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DeployBusinesswoman Running On Line Fashion Business With POSment

Traditional stand-alone POS systems need specific hardware, or at least a specific operating system and require an installation process. Any update requires the terminal to be online, but the POS system must be stopped. Retailers seldom welcome a call from their IT support staff. No shop managers like to stop selling for 20 minutes for an IT upgrade.

When a terminal breaks down, the POS system must be installed on the new hardware and the local database must be restored, or regenerated. This process can take up to one day, providing spare hardware is available.

The story is very different with a Web-based POS. The Openbravo WebPOS requires no physical installation; the server distributes the upgrades automatically, and it takes only a few minutes to activate a new terminal. When a piece of hardware breaks down, a shop assistant can grab any smartphone, tablet or computer lying around and restart sales in a few minutes. The consumer may even not notice any delay.

Operational disruptions

Per one hundred terminals, 20 minute upgrades can account for four days of technician work, and sales that cannot be processed. Without remote access, if a technician needs to go shop by shop, the cost increases a hundred fold.

Out of a hundred terminals, one or two will break down per month. Big retailers have automated the installation of their POS system, but it may take 1 or 2 days to ship the new equipment to the shop.

Web-based POS upgrades are available from the deployment server, and create no downtime in shops. There is no installation in a shop, just 1 or 2 minutes of activation.

Training

A traditional client-server POS system, or character mode POS, has limited space and components. Relying on codes, it is often difficult for new employees to get used to them.

A well designed Web-based POS makes use of touch-friendly components. The Openbravo WebPOS gives immediate access to the most common features. Fully graphic and responsive, it is intuitive and easy to use. Only advanced features are available in menus. Training is eventually not necessary. Shop assistants are operational in less than an hour. A training mode makes the system itself the trainer.

First level support

Stand-alone POS systems use synchronisation to centralise sales data, stocks, customers, and to update product and promotion information. Synchronisation is aFirst level support bulk process, which means a day’s worth of sales and other updates. For different reasons, this process fails from time to time. Very often because of an unstable connection. A bulk synchronization does not suffer from interruptions.

In that case, one day´s worth of sales data from one terminal is not consolidated. New products are not available in the POS system, stock is unavailable, and new customers are missing.

A Web-based POS uses constant synchronization. When the shop internet connectivity is down, a few sales are stored, together with their customer records. Sales, stock updates, and customers are synchronised when the shop comes back online. Sending transactions one by one is reliable even with unstable connections.

For every hundred terminals, 2 to 5 synchronisations may fail on any given day. A member of technical support staff spends half to a full day fixing this problem. With the Openbravo Commerce Suite, retailers have access to real-time sales and stock information from all their shops, with a few minutes delay in case of connection issues. Besides that, a hundred terminals will create 2 to 5 individual sales to recycle per week. These will require half an hour to fix and recycle.

The benefits of Web-based POS software scale upwards with the number of terminals. An efficient technical support team can manage more shops. and the availability of services in shops increases. Retailers can further take advantage of all the real-time information, for stock optimisation, and real-time pricing and promotion adjustment.

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IT requirementsWhen we talk about IT Requirements, we generally refer to the specification of characteristics and conditions of a new or altered IT product or IT process. And we take these specifications in order to communicate them to those involved in either the input to, generation of, or outcome from the creative and creation process. As such, the result of this activity is a document.

Are you analytical?

In order to create a useful document, it should be written in a language that is understandable to all the stakeholders. And the stakeholders of an IT requirement document are varied: It typically consists of these integrants:

  • People representing the business. They add knowledge about the process and/or product.
  • People representing IT: They know how to transform a function into software.
  • People representing management: They calculate the pros and cons and decide the go/no-go areas.

Before writing something down, the product or process knowledge taken from the business representative should be analyzed and organized in a logical order so that its purpose is clear and unambiguous to the other stakeholders. We see here the analytical characteristic that is required to create IT requirements.

Can you imagine?

Writing down requirements, and IT requirements are not an exception (on the contrary) is full of  potholes. The writer must imagine all potential future usage, even if it is far-fetched or simply not intended. Murphy’s law “Anything that can go wrong – will go wrong” is applicable here! So the (next) most important aspect of the document is how well all potential scenarios have been transferred to text.

