Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Openbravo POS for smartphones

Openbravo POS on tablets and smartphones

With the recent announcement last week about the smartphone support for Openbravo POS, Openbravo for Retail completes the range of possible devices that let retailer adapt to any business scenario, ranging from PC based terminals to laptops, tablet devices and now “smartphones like” devices. 

I would like to stress the "like" reference, since it is not even necessary to use an smartphone, but simply a mobile device with a supported browser and internet connectivity, with the miminum required characteristics in terms of screen size and resolution (3.5" and 480x800 pixels). As a result, retailer can use cost effective devices of around $300, like a simple iPod Touch or others. 

The beauty of this is that this new capability does not mean we are distributing a new version of our solution for smartphones, but the same solution which automatically adapts its layout depending on the size of the terminal, thanks to the responsive design principle provided by the powerful Openbravo Mobile Infraestructure. Its application to our solution was already explained by Rob Goris in this great blogpost. Tablet users will usually work with the double column layout but will be able to switch to the single column layout by simply rotating the device, while smartphone users will usually work with the single column layout.

To illustrate this, a new video is available which shows Openbravo POS features in action on mobile devicesEnglish and Spanish, which complements the one we published last week showing Openbravo POS in a sporting shoes retailer, here.

With this new capability which strenghtens Openbravo’s mobile retail offering, brick-and-mortar retailers get clear business benefits:

  • Simplified deployment and maintenance of a single and cross platform solution that can be run in multiple terminals, either traditional PC based or modern mobile devices like tablets or smartphones, providing the same functionality and user experience, instead of native mobile solutions which require to be installed on each mobile terminal. Only by using a browser.
  • Enable the go-mobile strategy, an industry imperative today, by using both iOS, Windows or Android mobile devices
  • Dramatically reduce terminal costs by using mobile consumer devices, like smartphones or tablets, instead of traditional PC-based terminals
  • Provide a better service and shopping experience to their customers
  • Empower store staff and increase service quality with a modern and more flexible solution that help staff while selling and assisting customers
  • Be more agile in front of seasonal demand situations which require more points of sale by simply adopting mobile devices during these periods
This new feature converts Openbravo for Retail in an even more compelling solution for retailers of different sizes and activity, that can access to a modern and more flexible solution, which can be easily tailored to their own special needs, giving them more agility and better TCO, while achieving real-time global visibility and efficiency on their business demands.

Are you expanding into new territories and/or new business areas, or just seeking for a solution to modernize your stores and provide better shopping experience with a state-of-the-art mobile POS solution? : 

  • Are you an independent mid-sized brick-and-mortar retailer struggling to go mobile and interested to grow on-line? Openbravo for Retail can provide you strong store, e-commerce backend and corporate functionality, with a single source of truth
  • Are you an e-tailer seeking for a complete e-commerce backend solution to better manage your growing operations? Openbravo for Retail can be easily integrated with any e-commerce platform (Magento connector available for example). If you are thinking on opening pop-up stores for showrooming, Openbravo POS with mobile devices can also be a key element for a quick up&running
  • Are you a large brick and mortar retailer and want to protect your headquarters system investment while improving your stores operations? Openbravo POS is the perfect solution, easy to integrate with your current corporate system and from a single integration point

If you want to learn more about our solution:
·        Visit our Retail website section
·        Download our product brochure (English and Spanish)
·        Dowload our solution description (English and Spanish)

Happy retailing!

Xavier Places
Openbravo’s Retail Lead

Friday, March 22, 2013

Great conclusions after Expo ANTAD 2013 in Guadalajara, México

Official Expo ANTAD 2013 logo

From 13th to 15th March, Openbravo and some of our mexican partners participated as exhibitors in the Expo ANTAD 2013, in Guadalajara, México, one of the biggest and most important retail events in the country and America.

Our conclusions can't be more positive. During the 3 days, we have confirmed the tremendous opportunity that Retail represents for Openbravo in México, in a moment where México's economy is growing fast, and companies with a strong growth and more complex operations, require a modern and affordable solution that ensures they are ready for the current and future industry challenges. Something we have already identified in the past, but again confirmed with some of our visitors, is the clear interest of big brick-and-mortar retailers seeking for a full web and mobile ready store solution, that integrates seamless with their current Tier 1 headquarters system. Most of these cases are SAP customers.

