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Specsavers upgrades legacy systems to advance digital transformation

Specsavers has partnered with Fujitsu to upgrade its in-store technology.

The deal, worth £17.6 million, will allow Specsavers to continue digitally transforming its in-store services across 1,179 European stores.

The retailer has already begun rolling out digital services including online appointment booking, magic mirrors and using tablets to measure the fit of frames.

But Specsavers global CIO, Phil Pavitt, said the retailer needs to upgrade its legacy – or as he calls it, heritage – systems, in order to continue providing these services.

"They're all great, but they're sitting on heritage engines," he said. "And if that's where we were going to stop then we would probably get away with it, but technology which was historically at the back of the store is now at the heart of the store and we have to modernise."

He said over the last 3-4 years the retailer has noticed its systems have been "squeezed around the edges".

"Our tablets were performing a millisecond slower than what we wanted and there was a dawning realisation," admitted Pavitt.

And in order to continue innovating Pavitt said Specsavers needed to create a new base line for its basic infrastructure, choosing Fujistu to provide this upgrade. The retailer has begun the roll out in New Zealand and Finland and the UK market will hopefully go live within the next year.

"The UK market is a huge size… and it's complex with the NHS," noted Pavitt. "So it's good to work with smaller countries with only 150 or so stores."

Specsavers is also upgrading its customer relationship management (CRM) system with Oracle so it can have a unified view of its customers across the store estate.

Rupal Karia, MD, retail and hospitality, UK and Ireland, Fujitsu, added: "Our partnership with Specsavers is one we are particularly proud of given the scale of the project and impact it will have on both customers and employees. We are energised by the prospect of bringing together a range of our services and experience to deliver results. Providing Specsavers with a new infrastructure and services will ultimately help Specsavers digitise its business, making Specsavers more agile, without compromising on security.”