And in order to do that, the writer of the document should be able to imagine the world from the perspective of the future end user (business representative) and translate this view to the document. Here we need a characteristic called Imagination.

Do you empathize?

But with imagination alone we will not get anywhere. The full and unconditional cooperation of the business representative must be obtained and it often happens that the process of “IT Requirements” is perceived as a threat to her position and the interviewer must empathize with this. So the (next) most important characteristic is empathy.

How common is your sense?

Now, there areThink you are Cut-Out to create IT Requirements - common sense zillions of methods for IT systems design, each come with their own set of visual -language in the form of diagrams and –if they want to be commercial- they come with a set of acronyms (IT people just love acronyms), PowerPoints and books. They are meant to be read and understood by intelligent people, and consequently written in that way… And this could very well be funest for a future bright career in making IT Requirements! Not that a complete lack of methodology is beneficial, of course it is not and basics must be understood. But this methodology should be consumed with sense, if possible with common sense. Strangely, common sense -the least common of all senses- is never part of these methods and in my opinion it should be. It helps to increase the humility level in bright minds and it helps to see the real world where there is a risk to wander away –on a one-way ticket- into the virtual world of endless possibilities. Common sense is highly undervalued and a must-have characteristic.

Do you dig business?

The last but not least of the five characteristics that are welcome when creating IT Requirements without any doubt is a business sense. Let’s face it, the sole purpose of the new or changed product or process is derived from a business reason: Whether it is to comply with a legal requirement, to enhance an internal efficiency or to facilitate future business decisions: the bottom line is business related. And the fact is that to be an artist you would need a different set of characteristics than to be a policeman. And so it is for making IT Requirements: the fifth sense is the business sense.

So, if you think that you master at least 4 of the 5 above-mentioned characteristics, you might want to give it a try. And also feel free to drop me a line, you never know what the future has in mind for you.

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Virtual Columns are those columns that do not have a column defined in the database, but can be shown in the Application as an additional field. In our earlier blogs, we saw how to create virtual fields using Client Class (here) and using Property Fields (here). In this blog, we will see one more variety that can be used to create Virtual Fields:  computed columns.

Note: The examples provided in our blogs are provided in this example module.

As the name suggests, Computed Columns are basically SQL queries that can be added to a particular field which will be evaluated based on the existing columns in the field. This will be more useful in cases where you want to bring in some logic that has to be calculated from the existing fields. Let us try to understand this by using a simple use case.

Use Case:

Scenario:

When you are receiving a Goods Receipt more often than not you would want to tally the total number of items that has been delivered. This is how the current Goods Receipt window looks.

Now we can see the lines that have been ordered and sum up the quantity that has been delivered. But it is a bit of a tedious task when there are more than a hundred products that have been delivered. So now let’s add a computed column to provide the total number of products in a particular Goods Receipt.

Definition:

We have to first define the column and the computational logic behind it in the ‘Tables and Columns’ window. The SQL Logic is the place where we have to write the code for the Computed Column.

tableDef1

tableDef2

Next we have to add this column to the ‘Windows and Tabs’ window to make it visible to the user.

Window Definition

The query that is provided is as follows,

Select sum(kui.movementqty) from m_inoutline kui where kui.m_inout_id=m_inout_id

Notice that here the final comparison is done with m_inout_id. This is the field that is present in the Goods Receipt Header. When using fields that are present in the record, there is no need to provide aliases.

Now compile the application and restart tomcat. Here’s the output.

Output:

Output

Notice that there is a new field called Total Items Present which provides the total number of items delivered in the Goods Receipt

Key points using Computed Columns:

  • Computed Columns are also filterable and sortable.
  • Computed Columns can also be used in DAL queries.
    • Before the release 3.0 MP27, it can be used as follows, from m_inout m where m. kUITotalItems > 100
    • After the 3.0 MP 27 release it can be used as follows, from m_inout m where m.computedColumns. kUITotalItems > 100
  • Computed Columns cannot be used in OBCriteria and can only be used with OBQuery

Let us know through comments any points that we may have missed or any issues that you are facing when creating computing columns. You can also let us know what technical topic you would like to cover in the blogs so that we can try to provide more information on that.