My colleague Óscar González, LATAM Channel responsible

Mobile was one of the hottest topics (in fact we were there presenting our support to smartphones), with most of visitors impressed by our support to smartphones and tablets, together with its full web capabilities, usability and flexibility. OnDemand  is also seen as a very interesting option.

Smartphone support

We had the opportunity to talk with a number of retailers from different sub-sectors, sharing their requirements and confirming the value that Openbravo for Retail can bring to them. From small or medium retailers, up to big ones like a supermarket chain with more than 150 locations.

During the third day, I conducted a conference in the Retail Tech zone, called "Loyalty : challenges and trends in the multichannel retail", very well received and nowadays representing a hot topic in the industry. It was not an Openbravo for Retail presentation, but a business presentation,  which demonstrates our interest to appear not only as retail software experts, but as true retail industry experts, which is fundamental to advise and support our customers in a fast changing industry like Retail.  We will publish it during the next days.

Myself, during the conference

During the conference, I had the opportunity to present our colaboration with AppCard, a company providing a mobile loyalty solution that is changing the way brick-and-mortar stores acquire and retain customers. Merchants can easily create personalized offers and know their customers with more than 90 cloud-based analytics and business-intelligence reports, accessible anytime, anywhere. Customers can easily search for stores and promotions, and redeem their rewards to get discounts in their favourite stores. This collaboration will provide a stronger solution for our customers.

AppCard mobile application
The interest for Openbravo in México is also demonstrated by our frequent presence in media. This time and during the Expo, we were invited by ANTAD Radio and interviewed by some local newspapers.

Óscar González in ANTAD Radio
All these are very positive signs that confirm our 2012 official results in México. We have tripled our software revenue and average deal size, where Retail accounts for a relevant percentage,  and a 70% growth of our partner network. Our new office in México D.F will help for sure to consolidate our presence there.

And after the Expo, some time for visiting the city during the weekend.  Quesadillas and Mariachis in Tlaquepaque



Thanks Guadalajara : great business, food and fun ! 

See you soon!

Xavier Places
Openbravo's Reail Lead

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Openbravo for Retail for Wholesalers with mobile sales

Openbravo for Retail offers a complete functionality for multichannel retailers, from Sales and Customer Relations to Finance and Operations. Its HTML5 web POS can be run on modern tablet devices, helping to improve dramatically the employees productivity and customer buying experience.

However, Openbravo for Retail is not only intended for pure retailers. Are you a distributor who is struggling with your mobilized sales force? Do you have trucks, and lack of complete control over their inventory levels in order to ensure they can fullfill all orders? Do you want to provide your drivers with a powerful tool that helps them to avoid data entry errors, improve your data quality and therefore provide support for a better decision making process?

If you have answered positively to some of these questions, Openbravo for Retail is also a solution for you !.

Let me illustrate it with a simple business scenario. Imagine you are wholesaler who has a fleet of 3 trucks. Each driver follows a different route and sells and delivers directly to your customers.

How Openbravo for Retail could help you? :
  1. Create each truck as a store in the Backoffice. Trucks are in fact mobile stores, right? In this way you will be able to assign to each truck a price list,  an assortment and a warehouse. Maximum flexibility!
  2. Having an assigned warehouse, will let you control exactly the stock level of each truck, either at the end of the journey if they don't have internet connectivity, or in real time if they have it, by synchronizing orders automatically with the Backoffice. This real time scenario, will let you decide to replenish a truck during its route, for example in the event of an unforseen new order or a higher ordered quantity of some products. No more stockout situations!
  3. After that, you can set up a single POS terminal per truck, with its allowed payment methods
  4. At this point, you arm each driver with a tablet. In the Central Office, at the beginning of their journey, they connect to the corresponding POS url to synchronize the initial master data : products, prices, promotions and customers. Better data quality for minimizing data entry errors!
  5. If your customers can pay in cash, you will give some change to your drivers. By creating a deposit, you can easily register the ammount for each POS. Total control over the managed cash!
  6. Openbravo for Retail is a full web application, but it doesn't require to be on-line:
    • Drivers have connectivity : all the orders will be synchronized automatically to the Backoffice, which gives you real time visibility about the served orders and remaining stock on each truck
    • Drivers don’t have connectivity : not a problem at all! Openbravo Web POS can be run offline. Drivers can do their job and synchronize all the information later in the Central Office
  7. Armed with his tablet, the driver will start new sales, by selecting products and/or customers, creating new customers or applying automatic or manual discounts. Discounts and other options can be securized. Peace of mind about what each driver can do!
  8. Do you need to provide a receipt for the transaction? The best option in this scenario would be to use a bluetooth printer.  If card payments are possible, you could use an external payment device, integrated or not with the Web POS (see Note 1). Get maximum benefit from the solution interoperability capabilities!
  9. For customers who pay later, you can use the credit sales functionality
  10. At the end of the journey, your drivers will be able to close the day, thanks to the Cash Up functionality, a guided step-by-step closing process that updates all your financial accounts in the Backoffice. Full integration with the financial module!
  11. Now you can replenish each truck and update their stock levels in the system (by using their associated warehouse) and be prepared for the next day!
  12. In case you pay commisions to your drivers, it is really simple to calculate and process them
  13. If you are also interested on a graphical information about the geographical spread of your customers, a better track of your trucks routes, or just a clear information about the customer adress you can  think on integrating with solutions like Google Maps (see Note 2)

