MICROS-Retail: Seamlessly Integrating Retail Technology

Nowadays, consumers who purchase pro­ducts from mobile devices or on the Web often want their purchases shipp­ed to them, plan to pick it up the same day at the store, or they might just be checking the availability of their product at a competitor’s location. It is MICROS-Retail’s challenge to provide the integrated software and hardware systems that function seamlessly behind the scenes.

“Tourneau is the flagship for us,” says Jane Cannon, chief technology officer for the retail division of MICROS Systems Inc. “They represent a retailer who has really brought it together, somebody who’s created an experience on the Web.”

Customers can use the Tourneau website to make an appointment with a sales associate at a particular store to view a chosen line of luxury watches. The associate is notified of the appointment and the desired product line and can add a few more possibilities to the customer’s tray of merchandise for their meeting, Cannon relates.

“The consumer comes in, sees that product, interacts with the store associate, does some research, looks at their tray, edits it – that has become seamless,” she maintains. This is the goal of MICROS-Retail’s efforts, especially as mobile retailing has developed.

“Mobile is changing the landscape and is creating a huge opportunity for retailers,” Cannon points out. “I think we’ll see over the coming months and years a whole set of different technological solutions to the same problems – whether cloud-based or mobile-based – and take them to another level.

“Everything I do from a technological perspective is about trying to make sure that retailers can harness that technology and provide low price, best product or higher service,” Cannon says. “It’s being able to take that technology and really bring it into the retailer’s infrastructure.”

Whether called multichannel, cross-channel or omni-channel, “It’s how the consumer interacts with the retailer from a competitive standpoint,” Cannon explains. “We have been focused on making sure the solutions – the modules we have – allow the retailer to have that continuous experience and provide that continuous dialog with the consumer, whether shopping on the Web or in the store.”

MICROS-Retail is a global provider of technology and services to the retail industry. The company’s omni-channel platform provides the functionality that allows retailers to successfully engage their customers through point of sale, e-commerce, mobile, loyalty, customer relationship management, loss prevention, distributed order management, inventory management and merchandise planning solutions. Nearly 2,000 retailers worldwide rely on MICROS-Retail to strengthen their businesses and deliver results across all consumer touchpoints.

MICROS Systems’ acquisition in April of Torex Retail Holdings Ltd.– a provider of IT systems for retail, fuel and convenience stores and pubs in the United Kingdom and Europe – has expanded MICROS’ presence in Europe. “Those additional 1,000 [Torex employees] took our head count in that particular part of the globe from 350 to almost 1,500 people in Europe that are focused on retail,” Cannon points out.

Multiple Systems

Employees of MICROS-Retail integrate data, software and systems for point-of-sale, customer relationship marketing, mobile marketing, websites, loyalty programs, inventory, accounting and additional systems and software. Sometimes, companies will install new modules or systems to accomplish that integration, or MICROS-Retail will provide methods to link their systems.

The company works with retailers of all sizes, but “The mall-based retail is our sweet spot in the retail division,” Cannon says. The systems used are not necessarily custom, but package solutions. “By and large, it’s much more standardized and plug-in than it might have been in the past.”

Some retailers start with the core central module or others may start with a point of sale or e-commerce module. “Many retailers bought both because they realized they could plug them together,” Cannon points out. “Retail is realizing they can get more bang for their buck if they look at this holistically rather than channel by channel.”

MICROS-Retail has a service team that can provide custom software or modules for retailers if they are required. “This group develops an expertise over time,” Cannon explains. “If there is custom work to be done, it can be done in that group.”

Retail Growth

MICROS Systems has retail, restaurant and hotel divisions, among others. During the last eight years, the retail division has grown from “next to nothing” to 15 percent of the company’s total portfolio, Cannon says. She attributes it to allowing employees to experiment with creating new products and reducing cost on effective products.

“It’s not about chasing the next new technology, but harnessing that desire to learn about new technology and allowing our employees to explore that technology so we can bring new solutions to the marketplace,” Cannon explains. “It’s about staying focused, and it’s about doing it well. “So we’ve been able to package those solutions that are easily consumable for the market we are trying to serve.

“What we do we do pretty darn well, and we do it a lot, so we can continue to drive the cost down so we can make it consumable for a brand-new audience of restaurants or retailers.”