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Sunando Partner SummitOn 27th April, at 10.30 pm Indian Time, with great pleasure I was going through the final preparations of the Partner Summit with Orijit and Sambal, when Andreu approached me with a sense of urgency inquiring whether my opening speech for the next day was ready. My blank look made Andreu more nervous for sure, “Oh! Not again! How could you forget it this time?” Although I was wearing an artificial blanket of confidence but deep down I was also pretty blank on what to say the very next day.

The next morning it was the big day, and I started addressing the partners saying “Welcome to the 7th Annual Openbravo Partner Summit” and almost immediately an amazing feeling overshadowed my slightly unprepared speech with an emotional cloud – what a great seven years I have spent with this lovely company and with you all. I realized, I’ve already spent 7 years with Openbravo and it feels like I just started yesterday. And there you are Hari (Promantia), Senthil (Qualian), Stephane (System in Motion) – my co-warriors who’ve spent days and nights to make this dream happen. It is always a great feeling to greet our loyal partners who came not only from different cities within India but from Australia, China, Indonesia, Singapore and the Middle East.

Elbert Hubbard once said, “constant effort and frequent mistakes are the stepping stones of genius” and this is how I would describe my seven years at Openbravo. Well, please do not misread this as my small attempt to prove my genius J but yes, as a team we made mistakes but we kept on working hard to build solid Business and Commerce Suites and with them we’ve built an eco-system which justifies our effort and has helped us to reach millions of end users. Openbravo today is a formidable solution on the world’s business solutions map for larger organizations and retailers. It was indeed a proud moment. And it would have been impossible without our ecosystem of Official Partners we have been developing the past years across the globe. I take another opportunity to extend our heartiest congratulations to you all and thank you once again.

The Asia Pacific Partner Summit 2015 was special in many ways. It happened in India after almost 4 years which was itself a reason to celebrate, and Marco de Vries, CEO of Openbravo took this event to introduce the Openbravo Commerce Suite and the Business Suite which are the latest offerings from the company. We introduced our Channel Vincent from decathlonEnablement Program for key Partners and for the first time, some of our key customers joined the gathering and celebrated the success of Openbravo with us. It was a great pleasure to have Vincent Dufromont, from Decathlon, India, Mr. Saran K. Joseph from Federal Bank, and Mr. Vijay Joshi from Esmech. Nothing better could describe the success of an Enterprise Management Solution when the customer-vendor dynamic has evolved into a partnership. And this is possibly the inherent reason that more and more leading organizations globally are partnering with Openbravo to designing the growth of their organizations.

“If you do build a great experience, customers tell each other about that. Word of mouth is very powerful.” – Jeff Bezos, Founder & CEO, Amazon

And this is exactly what happened at this year’s Partner Summit. It was Vincent from Decathlon who shared his experience with everyone.  Mr. Vijay Joshi, Managing Director of SMS Group (Esmech Equipment Private Ltd.) has even described himself as a fan of Openbravo. Mr. Joshi told us that the amount of flexibility Openbravo provides is almost unimaginable in any other ERP solution. The same kind of experience was even shared by Decathlon. Vincent shared his happiness over the flexibility and scalability Openbravo provides for leading retailers like Decathlon. He also explained how they had selected Openbravo 4 years back and how we managed to build a long-term association. The presentation by Stephane (System in Motion) was an experience in itself. It was a journey through the Omnichannel concept and how Openbravo is fulfilling the demand of Omnichannel Retailers.

Partner LunchI think this is the secret why large system integrators and Business / IT solution providers Like TCG, Datamatics, and JKTech today are partnering with Openbravo. I was having a discussion with Debjyoti Gupta, VP TCG. Debjyoti has spent more than 20 years in Business Consultancy and according to him the framework of Openbravo provides an extremely flexible and scalable solution, which is in very high demand in today’s ever-changing and hugely competitive enterprise world.

Today’s enterprises need the best practices built in a solution but apart from that they need flexibility and scalability as the business environment has never been so dynamic before. This is where Openbravo stands apart. It was a pleasure to see the roadmap of Openbravo presented by our CTO Ismael. This year Openbravo has taken a special model to empower the key partners and make them successful in a short time. Our Channel Enablement Manager Enric was at the summit and he presented a program of how we are doing this. I think this process is going to empower more and more partners to be successful in no time.

During the second day we had very productive work sessions on sales and marketing related topics, which was brilliantly managed by my colleagues Orijit Basu and Sambal Mitra. Ismael in another session also shared his valuable inputs on how we collaborate with partners to create formidable solutions for the end customer.

