SAP Sapphire Conference Focuses on SOA, Easier Integration
Both Chico's FAS and Coldwater Creek have announced decisions to invest in SAP technology to help facilitate the strong growth expected in their businesses. Chico's will use SAP for Retail for product development (PLM), merchandising and finance. The first phase of its rollout will begin with its Soma intimate apparel stores this year, and involve fewer than 100 users, including the Soma team as well as the retailer's central finance staff, which also supports its other retail brands. White House/Black Market is expected to come online with the system next year, followed by the Chico's chain in 2008. Chico's CIO Gary King told Apparel that the firm wants to move away from the need to manage interfaces between many different software packages, so that it does not have to spend as much time synchronizing and integrating data between systems. By having more critical data managed in one system, Chico's FAS will have a more scaleable solution to keep up with its growth, he said. Chico's will continue to use Epicor software for customer relationship management and POS, and Manhattan Associates' warehouse management system. Multi-channel women's specialty retailer Coldwater Creek said it has selected SAP's NetWeaver to provide a common platform for composing new business processes, seamlessly integrating applications and supporting flexible business strategies. NetWeaver will provide Coldwater Creek with an enterprise service-oriented architecture (SOA). "We chose to work with SAP because of the quality of the SAP NetWeaver platform and SAP's focus on retail," said Dan Moen, senior vice president and CIO, Coldwater Creek. SOA was the buzz at SAP's annual Sapphire conference, where the firm said SOA implementations can be more flexible than non-SOA installations because the software architecture allows firms to more easily configure and integrate SAP software with other solutions. J Crew, Hot Topic, Phillips-Van Heusen and Burton Snowboards were among apparel retailers who spoke at Sapphire. Each stressed the need to cut down on systems interfaces and manage more data from a central database in order to obtain better visibility of real-time data. At an RFID breakfast at Sapphire, executives from SAP as well as some leading retail and manufacturing organizations concurred that RFID soon will enable the business world to do things it cannot imagine today.
Bossini to Streamline Financials with Oracle
Also, Oracle Retail Completes 60 Implementations
Hong Kong-based apparel retailer Bossini has selected the Oracle E-Business Suite Financials family of applications to unify and automate its financial systems and processes across its five regional centers located in Hong Kong, mainland China, Taiwan, Singapore and Malaysia.
The new system will enable Bossini to gain a single view of its financial information for timely decision-making and improved visibility into the company's operations, while the improved quality of the data will help Bossini to address statutory requirements, corporate governance and internal audit control needs, said Gladys Lau, retail industry director, Oracle. In other Oracle news, the company has completed more than 60 implementations of Oracle Retail solutions at retailers around the globe in the first three quarters since establishing its new retail business unit in April 2005, she said.
Wacoal Selects Koppermann for Merchandising
Intimate apparel brand Wacoal America Inc. has implemented Koppermann's Database Line List and its 3-dimensional visual merchandising software, Tex-Store. Tex-Store will allow Wacoal's merchandisers and their customers to visualize their products in the shop environment along with relevant data, which will greatly assist with buying decisions, the companies reported. Wacoal America's executive vice president of sales Robert Vitale said that the company selected Tex-Store because it could render its shop concept in 3-D and provide detailed merchandising analysis. Also, Koppermann's Database Line List application could be configured to meet the company's exact requirements, which involved using merchandising information from its legacy database program. The solution also deployed rapidly and could be configured differently according to the needs of each division, he said.
Stylophane Offers Web Sales Analytics
Stylophane, known for its Apparel Brand Popularity Search Index, has developed the Stylophane Sales Analytics Tool (SSA) for real-time reporting of online sales data. SSA offers advanced e-mail segmentation tools designed to help companies improve their understanding of customer behavior in order to act on information to drive more sales. Companies can use SSA to generate e-mail lists from different sales reports so that they can target specific states, products or categories for promotions, reward loyal customers and identify buyer groups for new products. A sales summary report provides important daily sales information at a glance, including comparisons to sales in previous weeks and months. Sales reports provide clear product names and thumbnail images so that decision-makers can easily recognize which products are best sellers and which are under-performing, Stylophane reported. The cost of using the tool starts at $79 per month, and a free 30-day trial is available via the web site below. Vue and Pricer AB Team with IBM on RFID Shelf Management Paxar to Offer Item-level Tags Vue Technology, a provider of item-level RFID solutions, and Pricer AB, a supplier of electronic display and information systems, are partnering with IBM to provide retailers with a new solution for RFID-enabled shelf-edge management, the TrueVUE RFID platform. Relatedly, Paxar is partnering with Vue to provide joint solutions that include Paxar's Monarch"RFID printers, smart labels and tags. Through the integration of item-level inventory tracking and shelf management, the new solution moves beyond static price and stock displays, using real-time item-level data, perpetually monitored through a centralized system, to provide real-time inventory tracking and visibility. Displays affixed to the shelf show critical information, including inventory levels, and whether or not the item shown is in its "proper" spot, says Jamie Kress of Vue Technology. Retailers can accurately track sales, sales rates and inventory levels, determining what items need to be re-ordered. They can locate misplaced items, determine items most likely to be lost or stolen, and assess the success of promotional offers, he says.
Synchronics Releases New Version of CounterPoint
Synchronics, which offers software for small- to medium-sized retailers, has released the latest version of its CounterPoint SQL retail management solution. The new release, 8.3.4, contains more than 40 new features to help users run their businesses more efficiently, including a new loyalty program, which allow users to reward loyal customers with points that they can redeem for future purchases or special incentives. It also features time cards and the ability to clock in or out from any CounterPoint workstation. Other offerings from Synchronics, which was recently purchased by Radiant Systems, include CPOnline, a fully integrated e-commerce solution and CPGateway, which returns credit card authorizations in less than two seconds.
Roots Introduces Gift-Card Program
Roots, a North American lifestyle apparel and accessories brand, has announced the introduction of its new electronic gift card program at 130 retail locations across the United States and Canada. Technology for the gift card solution is provided by Ernex, a division of Moneris Solutions Corp., a provider of real-time loyalty and stored-value gift card programs. The new system will allow sales associates to process payments for merchandise and gift cards on the same, easy-to-use terminal. Ernex also will work with the company to enable real-time promotions within its gift card solutions, including "swipe n' win" sweepstakes programs, custom receipt coupons and custom receipt messages. On a related note, Roots recently activated 50,000 gift cards as part of a recent promotion for American Express. "Business-to-business gift card sales are becoming increasingly important to Roots," said the company's co-founder Michael Budman. "These types of promotions also help drive additional in-store traffic and sales."
SAP Sapphire Conference Focuses on SOA, Easier Integration