Every Sale Is Critical, Learn How to Capture Them All

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Every Sale Is Critical, Learn How to Capture Them All

08/08/2019

The “Never Miss A Sale: Retail's Final Frontier,” webinar features insights and advice on how to capture missed opportunities and become a leader in today’s retail environment.

Hosted by RIS News and presented by Cegid, it features industry experts Djamel Toubrinet, senior product marketing manager for the Americas for Cegid, James Stratton, partner at Ascent Enterprise Solutions, and Dick Calio, retail systems consultant with R.J. Calio Consulting, LLC. It is moderated by Joe Skorupa, editorial director at RIS News.

The illustrious panel of retail thought leader discuss how to capture missed opportunities and become a shining star in today’s increasing competitive retail environment where every sale counts. This panel of industry leaders provides tangible advice to ensure you never miss a sale.

The full transcript is below as well as the slides from the presentation.

Joe Skorupa: Welcome to the “Never Miss A Sale: Retail’s Final Frontier” webinar, which is hosted by RIS News and presented by Cegid. I’m Joe Skorupa, editorial director of RIS News, and I’m glad you could be with us today.

Retailers frantically track transactions, but rarely do they track sales that are lost. Don't believe me? Then just ask anyone on your team for a report on lost sales for the week, for the month, or the quarter -- the responses will be interesting.

The industry data in this webinar reveals that total net lost sales is enormous. This makes it an opportunity for retailers to take the right steps. Joining us for today's webinar are experts from Cegid, Ascent Enterprise Solutions, and R.J. Calio Consulting to explore how retailers can substantially improve lost sales performance by reducing out of stocks, having better inventory accuracy, avoiding POS and online glitches, training and equipping associates better, and avoiding long checkout lines.

 

Key topics covered in this webinar will include: shifting from managing inventory by historical averages, stocking stores based on accurate demand forecasting in real-time, omnichannel technologies, re-tooling stores and associates with digital capabilities that cut through brick-and-mortar barriers, overcoming technical debt by replacing legacy systems with cloud data solutions, and finally, adopting a step-by-step approach that leads to a unified commerce platform and supports order management, inventory management, store management, real-time transparency, endless aisle selling, and more.

On-hand for today's discussion is Djamel Toubrinet of Cegid. Serving as product marketing manager for the Americas, Toubrinet provides help to retailers so that they can seize new growth opportunities locally and internationally. So glad to have you joining us today, Djamel. I'm looking forward to our discussion.

Djamel Toubrinet: It's a pleasure to be here.

Skorupa: Also joining us today is James Stratton, a partner at Ascent Enterprise Solutions. He has more than 20 years of IT experience, specializing in strategy, development, and implementation for B-to-C commerce. Prior to founding Ascent, James held senior positions with Guitar Center, Salesforce, and Aptos. Welcome, James, glad you could be here.

James Stratton: Thank you, pleasure to be here with you.

Skorupa: Our final panelist today is Dick Calio, retail systems consultant for R.J. Calio Consulting. Dick has over 25 years of retail automation and payment systems experience and has participated in the installation, support and training of more than 600 retail POS systems. His current focus is providing consulting services for retail automation systems, e-commerce, customer loyalty programs, and inventory and financial management. Thanks for joining us today, Dick, welcome.

Dick Calio: Thanks, Joe, I look forward to a lively discussion.

Skorupa: We've been mentioning that retailers are leaving a lot of money on the table by creating gaps in their systems, processes, and operations. The question I have for you, Djamel, is how big is this problem and why is it occurring?

Toubrinet: It's a big problem. Did you know that one in four shoppers leave the store frustrated and empty-handed, resulting in missed sales opportunities? This is big. I'd like to take a moment to explore the reasons for these frustrations.

First, there's nothing more frustrating for the shopper than when the item they want to purchase is not available, or worse, when the retailer makes it look like it is available, but it's not actually there. Accurate inventory count is the single thing retailers have got to get right for everything else to work -- it's foundational. However, the average level of inventory accuracy at retail organizations in the U.S. is a staggering 65%.

Another element is that as shoppers we naturally research online before buying offline. So before taking that trip to the store, we want to make sure that the item is actually available. Imagine the missed sales opportunities when you're not able to drive online traffic to stores with that information. That's why there's an increasing need to publish stores' on-hand inventory online. Actually, 71% of U.S. online shopping adults think it is important for retailers to provide real-time, in-store inventory visibility online. What's interesting, this is one tactic that retailers usually adopt when they start the omnichannel journey.