Overall a very productive, and fun, couple of days spent with old buddies whom we know as our channel partners. Sorely missed was Mr. S.C. Khoo who could not attend this time due to a prior engagement. I wish all our channel partners an innovative year ahead. As Steve Jobs once said –  “Innovation is not about saying yes to everything. It’s about saying NO to all but the most crucial features.” Let us keep identifying those crucial features and work towards a solution for them. That is how we should be identified and that is how we make a mark.

See you all soon!

India Partner Summit 2015

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Can you answer what, when and why your customers are buying?

A key performance indicator (KPI) is defined as a method to measure quantifying objectives to enable the measurement of performance. Many companies use only a few KPIs to measure outcomes, however, KPIs plays a mayor role in gauging the success or failure of MRO and Stores.

You may be thinking, ok, that’s great, but which are the main KPIs to consider when running a retail store? Don’t worry, we have put together this nice infographic that will give you some hints about it.

If you like it, feel free to share itin social media and leave us some heartwarming comment :)

Categories: English, Retail | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Decathlon customer experienceDuring the Openbravo Asia-Pacific partner summit, I had the chance to visit the Decathlon Anubhava shop. Anubhava means “experience” in the language spoken in the Indian state of Karnataka of which Bangalore is the capital. This Decathlon shop holds true to its name by providing a true experience to sports enthusiasts.

“Sport for All”
Throughout the shop, section by section, the consumer can try out sports equipment. One section is dedicated to trying roller blades on a smooth surface. In another section, runners can test shoes on smooth to rough surfaces. Mountain bikes can be tested on wood and stone terrains.
This ability for customers to interact with products, combined with the help of shop assistants who all are sport enthusiasts, is a good indication that the great shopping experience offered is key to the success of Decathlon in India.

“All for Sport”
The product range in Decathlon is impressive. From fishing, running, biking, and of course, the Indian national sport cricket, Decathlon covers more than 45 sports.
Thanks to the integration of design and sourcing teams, Decathlon offers innovative, quality and affordable products. The Quechua self-expanding tent is known worldwide. The folding b´Twin bike, compact badminton net, and many more, help democratize sports in every country.

Everybody is a VIP
Decathlon India started as a Cash and Carry business. They had to identify the customer by name, for each purchase. Although they later acquired a retail license, they kept the mandatory identification of the consumer.Decathlon Shopping Experience
Every cashier is equipped with double touch screens. The customers input their information. Ismael Ciordia, Openbravo CTO, had a hard time finding the @ on the touch keyboard, luckily the Decathlon cashier helped him out quickly.
The double screen also displays products scanned, prices, promotions, taxes and eventually the final screen.

Ice from the sky
In the middle of our visit, a hailstorm suddenly started to pour down onto the shop. Very unusual for the season, so everybody started to take pictures. Rivers started to form outside of the shop. And, of course, the Internet connection went down.
Apart from the sudden interest in this meteorological event, sales continued at the cashier desk. Openbravo WebPOS automatically went into offline mode. A hailstorm will not stop business.

Success and consequences
Decathlon´s success has consequences. Every weekend, happy consumers queue up, and that reduces their happiness. The Anubhava shop rakes in a very substantial number of sales transactions in one day, with only 5 cashiers. Openbravo WebPOS helps to accelerate the process, but it is not enough.

Decathlon India offers a self check-out process to their customers. With their Indian Official Openbravo partner Promantia they want to take advantage of the Openbravo Commerce architecture to speed up the check-out. They will provide shop assistants with tablets. Moving up the queue, they will identify the customer, and scan their products and help waiting times reduce substantially. Customer happiness will be up again.

Behind the scenes
The Decathlon IT team gave us a demonstration of their in-store mobile application. Walking to any item in the store, category managers can find, in one step, product detail information, live, ceDecathlon Shopping experience 2ntral and surrounding shop stocks, input a bulk order, adjust stocks. Taking advantage of Openbravo’s API, Decathlon has developed this single screen, multi-function mobile application.
This development has completely changed the way section managers work. As the shop is 4000 square meters it can take a few minutes to go to a computer, get the information, and another few minutes to go back to the customer. Decathlon staff can now carry the answer to every question in their pockets.
Section managers used to dedicate their Monday morning to updates. They can now perform all weekly tasks in half an hour. On top of the huge time saving, it also means that the information is available within a few minutes, instead of being refreshed once a week.