Picture 1 : Orders in a map

Picture 2 : Customer Address

Note 1: integration with a bluetooth printer or with a payment gateway can require customization
Note 2: Google Maps integration is not provided out-of-the-box, and is only available today in the Openbravo's online demo as an illustrative example. A Google Maps API for Business license is necessary for internal use

In case your drivers simply deliver the previously ordered merchandise (through any of your sales channels), you can also use the capabilities of the Openbravo 3 Mobile platform.

Do you have an existing headquarters solution that must be maintained? No problem. You will be able easily to integrate Openbravo for Retail with it.

If you want to learn more about Openbravo for Retail, visit our website retail section and read the solution description.

Enjoy and happy Retailing!

Xavier Places

Openbravo's Reail Lead

Friday, November 2, 2012

Openbravo for Retail Update

The Retail industry is undergoing a profound transformation, pushed by technologies like E-Commerce, mobile devices and social networks that are revolutionizing the way people shop. Many retailers, both traditional stores as well as E Commerce companies,  are trying to respond to this new world and struggling with their legacy Retail management systems (traditionally showing a high degree of customization), which are too rigid to support these new needs.  Retailers looking to escape from their legacy systems face significant challenges around cost, time-to-market, flexibility and/or  lack of a complete functionality, which are delaying their decision, resulting in a big risk for their future growth.

The new Openbravo for Retail solution was designed to meet these challenges, and three months after its launch, the inputs from the market are very positive, as we confirmed at retail events in Hong Kong, Paris and Mexico.  Openbravo for Retail provides the required agility and affordability, along with an improved shopping experience, a key element to develop consumer-centric strategies, a key strategic challenge for retailers today. Big retailers visited us in these shows and confirmed their interest, seeking a solution able to improve their store and headquarters operations.

Full web capabilities, usability thanks to the use of mobile devices and On Demand are the most highlighted features by retailers who have showed interest in the solution. New pricing (simpler and more flexible) has also been very well received.

Openbravo on Demand is becoming one of the most important adoption drivers for retail. By providing the best of the SaaS and traditional deployment worlds, and benefiting from its Cloud nature, On Demand shows clear affinities with the Retail business:
  • Highly distributed scenarios, e.g. multiple stores and mobile requirements
  • Easy to integrate Web POS with existing back office through a single, secure web services based integration point in the cloud
  • Seasonality aspects, along with the typical retail HR challenges (many part time employees or peak times require ability to cost-effectively scale up or down on demand)
  • Quick up-and-running for new store openings (traditional stores, pop-up stores), due to back office being implemented as a managed cloud service
  • IT staff reduction or time invested in higher value activities
  • Big Data influence, being able to access to more powerful servers offering higher analytics capabilities at a lower cost
The number of customers is growing rapidly, and we anticipate accelerated growth during the next months. Back Office named users at USD 49/month (or 39 EUR) and POS terminals per USD25/month (or 19 EUR) are unbeatable pricesRetail on Demand is a real trend that provides a big competitive advantage.

