It's a question of how 'disruptive' you want the technology to be," Latorre explains. "For one client, we developed a

'happiness measurer', which told customers that the more they smiled, the more dis­counts they would be able to receive. Things like this make people come back to a store, as it offers an experience that you wouldn't be able to replicate online."

The only limit, it seems is a retailer's imagination.

"Retailers are creating new departments to manage their digital technologies, and are looking f or in-store solutions that can match their expectations."

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