It is only the beginning
Decathlon India has many projects geared towards continued improvement of customer experience. The deployment of RFID tags on products, combined with the limitless possibilities of the Openbravo Commerce Suite constantly sparks the creativity of Decathlon IT. The only limits are their creativity and their enthusiasm., and they have lots of both so be ready for more great things to be launched at Decathlon.

Categories: Company News, English, Retail | Tags: , , , | 1 comment

Store ManagerWhen was the last time you went to a retail shop? Did you notice your shopping experience was extensively planned? From the shop window disposition that made you go in, to the items you saw, from the service you received as you came in to the experience till you paid and left. Everything was thoroughly thought out and readily at your disposal.  This is what we call Retail Operations.

Retail operations is a field that studies all mechanisms to keep the store functioning well. It includes a broad spectrum of activities, from people management to the supply chain, store layout, cash operations, physical inventory, master data management, offers and pricing etc.

Most of these operations are basically executed using the Commerce system that retailers use in the stores and back office. Therefore, achieving excellence in daily store operations will thus be directly proportional to the system that the business relies on.

If we dive a bit further into store operations and try to extract the main priorities of each of them, we will see that we need to divide these priorities by the different retail profiles we may find; the perspective of retail owners, store managers or sales associates. We may find others, depending on the nature and size of the business, but we will focus on these three profiles in this blog post. In any case, you can still deeply explore this term and how to achieve operational excellence by attending this week’s webinar.

1.     Retail Operations from the perspective of retail business owners

What do retailers, understood as the business owners, care about? Strategy is the first pillar that comes to mind. Not just the execution of today’s priorities, but the vision of how the future will be for the business, to ensure we are prepared for all the changes they may imply. For example, the commerce platform that retailers use need to support the business growth retailers expect for the mid to long term. Tools that will help them grow fast, at the same pace as their strategy plan. Tools that enable fast and riskless rollouts will be  crucial to success in the plan execution, like the Copy Store/Terminal functionality of Openbravo.

When it comes to deployment or hardware compatibility, the commerce solution becomes equally important, as hardware is an important part of the budget in retail implementation projects. Hence, many of our clients require a solutions that fit their current hardware requirements, as they don’t plant to invest in a hardware solution replacement in the short-term.

In terms of execution, I remember a concern that is common to many retailers I have interviewed in the requirements gathering stage, when the project starts, or just in the prospecting stage; that is, fraud detection and prevention. It is a concern that I have seen present in all retail projects. So we need to review all retail functionalities, decide which should be allowed by which profile and  which  will need a supervisor’s approval  to proceed with it. To give you a few examples: delete ticket is often a sensitive operation that should not be permitted unless approved, or re-printing a ticket, approving cash differences when cashing up, allowing a return, etc. There are many, and that’s why Openbravo offers Approvals in almost all features in Web POS, so retailers decide which are allowed and when approval will be required in an attempt to prevent fraud.

The other classic method of detecting fraud is “surprise” physical inventory. So by procedure, everyday at the store closure, staff need to count the stock of certain products, and they can change day after day. Here, it has been very helpful to empower the store crew with the mobile physical inventory functionality, so they can execute this task fast and efficiently.

Approvals OB POS

Then, retailers can view the results in a centralized way from the back office, where they will see all the indicators together in the same place, and most importantly, in real time. This is especially interesting when having several stores. If you need to handle daily synchronizations to upload sales, or products, promotions etc. you need to seriously think about investing in a new platform to get rid of those troubles that are due to an old architecture. Openbravo can help you with that, with a cloud single repository, where a change in  price will be delivered to all stores in seconds.

2. Achieving excellence from store managers

Store managers are the ones on the shop floor day after day, and their priorities or needs can be slightly different from the ones above. We can say they are much more operational, for example, they need to  efficiently handle people management or daily store operations like opening, closure or cash management. In big stores, where there is a high number of terminals and sessions by terminal, it can be difficult to manage unless the commerce solution offers a unified view to accurately control who opened a terminal or the cash position at its closure. Openbravo’s module of Terminal Sessions Management can be a good tool in these scenarios, where all terminals and sessions in each terminal are monitored in real time.

