Belgium-based software business Odoo eyes further growth

Belgium-based retail software company Odoo recently secured $10 million in funding, positioning the business for further growth and increased investment in research and development projects.

The company will be exhibiting at RBTE for the first time in 2015, with Odoo's marketing team describing the event as "perfect" fit for the business.

Essential Retail caught up with Sophia Eribo, from the Odoo marketing team, to find out more about the company, its current focus and its plans for next year's RBTE.

What are the key projects your organisation is working on at the moment?

It's been a tremendous year for Odoo. Firstly, we raised $10 million in funding, proving to investors that our apps are at the perfect intersection of technology and business. We were excited that investors saw it the same way as us and were happy to back our vision with money. Working in the open source environment, investment for research and development is very important. Secondly, we were known as content management systems, eCommerce, marketing and much more. Lastly, there's been the big overarching project for this year – the launch of Odoo 8. It's the biggest and best version of our software. Odoo 8 improves on existing apps and introduces some new ones.

Which retailers do you think are using technology well to further their business?

Any small retailer that's taking advantage of the technology that customers usually associate with big retailers. For instance, we see more retailers using the growing number of online loyalty programmes that can be white labelled for specific retailers. More retailers are also using integrated systems, like Odoo, to manage their physical point of sales, eCommerce on the frontend, with a back office that links functions including inventory management, customer relationship management (CRM) and logistics.

Why have you booked for RBTE 2015?

With our rebranding as Odoo and the launch of Odoo 8, we thought being part of "Europe's biggest and fastest growing retail solutions show" would be perfect for us! RBTE attracts an audience that would definitely find our apps useful and what better way to reach out to that audience in large numbers – having personal interaction with retailers and business owners and the chance to demonstrate what Odoo does. We have so many easy-to-use apps that are useful for retailers such as eCommerce, point of sale, CRM and much more. RBTE will give us an opportunity to show what Odoo is all about.

What are the main areas of focus for your business in the year ahead?

Our apps are available to download and on the cloud. Next year we'll really be pushing our cloud-based option, highlighting to users that it's the best option because it gives a smoother experience. We'll improve on our existing marketing and sales apps. We aim to introduce a new pricing structure that will increase customer satisfaction. It will mean lower overall costs for the maintenance of our business apps if you sign up for our support services. Of course, Odoo apps are and will remain free for up to two users from any company. We are improving our support to not only help companies use our apps, but to show individual users within companies how to get the best out the apps – so it will be a more in-depth level of support. We will be really focusing on our slogan of 'helping businesses grow' by aiming to support all users in the way they use our apps.  When every user at a company is working better with our apps, they will become more efficient and that, in turn, will lead to better productivity.

What are your retail technology predictions for 2014/15?

We've already seen contactless payment making more headway this year. With Apple working with major credit card companies to roll out contactless pay using the chips in their newest phones and watch, we think 2015 is going to be a big year for this kind of technology. Consumers are more versatile than ever. They carry out searches on the move using tablets and mobiles, as well as the more traditional way of going into physical shops. Providing a consistent experience in both the digital world and the physical one will be key. There will also be a greater need to provide the convenience of online shopping for people who go into physical shops – like the reviews and ratings. The retail world is moving from multichannel (managing different channels with different consumers) to omnichannel (managing the same consumers that hop on and off various channels). So, we think the most successful retailers will be those that have an integrated platform to manage both online and offline.

Visitors to RBTE 2015 can meet with Odoo at Stand 126.

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