Openbravo for Retail helps also E-tailers. Many of them lack a proper back office system, which is required when they: 
  • grow in the number of served orders,
  • expand internationally,
  • initiate a multi-channel strategy, or
  • simply want to offer the best sales experience backed by quality and on-time information about stock, product characteristics, prices, etc.

E-tailers benefit directly from the Openbravo 3 advanced interoperability capabilities, which make it easy to integrate with existing commercial or custom made E-Commerce platforms, for example Magento, the world leader open source E-Commerce platform, for which an integration module already exists.

Additionally, we see traditional retailers increasingly recognizing the E-Commerce potential and initiating projects to implement a complete multichannel solution.  Many of these retailers are frustrated by the cost and complexity of their legacy systems, and are looking to modernize their operations--often starting at the store level. Deploying Openbravo for Retail's Web POS can be a natural first step, since it provides a single point of integration to an existing back office, with easy real-time integration through RESTful web services. 

From a product perspective, our Roadmap includes great new features that are improving the retail functionality in valuable ways and are helping to build our vision. Gift card support, Advanced Promotions and Discounts, and smart phones support are coming soon! 

Although not limited to Retail, the highly strategic Openbravo Mobile project will enable Openbravo 3 to be efficiently accessed from tablet and small-sized mobile touch devices. This will represent a huge improvement for Retail Managers (Store Managers, E-Commerce Managers, Franchise owners…) being able to access all back office information from everywhere with their smartphones. Updated information about  its possibilities and a technology overview are available.

From a training perspective, a new Openbravo for Retail functional training has been delivered, and is the first in a new series of Retail courses - a must for all of you who want to learn about the detailed functionality, or are selling and/or implementing Openbravo for Retail

Do you want to learn more about Openbravo for Retail ? :

If you are evaluating Openbravo for Retail for use in your company and have questions, please fill out our customer contact form or contact any of our official partners in your region.

If you are an IT company interested in becoming a partner or affiliate of Openbravo and develop a new business opportunity in the Retail industry, please fill out our partner form. We are looking for partners in several regions!

Stay all tuned and follow us in Planet, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and LinkedId!

Happy Retailing!

Kind Regards,

Xavier Places Cano
Retail Industry Champion

Thursday, June 28, 2012

The Asian retail opportunity for Openbravo

Last 12th and 14th June in Hong Kong, I had the opportunity to attend the Retail Asia Expo 2012, together with our local partners System In Motion and Ewota

From left to right: Jojo Wang and Dinglong Chen from Ewota, Sunando Banarjee and myself from Openbravo, Catherine Lam Pesnel and Stephane Monsallier from System In Motion

You can read here a brief article of our solution in the Retail in Asia web page (it requires to register).
After the 3 expo days, I had also the opportunity to go shopping in the Hong Kong streets. What an incredible experience!. Fully recommended. Stores and more stores, commercial centers… The shopper paradise. Here some photos, that I took with my new camera, bought obviously there, in Times Square.

Times Square
Near the Causeway Bay Station
The conclusions of the event have been very positive. First in terms of visitors to our booth, but second and more important, with the confirmation that the Asian market represents a great opportunity for Openbravo. Among the more than 300 visitors during the 3 days, some internationally renowned retailers expressed interest in the Openbravo solution, to improve their retail operations, web and multi-channel, and support the use of mobile devices.