Another reason for customers' frustration is when shoppers realize that they know more about products than sales associates. Fifty one percent of shoppers feel that they are better connected to store information than store personnel. What's funny ― and sad ― is that 56% of associates agree with that statement.

Frustration also stems from network downtime, making it impossible to process a transaction. Customers won't stay around while you're trying to figure out why your point-of-sale system isn't able to transact. Check this out: the average cost of POS downtime is around $4,700 per minute. That's quite significant.

Skorupa: What is the biggest challenge when it comes to lost sales opportunities? Inventory accuracy, long checkout lines, out-of-stocks, poorly-equipped sales associates, POS system outages, or some others. I think everyone who works in retail recognizes that there are challenges, and they recognize that lost opportunities and sales are not being made when they could be.

James and Dick, I'm going to bring James in first. What challenges listed here do you believe resonate with retailers? Why are they experiencing them, and what can they do to solve them?

Stratton: First of all, inventory accuracy is probably the most critical one. But in addition to some of these that you've listed, I think also having the appropriate intelligence tools to understand customer behaviors and marketing opportunities are massive when it comes to being able to connect with and convert sales. That's a big, big element. Many retailers don't have adequate intelligence and reporting.

The other thing that I might mention is also the training opportunities with store associates and employees. Upsell opportunities, conversion opportunities, if product isn't in the store, how do we address those needs and concerns? Training is a big element and opportunity there for retailers. What are your thoughts, Dick?

Calio: I agree with everything you said, and I kind of look at this from a point-of-sale system perspective. I think it's foundational, or fundamental, to have the right system in place. You can't get to these other solutions until you have a technology base that will allow you to do that.

I look at it from that perspective, because there's so many legacy systems out there that are prohibiting people from moving forward with this. So, I'll get to the inventory accuracy, checkouts, and out-of-stocks, but I need the right technology in place in my client stores to get there.

Skorupa: Absolutely. As we take a look at preliminary poll results, it looks like far and away "out-of-stocks" is number one on the list. And we have a pretty widespread representation of some of the others, such as inventory accuracy, long checkout lines, and poorly equipped sales associates.

But I totally agree with you that making out-of-stocks go away is not simply installing one solution or one application. It's a complex ecosystem or of technologies and some of them are foundational. So we'll get into that in-depth later.

Now, we're going to jump into our next topic, which, as you can see from the title here, is why is omnichannel so hard? Djamel, that's a simple question, but it requires a complex answer.

Toubrinet: I don't know if the answer is complex, but it's definitely worth discussing for sure. I mean, I'm not going to try to convince you or people in the audience that omnichannel is actually a thing, right? I'm sure you're well aware of that fact, already. That said, I'd like to highlight its importance, right?

By 2023, Forrester expects that digital push points will impact 58% of all retail purchases in the U.S., up from 52% in 2019. So it's easy to say today that more than 50% of all retail sales are influenced by digital interaction.

And so, to keep up with that, retailers are rethinking their retail models. In doing so, they're grappling with a number of challenges, including changing consumer shopping preferences, calling for more and more fulfillment options, and inventory accuracy.

We'll talk about technical debt and what it means for retailers in a fast-paced retail environment, where the need to innovate, test, and learn quickly is paramount. We'll also discuss why legacy systems are a hurdle to that imperative, and specifically to the way of trying to implement new things as quickly as possible and learn from those. Legacy systems don't necessarily allow retail brands to do that.

Last but not least, we'll talk about change management and execution, and what's interesting here is that we're lucky today because we have two system integrators and retail experts with extensive backgrounds that will share their insights working with retail brands small, medium, and large. What's interesting is that they will also talk about, what I call the "unsexy challenges" that come with people and processes.

Skorupa: One of the big things retailers have to cope with today is that over the past five years, we have seen significant shifts in consumer shopping behaviors. Now, what are these changes and how can retailers pivot to get ahead of them?

Stratton: According to a study published by Gartner at the end of 2018, there are four categories of consumer behaviors, which interestingly vary by demographic. When we look at the baby boomer behaviors, they tend to value customer service and the in-store experience. They generally know what they want when they go to the store, and are more comfortable paying full-price retail. They generally distrust social media influences and online purchasing. That's not to say that all baby boomers are that way, we certainly don't want to categorize them as such, but those are the general trends found in the Gartner survey.

For Generation X, consumers typically research the product online before buying. They're willing to pay like the Baby Boomers are, but want quality. They value practicality in their purchase and tend to respond better to e-mail campaigns and SEO, but also value the customer service of an in-store experience. They're more trusting of social media and online reviews to influence purchasing decisions. It is evident that they interact differently with the retailer through a combination of both store and digital.