Another frequent demand from store managers is to have certain autonomy from headquarters. I must say that I have seen retailers that do not want to allow this in their stores, sometimes abusing  of their excess  power. My personal opinion is that I have seen stores performing better with a bit of autonomy in certain business processes, otherwise, headquarters approval can be a bottleneck and a clear negative point for achieving excellence in the stores, where changes need to be done rapidly to respond to demanding customers. I’m thinking of being able to correct a price that is incorrect, block a user that we have seen doing something fraudulent, or updating the stock of products that are not accurate in the system. Openbravo offers a great solution for these retailers, allowing them to access  the back office where all the data is centralized and can be restricted by users or roles, giving them access and rights to exactly what we want. And enabling auditory to be able to track down any changes made.

3. Priorities for sales associates

Sales associates are the last profile we are analysing today. We consider them an important part of the purchase decision making process, as customers let associates influence them while deciding which product to buy. Empower then your sales associates with tools that will help them provide a rich customer experience, like rich product engines by product characteristics or stock visibility to offer flexible options to save-the-sale when there is no stock in the store. Moreover, as associates normally work  by commission, it will be important that the commerce solution allows them to annotate their sales to differentiate them from cashiers or other associates.

TabSearch

There are many other aspects to pay attention to when it comes to executing daily store operations with excellence, we just shared some of the aspects we have seen project after project, retailer after retailer. If you would like to go deeper on this, attend our webinar on Thursday, May 7. And please, don’t forget to share your comments with us!

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mpaymentsWhat is mobile payment?

Consumers will stop carrying wallets in the near future. They will be walking with a handphone in their pocket, to replace cash, coins, and all their credit cards.

Some retailers are already welcoming these consumers with open arms, for more secure payment with lower transaction costs, and increased customer engagement. Basically, mobile payment brings the online payment paradigm to offline shops and as examples of this reality, the major players in the US in mobile payments are Paypal, Google or Apple. 

In China, two big retailers are far ahead of their competitors; the undisputed leader Alibaba with Aliwallet (支付宝), followed by Tencent with Tenpay.

How does it work?

Consumers can use their handphone as an electronic wallet, payment method, and encryption device. Just install an App, create an account, transfer money to the account, or link it to a credit card, and you’ll be ready to pay with your smartphone in 5 minutes.

Paying with a mobile phone reduces the friction and makes it more fun and quicker to pay. With that being said, compulsive shoppers will be wise to set -up payment limits; it is easy to configure, and will save you from crazy shopping.

In the shop

There are several modes of transaction:

  • Account validation: the shop assistant scans a code on the consumer phone,
  • Transaction validation: the consumer scans a code at the Point Of Sale.

Both can offer the same level of security for the consumer. They can set up limits above which they need to confirm each transaction.

What about security?

There are security issues, for both the buyer or the seller, with all payment methods: cash, cheques, credit cards, etc. Mobile payment increases the overall level security for both, the shop and the consumer. The consumer can use fake currency or forged cheques, while the vendor can take an imprint of a credit card. Both the Point of Sale and the consumer phone must be connected for the transaction to be approved and confirmed by the payment gateway.

Customer identification

Mobile payment solves the complex issue of offline customer identification. Retailers have developed complex and costly methods to identify offline consumers since traditional payments are not an efficient method  (a cheque can be used to match a name but requires manpower, cash offers no identifcation, and PCI compliance forbids storage of credit card numbers).

However, some mobile payments offer a unique identifier:

  • Alipay gives a username, which is also the username of the tmall and taobao ecommerce platform.
  • Tencent offers the wechatID, which links to user activity on the mobile social media WeChat.
  • Apple pay does not provide the AppleID of the consumer, making it less attractive to retailers.

Is it urgent for retailers to offer mobile payment?

Mobile payment is a plus for the user. The payment process is faster than cash, cheque, and similar to credit card. In addition, consumers love retailers who give them choices and this is a new choice to offer to customers. So, the real question is ‘Why should any retailer choose to ignore mobile payment?’. The solution is available now. There are a few obstacles to the adoption of mobile payments, for example:

  • Mobile payment providers have different registration processes, and manage bank accounts and legal entities in rigid way.
  • Traditional POS solutions are slow to adopt this new technology, which can force retailers to install other solutions, disconnected from their main Retail System.

