Tell us a little about Visma Retail?

Visma Retail is a division in the Norwegian based Visma Group. Visma helps retailers improve customer relations, increasing sales by enhancing the shopping experience and creating increased customer loyalty by smart use of retail IT solutions supporting all vital business processes.

Name some of the retailers that you are working alongside? And what are their biggest challenges?

We are market leaders in the Nordic region and started our focus on markets outside the Nordics two years ago and our ambition is to grow our sales rapidly in the coming five years. We now work with customers such as Coop in Hungary and A.F. Blakemore (SPAR). And we were recently selected as the preferred supplier for retail IT solutions for the franchisees in SPAR International.

Our customers are seeing two major challenges in the industry right now: New consumer shopping behaviour setting higher demands on availability and speed. And new competition, in regards to new  (disruptive) players, who challenge traditional retailers.

What are you seeing as the biggest disruptor to retail currently?

It’s not necessarily a technology or innovation that will be the biggest disruptor, but rather the changing consumer behavior. Especially in regards to millennials and the digital natives, born with a mobile device, always online, inspired by peer to peer marketing, and influenced and driven by other elements than generations before them. Research states that by year 2025 the digital natives will be more than 50% of our population.

At the same time technology is developing exponentially, which requires retailers to be more agile than ever before. The time span from identifying a trend or a new behaviour to taking action has minimised and we provide solutions for our retailers to act in real time.

Give us a snippet of the most interesting retail tech trend you've discovered recent years?

Mobile devices definitely, in terms of smartphones and tablets. In the light of the increasing self-service culture, the mobile phone serves as the hub for the shopping journey from inspiration, research, real-time offerings, purchase, loyalty program and customer service.

And then there are mobile devices used by store associates to improve shopping experience and service level for the customer. The mobile device as the central tool supplying relevant data (such as customer’s profile and purchase history, and product range).

Also, all back-office activities can now be performed more efficiently with mobile devices on-the-go or in store, instead of a stationary Windows client back in the office.

What's the greatest example of retail technology you've seen this year?

Robotics. Pepper the robot is a great example, you can see it as a store associate, helping customers with their choices and serving them.  Think of a fashion store, Pepper would be able to scan the customer  and recommend apparel that fit their size.

What technology do you use in your day-to-day life?

My smartphone, I am always online and updated. The positive sides of this opportunity is that I can be very efficient in my day-to-day work, conducting hangout sessions, create presentations, managing email and also schedule all my traveling.

I also use my smartphone in my spare time, searching for relevant offers, create shopping list and I even use it as a scanner device.  If I add all the social media applications to my usage, then everyone understands the smartphone is definitely the most important technical device for us – it's the remote control of my life.

For more information: Visma Retail