As we move to the younger demographic ― Millennials, sometimes termed Gen Y ― they rely on word of mouth as influence for how to purchase, and decisions made during the purchasing process. They're more comfortable purchasing through all of the channels, heavily involved with mobiles, computers, laptops, in-store, and tend to treat the shopping experience more socially. There is a very heavy use of social media with this contingent, and they're influenced less by direct marketing such as e-mail campaigns, but more heavily influenced by reviews and word of mouth.

Then we come to the emerging contingent: Gen Z-ers that never knew the world without the Internet. Highly digital, they also tend to be price-savvy and selective, treating the shopping experience similar to the Millennials ― as a social event. There is high engagement with online reviews and they are very communal in buying habits and brand affiliation. This generation tends to be more inclined to shop in-store, instead of waiting for orders to arrive, which is why many retailers ― particularly with this generation ― are adapting buy online, pickup in-store, and of course upsell opportunities as a result of that with Gen Z.

The different behaviors across different generations of consumers are very evident, and perhaps now more than ever we're seeing these different behaviors in the market and the need for retailers to be able to respond in a very real and relevant manner.

Skorupa: One of the things that RIS News has certainly tracked with its own shoppers' studies is that this behavioral shift is ongoing and every three years, every four years, every five years, a different behavior pattern emerges.

All of these changes lead us into the topic of omnichannel, because as James mentioned, digital natives are being born into every new generation. Many retailers are not there at the omnichannel point yet because they don't, honestly, have a good grip on such retail basics as inventory accuracy, especially in real-time or near real-time, which is really what the internet demands.

Without these basics retailers can't truly capitalize on omnichannel opportunities. Retailers are leaving money on the table by not getting omnichannel capabilities up to speed, don't you think?

Toubrinet: Oh, definitely. What's interesting with all of that, is defining what omnichannel is because we don't all have the same definition and some people disagree with what it means. You have an analyst -- people like Doug Stevens and Steve Dennis that have their own definitions ― and they think that omnichannel is a watered-down term to mean that we don't know what's going on so we're going to call this omnichannel. There's an entire conversation to be had there.

The idea of omnichannel is being consistent, coherent, and integrated wherever the shopper is ― follow your consumer. But it doesn't mean that you have to be everywhere and be it all for everyone. There's a lot of talks about omnichannel, total retail, and unified commerce, and I'd love to have those conversations.

What we discovered at Cegid is that we overlook a very important topic, which is inventory accuracy. We touched on it a little bit already, but the reality is that inventory inaccuracy is a major source of frustration that drives customers crazy.

In a world where, as James mentioned, there are so many fulfillment options. We have web, in-store, web-to-store, mobile-to-store, click-and-collect ― I just heard about Amazon getting a patent to actually deliver goods in buses for people that actually commute on a daily basis. There are so many omnichannel services available today that it's hard for retailers to actually keep up, and I don't blame them.

All of these come with the promise that consumers can order from any channel, have items delivered, and return them on their own terms. Obviously, to make that happen, you must be able to capture movements of stock as it occurs, whether it's a sales transaction, online reservation of an in-store product, receptions of goods, at stores, stock takes, and so-on, there are so many scenarios there.

What is needed is that real-time, accurate view of the available stock to sell in-store for multiple purposes. Retailers need to be able to let the other stores in that network know what is available. Same goes for the digital ecosystem, whether it's e-commerce, mobile apps, or marketplaces. There's also the team at the head office that needs that information for replenishment purposes, for example.
Considering all these moving parts, retailers cannot rely on guesswork and inaccurate data. So, in addition to that ― and this is something that I'm thinking about ― is ruling these scenarios with legacy systems going to increase the number of integrations needed for them to work properly. The consequence of that is that it adds up to what we call the technical debt ― that Band-Aid approach that really creates that technical debt that we will dive into in a second.

Skorupa: Yes, technical debt, what an interesting concept, and honestly it makes a lot of sense to me. Here's how I understand technical debt: for example it refers to retailers that postpone investments in technology. This happens because there are budget issues or unusual things happen within the organization, sometimes external issues force it. So after you have set your technology budget you change it and postpone deploying or investing in key areas. When you do make the postponement, you're saving money in your budget, but you're actually going into debt simultaneously on your technology capabilities.

That's what we mean by technical debt. The longer you postpone, the longer you wait to fix the problems within your legacy systems, the more technology debt you are incurring, and the harder it's going to be to get out of it. Retailers who fall behind, the laggards in the retail industry today, have a difficult time catching up. We have seen that time and again in all of the stores that are making headlines about having financial difficulty, closing stores and even declaring bankruptcy.