The good news is that all these issues have been solved in the Openbravo ecosystem. Taking advantage of Openbravo’s open architecture, System in Motion, gold partner in Greater China, developed a generic mobile payment module, and a connector to Alipay. This module is available to all Openbravo Commerce Professional & Enterprise users and it is already used by Openbravo Commerce customers in China. Besides that, a Tenpay extension is in design for publishing in 2015. Any other payment gateway can be developed as an extension, by official Openbravo partners.

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In our previous blog post, we looked at how to create virtual columns using Client Class. In this one, we will see how to create virtual columns using property fields. The basic difference between a client class and property field is that client class is more suitable for UX enhancement or styling, whereas property fields are those fields whose values are derived from existing fields in the records. In the below example, we will see a scenario where this might be useful.

Note: The examples provided below are available as a module here.

Use case 1

In the Product window, there is a tab called Price, where the price list version, the unit price and the list price are listed.

Creating Virtual - Image1

But in a multicurrency environment, unless we navigate to the price list version and check the price list parent tab, we cannot know for which currency the prices are listed. To fix this, let’s add the currency property field to the Price tab.

Creating Virtual - Image2

Here the value of the property field is priceListVersion.priceList.currency. The price list version is already available in the window and we are using this information to navigate to its parent tab Price List and fetch the value of the currency field present in it. Once we compile and restart the tomcat server, here’s what the Price tab will look like.

Creating Virtual - Image3

Use case 2

The warehouse admin is cross-verifying the Goods Receipt and the actual goods that have been received and notices a discrepancy. Admin decides to call the supplier to inform them about this. The Goods Receipt window has the Partner name and the Partner Address.

Creating Virtual - Image4

If we click on the Partner Address tab, we can notice the phone number of the Supplier.

Creating Virtual - Image5

Imagine this action has to be performed quite frequently to get any information or even for a simple confirmation. So let’s speed up this process by adding the Supplier Phone number as a property field in the Goods Receipt window.

Creating Virtual - Image6

The definition of the property field is pretty simple as we are just fetching the phone number field corresponding to the partner address. Here is what the output will look like.

Creating Virtual - Image7

In general, property fields are more suitable in scenarios where you are going to display more than one field from a referenced entity. Instead of adding new fields for each required field in the database and setting the value from the other entity, we can just add one field and use it as a reference for the other fields.

Did you find useful this information? Do you have any doubts when creating them? Just let me know in the comments section :)

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Top 10 Criteria - Commerce platform layoutA search on the internet for the term Commerce Platform, will get you many results for E-Commerce platform. But it will hardly give you anything for a Commerce-without-the-E-Platform, and that is strange: years ago one could claim to be an online retailer or an e-commerce business, but today these terms don’t really apply anymore. E-commerce -or online retailing- is nothing more than a sales channel for the products or services that you deliver to your market. A Commerce platform incorporates this online sales channel but is not limited to it: it includes all sales channels, like the traditional brick-and-mortar, kiosks, pop-up stores and mobile points of sales.
As a retailer or business owner you have your OmniChannel strategy or are working on it. Your main objective here is that shoppers can find you, receive an exceptional shopping experience, recommend you to others, get acquainted and can order and receive your product how, when and where they want. Convenience is the keyword, it’s what drives your margins and will boost your sales.
So what should you take into account when searching for your Commerce Platform? Obviously the sequence below is arbitrary, it is my point of view as a supplier of the preferred Commerce Platform. And since it is arbitrary, I will accept invitations to discuss it!

1. Future ready?Top 10 Criteria - Gartner HypeCycle Retail Oct2014

Inverting in a Commerce Platform is a strategic decision, one whose effects will last for a long time in your organization. The answer to the question “Is the new Commerce Platform future ready” is the most relevant, and one that should not be answered with a simple yes or no.
According to Gartner’s Hype Cycle for Retail technologies there is a tropical storm coming. The retail landscape will see many different technologies in the years ahead and your new Commerce Platform should either address them already or have the majority in its strategic roadmap. In either case, the platform should have an open architecture that allows to extend the functionalities in a robust and cost-effective way.

2. Multichannel ready

Even though you obtained a positive and satisfying answer to the first question, if the Commerce Platform is not already multichannel ready (web, kiosk, mobile, brick-and-mortar), you might want to skip it. It´s not as easy as it sounds and –as in any development- multiple issues need to be overcome. Since there are multi-channel solutions available, why suffer from the unavoidable issues of a development project?

