Retailer competitiveness requires investment in superior Retail Management Solutions
According to a recent market study on the state of the retail sector that we have released at Openbravo, almost 82% of today’s retailers were planning to increase their IT budgets this year which clearly shows a trend change that would continue in the coming years. Top priorities in retailers’ IT spending are focused on cross-channel, cloud and mobile capabilities, and 79% of retailers will invest specifically in their store systems, where the number of retailers using mobile POS is expected to triple in the next year. This shows a positive market outlook for vendors of innovative solutions and systems targeting retail.
What the same study confirms as well is that despite the rapid growth of online retail, physical stores will continue to be the main driver of total retail sales for several more years to come. This is especially true in emerging markets due to different infrastructure, legal and consumer behavior reasons. To add a bit more color to this statement, note that the study revealed that over the coming years, 89% of total retail sales in developed countries like the USA, and a whopping 95% on average in emerging markets like Mexico or India will still be realized in physical stores.
It is clear then that physical stores will continue to play a key role in the retail space. Retail dynamics are changing though and that needs to be taken into account by retailers themselves in their strategies, as well as by solution vendors like Openbravo to continue to support retailers for enhanced competitiveness. Back in 2010 we made the strategic decision to develop a new point of sale solution, fully web and mobile. At Openbravo we were well positioned to do so since today’s mobile point of sale is an evolution of our tremendously successful previous point of sale solution, the Openbravo Java POS that was downloaded close to 1 million times! Our entirely new point of sale was launched in 2012 embedded in the new Openbravo for Retail solution. Today we can still proudly say that it is a differential product in the market and this has allowed us to achieve great results especially in emerging markets where open source affordability plays a key role.
After two years of continuous functional and technical innovations already tried and tested by important clients and with rapidly growing market traction we have achieved maturity. Now we have a better solution, and we are more solid and clearly prepared for future challenges in the retail industry. And, of course, every day we continue to invest in further evolving our solution to stay in the vanguard.
Building on the promising results achieved to date we find it the right time to further strengthen our positioning and expand our presence as a leading solutions vendor in the retail market. Recently we started communicating our ambition to become the preferred Commerce Platform for agile retailers through our Openbravo Commerce Platform, an evolution of the Openbravo for Retail solution.
The Openbravo Commerce Platform as we envision it is much more than a closed retail solution that comes, let’s say, “out-of-the-box”. Our Commerce Platform combines all the great things of our retail solution, including of course our leading mobile point of sale as well as extensive retail specific functionality in the back end. Yet it’s much more. The Commerce Platform more effectively than ever leverages the unmatched flexibility of the Openbravo Platform, with superior interconnectivity, interoperability, and customization capabilities allowing agile retailers to connect complementary technologies like for CRM, payment terminals or similar. A flexible Commerce Platform that can be adapted as the retailer’s business evolves and grows, ultimately helps retailers to stay competitive. And that’s what matters for us at Openbravo. So I think this is a good moment to share with you some insights on how we are making this possible.
From a product perspective we announced early this year a new roadmap, more complete and solid where mobility, analytics, platform flexibility and usability are the key pillars, all aimed at effectively responding to industry trends and new challenges. The new roadmap came with a new Release Policy with quarterly releases that will help us provide ever higher quality and will be key to better manage the way customers decide to update their systems.
From an organizational perspective we know about the importance of industry specific knowledge and therefore we are adding new talented people to our product development, product management, channel management and services teams. We have done a partner program overhaul to appeal to best profile Partners with a proven track record and experience in the sector which we are proactively seeking through new partner acquisition campaigns that shall help to expand the footprint of our global Channel retail profile.
From an offering point of view now the Openbravo Commerce Platform is one of our two pillars together with the Openbravo ERP Platform thus resulting in a very targeted and clear value proposition. New services such as 24x7x365 support that are a must for retailers are also offered.
Targeted marketing efforts are not only limited to our clear messaging on our website, but are also centered around a very rapidly growing number of customer success stories among retailers around the globe, market analyses like the study on the state of the retail industry referred to above, and of course through extensive presence, often with our official Partners, in some of the most important retail conventions like ANTAD in Mexico, Paris Retail Week in France, IRF in India or Retail Asia Expo in Hong Kong. All these and many other focused activities we are putting in place are extending our presence in the market, confirming and strengthening our market positioning, as well as giving us the opportunity to get direct feedback from the market.
So as you can see it is not only a matter of a new state-of-the-art product but also the confirmation of a firm strategic decision. Now this is a great new step forward in our trajectory as leading open source software vendor, with strong energy and confidence based on customer successes obtained to date. The Retail opportunity is huge for retailers, retail systems integrators as well as for Openbravo today and in the future. Ready to join us?