So, what is your take on this, Dick? How do you foresee how retailers can deal with technical debt and what does it mean to you?

Calio: Certainly when dealing with a retailer, the first thing to look at is the entire IT infrastructure and what is there. I'll challenge your characterization just a little bit, in the sense that they are not saving money essentially. They are not re-investing, which may in fact mean not a CapEx expense. But the cost of maintaining a legacy system is increasing every year.

Organizations are Band-Aiding it together. It's 58% of a small IT budget, and they typically ― my clients who are the single store to the 50-store chain ― don't have a robust internal IT staff. So it takes a step back to say, "okay, incrementally, how am I going to bring my store into the next age where I can capitalize on omnichannel and all these other initiatives that the new consumer wants?"

 

It takes a well thought-out plan, a well-documented plan, and an incremental step plan. When looking at omnichannel, there are a lot of moving parts. A successful implementation can’t be done too incrementally, because all the moving parts have to be in sync to make the omnichannel scenario really work. But I can tell you this, when I walk into a store, and look at that legacy system ― there's too many hindrances that won't allow.

Five years ago 20% of the people I dealt with wanted to look at a SAS solution. Now it's 80%, if not 90%, want to look at a SAS solution. They understand that the speed and immediacy of information is critical. To use your term, I use this debt scenario as a death spiral to the smaller retailer.

Skorupa: That's a really good look at it. The technical debt is the debt that you incur when your systems are holding you back, causing you to lose sales, and every year it gets more expensive for you to solve that problem. Dick just mentioned what he's looking at ― cloud and SAS solutions and how they're talking off―- Djamel, you're also seeing that retailers are using the cloud.

Toubrinet: Definitely, there's so much to be said about the cloud and the power of the cloud, and why a lot of CIOs that we're having conversations with, their daily jobs and work statement now is to move their technology stack to the cloud.

What's interesting with all of this is, there's a study that encapsulates all of that. Back in April 2019, RSR conducted a study about the cloud. The assumption going into the study was that retailers' primary interest was to reduce IT hardware expenses and shorten upgrade cycles, that was it. They were completely wrong. Instead, in the study they found out that leveraging the cloud is all about pushing the "go faster" button.

It seems, just like consumers, technology is ahead of the retailers' tech stacks. There's that gap that exists between the retailer and the consumer, that's nothing new. So the cloud is the retailers' real attempt to move beyond what we call "retail time" to "consumer time." James had a great case study actually that he shared with us, and I think it's going to speak to that.

Stratton: Yes, thanks Djamel. We have quite a few experiences with retailers that are coming off of on-premise and going to SAS-model cloud-based solutions. One of the success stories that we had, actually with Cegid Y2, was a customer in the Western U.S. that had been struggling with a very outdated system. It was a legacy environment, on-premise, about 10 to 11 years in production.

They had struggled with upgrading the system, even maintenance upgrades that should have been done on a regular cadence, they had challenges with internally in the deployment strategy and techniques that were used. There were quite a few different integration points that were built into this system, and the maintenance on the system was extremely expensive.

Communications between the stores and home office were difficult. There were a lot of batch processes that were involved, and even as we helped them do the initial upgrade, we found that the upgrade took about 12 months just to get all of the interfaces up and the various point solutions in-line to upgrade the system properly.

So, let's fast forward a little bit and talk about how the SAS modeled solution helped this particular client. When we implemented the SAS solution we did the entire end-to-end deployment within six months, which was a significant improvement considering that a standard maintenance upgrade took approximately a year.

The initial licensing and maintenance fees for the solution totaled a fraction of the maintenance cost of the initial on-premise solution. There was a massive savings, and while I'd love to share those numbers, they are proprietary. For an idea, I would say that there was about a 200% ROI in year one by going to the SAS modeled solution.

The solution that was selected, Y2, had an open architecture and API, which made it easier to integrate to the other solutions that this client had in place. There was a huge cost savings, quicker time-to-value, and also a better base for future technologies that could be implemented through the use of an open architecture and API.

We were very excited about that, and it was a real success story for us, and more importantly, for our customer here in the U.S.

Skorupa: That's a great case study, and honestly, I've heard stories too, in public forums, where the speaker is going to be held to his words. Retailers have said they've gotten, you mentioned 200% return, I've heard that the cloud implementation, when handled properly, can have a return investment in three months. And that was a big retailer at a presentation a couple of months ago.

Continuing on topic, what are the challenges encountered when moving retail systems to the cloud? Data security and privacy, cost, business disruption, lack of resources and expertise, performance and availability -- and that, of course, refers to up-time. Integration to internal systems and inability to customize are other concerns.

