Welcome to BJSSinfo@bjss.com

BJSS Industries: Retail

A Continuous Integration environment, an automated test framework and an Open Source-based toolchain reduced Waitrose’s development costs by two thirds.

Retail is no longer a single-channel ’9 to 5’ industry, but a low-margin 24/7 multi-channel environment. Technology drives competitive advantage.

Transformation in the retail industry has had a direct impact on how technology is used and has driven the need for better support of the end-to-end process. The evolution of technology in the retail sector has also been responsible for more challenging non-functional requirements, in particular system availability and the ability to support high peak demand generated by online sales. Technology is now core to consumer perception of a business as reliable and credible. From developing credit agreement systems for mobile phone contracts, to replacing applications which power shop floor handheld terminals, to building robust and scalable retail e-commerce solutions, and using the latest Big Data techniques to extract insightful and timely Business Intelligence, BJSS provides a wide sector experience and can demonstrate an outstanding delivery record.

Thought Leadership: Retail

The "must have’s" of retail

Retail has always been a challenging industry. Margins are notoriously low so volume is king, and the associated network of retail outlets and supply chain can be large, complex and capital intensive. The sector became even more cutthroat when eCommerce channels were introduced. That, along with ‘value player’ competition, price deflation, and an expanding global sourcing market has led to growing challenges for retailers to contend with. The ability to make quick and correct decisions, and to implement rapid change has become even more imperative for retailers. While Information Technology has the ability to solve many of these challenges, the plethora of options and aggressive marketing have made decisions in themselves more difficult. All industry sectors are different. They have their own challenges, opportunities and threats. But retailers can reuse the approach taken by other sectors to deal with their pain points. Here in the UK, the banking and finance, and more recently the Public Sector, have created nimble and Agile IT functions that use low cost hypothesis testing before implementing production systems. Often they use Open Source frameworks and Cloud capability – not only to benefit from lower cost, but also to reduce their time to market. Digital and analytics are absolute “must have’s” in any retailers playbook. They help to define and deliver strategies, and crucially – they play an important role in building market share. So techniques that utilise Continuous Delivery, Automated Testing, Public Cloud and Data Scientists are fundamentally important. To remain competitive, retailers must be able to carry out variant AB testing with automated rollout/rollback dependant on automated KPI monitoring. They must also have real time monitoring of supply chain deliveries at all points, and real time intelligence of sales data by branch. Technology has moved quickly. Idea, to insight, to action using data formats and volumes which were inconceivable just a few years ago can now be implemented in days or weeks rather than months or years.

BJSS Retail Successes

eCommerce Site Development

BJSS was engaged to address the shortcomings of a large UK retailer’s production e-commerce site. The site was not scalable and frequently underperformed resulting in considerable revenue and customer dissatisfaction. BJSS delivered the remediation project to a demanding fixed deadline which coincided with a planned promotion which would result in a peak in demand. The replacement e-commerce solution was completely data-driven and also supported multiple white-label operations. The architecture enabled the websites to be dynamically scalable, accommodating changes in demand while also integrating into back office and logistics systems.

Mobile Phone Processing

BJSS provided integration with existing backend systems and a customer-facing portal to allow a top Mobile Virtual Network Operator to sell contract mobile phones. A key objective was to bring the new solution to market within a very tight deadline of five weeks. With full integration between multiple systems, BJSS provided a fully-automated process at every stage of the customer’s purchase journey. Delivered on time, the client was successful in deploying the solution to support a large nationwide Smartphone promotion. It allows the client to invoice and ‘sell’ the device as part of the airtime contract, allowing immediate recognition of the device revenue and preventing artificially inflated subscriber acquisition costs.

Big Data for Inventory Planning

BJSS was tasked by a grocery retailer to generate business insight and identify problem areas within its in-store inventory. Using Open Source tools, BJSS consolidated two years of raw EPoS sales data, and produced a prototype system that averaged daily sales profiles. In addition to providing a sales profile, the system provided an important input into forecasting demand and also for promotional profiling. The system also provides the ability to look up any SKU in any store and see daily, weekly, annual profiles and total sales and compare them side by side. The client can now produce daily sale profiles by item and by store and can use the system to determine optimal stock availability, ’special offer’ performance and seasonal nuances.