With China and India leading the Asian market growth in the coming years, several aspects appear as key elements to understand the Asian opportunity:
  • Growing middle class with higher incomes, particularly in China and India
  • Growing market of young people, particulary interested in western fashion styles
  • Increased access to technology, such as mobile or internet (China with 420 million internet users)
  • E-Commerce progressive growth, although not as high as in other areas (due to transactions security and credit card fees)
  • In the case of India, a progressive market liberalization, and new policies that will help to improve the existing restrictions on foreign investment
  • In terms of sub-sectors:
    • Food & Beverage, led by strong growth in hypermarkets, supermarkets and convenience stores, thanks for example to ongoing infrastructures improvement (roads)
    • Fashion, thanks especially to the young population increasingly interested in Western fashion. Fast fashion (like Zara, from Spanish group Inditex) has a great opportunity . Hong Kong remains as an important market for international brands to showcase their products to Chinese consumers
    • Fast Moving Consuming Goods (FMCG), with an increasing demand of toiletries (personal care), cosmetics and cleaning products.
    • Luxury, with China as the second largest world market. Groups like LVMH, the world's largest group in this subsector, showing a significant growth in revenue, thanks especially to the Asian and U.S markets.
The  growing presence of international brands seeking growth outside their saturated home markets, such as GAP, H&M, Inditex, Tesco, Carrefour and others, confirm this opportunity. Those established brands, are also moving from large tier-1 cities out to smaller ones, a clear sign of expansion and growth.  You can read a lot of news showing the expansion of some of these brands:
  • Sporting goods retailer Oxylane opens flagship Decathlon store in Taiwan, here
  • Swedish retailer IKEA to invest $1.9 billion in India to open 25 stores, here
  • Fast retailing to open 49 Uniqlo stores in greater Manila area, here
  • Radio Shack continues expansion in Asia, here
  • Subway to have 1000 outlets in Indiain next 5 years, here
  • Starbucks US to open 1500 stores in China by 2015, here
In this situation, Asian retailers are facing new challenges, never faced before. Technology plays a key role, with systems that must provide the required agility and flexibility. And because of the IT budget constraints, retailers are also interested to adopt affordable solutions, providing multichannel capabilities, and helping to improve the shopping experience.

Openbravo's solution for Retail fits this scenario perfectly, first from a cost perspective with a subscription based model that reduces the initial investment and the risk over time, an open-source core application platform, and a 100% web architecture that minimizes the IT costs. It is also a multichannel solution with the capacity to use mobile devices. And thanks to a comprehensive out-of-the-box functionality, and unlimited customization capabilities as well, it lets retailer to grow as expected. It can be installed on premise, hosted or in the cloud, resulting in a perfect solution for any IT department requirements. Openbravo POS can be deployed as a local application or as a web applicaton, which can be used with tablets, like iPad or Android devices, providing maximum flexibility and helping to improve the shopping experience.

Openbravo web POS
Retail Backoffice (Workspace with some widgets)
Compared with the rigidity of other solutions, Openbravo´s solution for Retail, offers a high level of flexibility and adaptability, key elements to develop an adapted local strategy. In these cases, even for large international brands willing to maintain the existing head office system (for example based on SAP), the Openbravo’s solution offers unique features that make it a great candidate to support operations in these countries, fully adapted to retailer needs:
  1. As a complete system for supporting the country operations (stores and headquarters), easily integrated with the head office system thanks to its web service based interoperability capacities
  2. As a store operations system, integrated with the head office system as well
The future can´t be more promising. Asia represents a huge opportunity, and we are sure we can help Asian retailers to their existing and future challenges. Retailers like Decathlon in India,  Feiyue or Platane in China, or Escapade in Hong Kong, are already relying on Openbravo to run their businesses.  But we think it is just the beginning.

Are you ready to change?

Happy Retailing!

Xavier Places

Retail Industry Champion at Openbravo
Phone : +34 607.676.568

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Multichannel Shopping and Privacy

Probably most of you remember Minority Report (2002) with Tom Cruise. What about that touchless screen? Cool, isn´t it? Today it is a reality. Look for example SIMIOZ, a touchless technology applicable to different industries. Or Insteo providing also digital signage solutions, some of them powered by Kinect technology. Certainly, most of you know for sure about Kinect in the gaming world, but it is a technology applicable for business purposes as well. See here a cool Kinet grocery cart prototype.

I won't discover anything new if I say that an improved shopping experience is now at the center of any retailer strategy. This combined with Multichannel, means that this shopping experience must be the same across all channels, which makes us talk about the Omnichannel concept.

Again, nothing new if I say that e/m/s-commerce are growing faster than of brick-and-mortar, and some people say that this will mean the end of the traditional physical store model. I don't think so. I'm more of the opinion that traditional stores must change, or better evolve, and this is already happening. The role of the physical stores is changing, and this is something retailers have noticed. I liked very much this interview with  Ron Johnson, creator of the Apple Store and now CEO of J.C. Penney. I highly recommeded reading it. And more recently this from Macy's CEO Terry Lundgren, talking about how stores are borrowing ideas from the online world.

Assuming this and thinking that conversion rates in the physical world are much higher than in the e-world, it makes sense that location based shopping technologies are getting more and more important. Goal: increase your foot traffic.