3. Cloud Based

Cloud based does not necessarily mean SaaS. Cloud based software can also be deployed on-premises with full control over hardware and software. Regardless of how you deploy cloud based software, it will come with the following benefits, each of them reducing your TCO:

  • It runs on any device that runs a web browser: smart phones, tablets, kiosks. This will allow you a wide choice of hardware.
  • Install updates and/or upgrades with a few simple clicks: Costs of system maintenance will be drastically reduced.
  • Faster implementations due to the plug-and-play nature of the installations and user friendly web-user interface.
  • Inversion is mainly OPEX. CAPEX is reduced to owned servers in the ‘On-Premises’ model.

4. Global support from a retail-focused supplier

Top 10 Criteria - Openbravo partners worldwideVery nice all this, you might say now. But what if my supplier also runs hospitals, industries or governments? Where is My Priority as a simple retailer? For this reason I would place the global support of the retail-focused supplier as number 4 of the Top 10. Only a supplier that knows, breathes and eats retail for breakfast will give you the sustainable competitive advantage.

5. Integration and Adaptability

Starting with adaptability, the key question is how agile the commerce platform is to adapt to new tendencies and technologies. This is key because of the expected turmoil in retail (see also Gartner’s Hype Cycle as mentioned in the first point). Then, the capacity to integrate with a back-end system is in many cases a must-have: Bigger or multinational retailers have their processes organized with one of the known ERP solutions and do not wish to abandon it. For their part, these back-end systems do not have the flexibility that a state-of-the-art Commerce platform has. With the Openbravo Commerce Platform, integration on the level of Finance or on the levels of Finance and the Supply Chain comes as standard.

6. State-of-the-art commercial functionality

Can’t go without this, right? But then again, having obtained positive and satisfying answers to the Top 5, you would have all the numbers to expect this one to be there. Well, you’d better check it with the supplier. Just an example, here is the mobile POS that allows your staff to help the customers where they are. This will allow you to adopt retail tendencies like line-busting or assisted sales with up- and cross-selling possibilities. But also Loyalty programs, Social integration, all types of promotions and a good supply chain to deliver should be there. If it also has finance features and complies with the legal requirements of your country, then you probably have your wish list completed. If not, continue reading.

7. Centralized master data maintenance

Only those who have experienced the problems of redundant systems with regards to master data, know how difficult –and costly- it is to get this solved. Products, prices, assortments, inventory, customers, loyalties etcetera’s that are in more than one database will give you a never ending synchronization process. But it gets worse: Every synchronization takes a) time and b) control. Wouldn’t it be nice if a changed customer/delivery address was instantly available on the internet, at the POS and at the kiosk? Wouldn’t it be great if your promotions were consistent across all channels? And a dream if all channels saw the same inventory levels? Actually this should be higher up in the Top-10.

8. Scalability and on-/off-line capabilities

Have you ever had the nightmare that your system collapsed…during Black Friday? Or that the connection to the server failed? The Openbravo Commerce suite is completely resistant to this. You should check with your vendor if.

• …the system allows you to add servers during business hours so that you can deal with peak volumes without losing sales.
• …the system allows the business to continue the operations even though the connection to the server (SaaS or On-Premises) drops. And what happens with the transactions and refreshed master data when the connection suddenly comes back. .

9. Extendibility and Analytics

You should also check if the platform has embedded analytics. This would allow the channels to analyze the operations themselves and take corrective or preventative actions. But make sure that all channels of the same organization, or even of multiple organizations in the group share the same database in order to facilitate central analytics as well.
We understand extendibility as an indicator of the relative effort that is needed to add functionalities. In the most traditional systems, functionality is programmed and a database is defined. While in Openbravo the functionality and database are defined in the Application Dictionary. The database is generated when compiling and an executable code is generated at runtime. In this way, new functionalities can be added as building blocks and will not interfere with other building blocks unless specified in the Application Dictionary.

10. Price
As in all purchases price is a factor, so it is also here. And if you haven’t made up your mind yet, this pricelist will probably help.

If you have already gone through this process, we invite you to comment on this blog to find out how your experience has been.

Categories: English, Industry Trends, Retail, Retail Tech Updates | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

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