And I was precisely reading about location based shopping when this scene of Minority Report came to mind. An example is ShopKlick, which, I recognize, I only recently came to know. I find their model very interesting and I recommend watching some YouTube videos with the company's CEO like this. A shopper gets rewarded simply by crossing the store doors, and this virtual currency can be cashed in other brands, or even totally different products. For example you can get Kicks in an apparel store and use them for buying a theatre ticket. They have now more that 3 million active users.

Other vendors are providing location based shopping technologies. An example is Retailigence but there are others.

Marketing departments love these technologies, but if they evolve as rapidly as we've seen with other technologies, the Minority Report example could become reality in short, if we think in a mass commercial use. In fact, retina and iris recognition technologies have existed for a long time ago; so far they are used in specific sectors, but this could change. See here.

At this point, I rise a question : will all these technologies really improve our shopping experience? Or will they become more and more intrusive, thus threatening our privacy more and more, just for marketing and sales purposes?. It's true that nowadays, you can decide if you adopt them or not, but Minority Report shows a future where I think this is not a choice. I think on RFID, a technology which has been discussed for long time, that has not definetely exploded, first because of the tags cost, but also because of privacy concerns.

Retailers wants to know more and more about potential shoppers, and at the end, this will rise inevitably privacy issues, and also will require a different way on thinking about our privacy. This is not a new topic, but something we should start thinking more seriously. If we move to the e-world, this is a clear reality, and for example in Europe, a new law will require retailers to get permission from shoppers before placing a cookie on their computers. Imagine their reaction...

In fact, most of you are probably publishing your personal photos, experiences... in Facebook, Pintarest, FourSquare.... So maybe this mindset change is already on-going. Are you conscious about it? Lets see what marketeers have prepared for us in the future. For sure they will impress us!

Enjoy and happy shopping!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Information today : are we users or products?

All has an starting point, and this can't be different.

For a long time I've been thinking on creating a Blog. I doubted about creating a professional one, a personal one, both or just one for all. I've decided for this last option, because finally it will be simpler. By using labels I can also differentiate professional and personal posts.

Another question is the first topic, and since a blog is nothing else that an information channel, I think that precisely Information can be a good first topic.

Today we have a lot of information sources. We are constantly managing information: receiving, processing, creating, searching, evaluating....With our friends, our family, our work colleagues, unknown people in social networks...  Information grows and grows and it seems everybody is happy to have access to more information, without thinking about its real value or the consequences of its use.

Anyway, something is changing constantly: our exposure level to information. More information, and earlier. Technology has a deep influence here. My almost 4 years old son sees and hears books in an iPad, uses Google and Skype, calls his grandparents by mobile. He says: "I want to see a video in internet", "Lets search for a game in internet", "Dad send me this by Skype" .... Amazing.

My question : are we really prepared for this? Do we have proper criteria to prioritize, to know where to pay attention or not, who/what should be trusted or not...? Are we educated to be really efficient information prosumers? Are we able to create real knowledge from here? Or are we maybe simply calling information to what it was simply data? Are we maybe changing the meaning of the information concept?

I'm recently more interested in the education. I guess this is normal when you have children and they start to go to school, and it is my case now with my son.  I've had the opportunity to recently discover Sir Ken Robinson. Fully agree with his view about our public education systems, and their impact on creativity and talent. Do not forget to see these two videos from him :  this TED video, and also this. In this last video he says "...our children are living in the most estimulating period in the history...". And it is supposed that their parents must take care of what they can access or not, based on principles probably not corresponding to this "new age". Other experts like Robert Roeser or Linda Lantieri talk about emotions, and how we educate our children for that.

Creativity, talent, emotions, knowledge. I think they are all related to information processes. The way we process information (in a whole sense) will have a direct influence on the capacity to create, feel and learn. If we are more and more exposed to more and more information, different and earlier than before, it seems we should pay more attention to the way people interact with it. Specially the way our children will interact with it.

I've recently started to read this book : The Googlization of Everything: (And Why We Should Worry). Let me talk about it in my next posts. To finish this first post, I will make a final question, based on the same idea presented by the author when talking about Google: are we information users or information products? What do you think? Depending on your answer, you should also start to worry...