Each pain point mentioned is a significant challenge, although they aren’t all confined to cloud implementations. But it will be interesting to see which ones of these will appear on a list where the question is specifically about the cloud.

I'm going to turn this over to James and Dick here to explain what they mean by calling out these problems and what retailers can do to solve them.

Calio: So the question is, what are the biggest disruptors or hindrances for retailers to adapt to a cloud solution. Well, again, we'll talk about scale. In my client segment, the first deal is knowledge. What is this going to do? There's a security issue, "where's my data going to reside?" Because they're used to everything being an on-premise solution with heavy hardware, and now that’s being taken away.

There's another silent issue, and it depends on some larger clients, where, I hate to say this, but there's been an IT staff issue, because they realize that the heavy lift and the services they provide are going to diminish. So there's some of those psychological aspects to it, but I think it's more, "I have to move my business, I have to think of it differently."

The change agent, the psychological aspect, the real life "I have to change," this is where somebody who successfully has implemented systems, like James and his company have, really come in. They can walk this client through it and take the organization through it in phases and increments. When you look at the big picture, the business disruption issue to me is a non-issue.

The lack of resources and expertise for sure, but that's where third-party companies come in. Performance and availability, to me it's a non-issue. Yes, there are instances of disruption, but when you look at disruption and latency that happen with systems through remote desktop connection and multi-store connectivity issues, it's much less with SAS.

If you talk to SAS providers, they will tell you that their incidence of calls for connectivity and technical issues goes down exponentially, and now their calls are more on use cases, "how do I use the software?" Which is really the right question.

Integration to internal systems, again, that's an issue that happens in on-premise or off-premise systems. However, one other thing that is happening now, I'm seeing companies who have third-party software that play into retail are offering a very creative subscription model, so saying based upon usage. It's almost like, you have a core system and you're using some third-party applications, and you pay for them as you use them. The financial aspect of it, in the long-term, is much better in a SAS model.

Stratton: I would add quickly, I think Dick's comments are spot on with the organizational aspects. Certainly security and the paradigm shift in moving from something that is on-premise to a SAS-modeled solution requires a different way of thinking around centralized architecture. We oftentimes see, speaking about omnicentric solutions, pieces such as an OMS come into play that haven't really been invested in before that are now a critical piece of the architecture to handle the transactions, the customers, and most importantly, the inventory aspects in a one source of truth and one location element.

While Dick's comments are spot-on, it does require a paradigm shift through the organization, and the appropriate level of sponsorship to transition from on-premise thinking to a centralized SAS architected solution.

Skorupa: It looks like at the top of the list for challenges are integrations to internal systems and costs. Let me address integration to internal systems.

Let's take order management systems for a moment, which have become a newly critical application in the omnichannel world. A lot of retailers consider an order management systems as one of their first core application entrees in cloud deployment. The issue is, while they can get the order management system running through a cloud deployment, they often run into problems with getting accurate information from the legacy systems that are tracking inventory and purchases, that are communicating with each other and between channels and fulfillment systems. This part part of the integration work, the non-cloud part, is not up to speed and isn't providing the cloud OMS system with good, timely, accurate, real-time data and real-time alerts and messages. When this happens the positive outcomes from the cloud OMS system aren't going to be as robust as the retailer expected.

So integration to internal system has emerged as the top concern here for retail systems moving to the cloud. Cost is right up there as well. Interesting insights from today’s audience. Let's jump over to are tech stacks increasingly fragmented?

In the world of providers today, retailers struggle stitching together all of these multiple solutions, and it can become a real mess. Retailers used to be proud of their best-of-breed approach, but now they're realizing they need a solution to the problem of integrating all of these best-in-class applications. Dick, what do you recommend for retailers in this new type of environment?

Calio: Retailers almost have to tear everything down. Retailers have made the investment and then were fairly progressive in bringing in third-party integrated systems ― but when you look at it sometimes they've created silos of data, specifically customer data is the biggest problem, where they have online data, offline data, and some marketing program that has another view of the customer. They almost have to tear this down and say, "okay, at a base level, how do we implement new systems where we have one consistent silo of information?"

There’s always going to be some third-party systems, but at the core, you don't want inventory and customer data to be in separate silos. I look at fragmented data as something that's going away very rapidly. Systems now have open APIs, which to me is a bedrock, if a system doesn't have a published, open API, I don't want to look at it for my clients. I want to have the ability to transfer data back and forth in systems and have one repository that allows a view of all my data.

You have to tear it apart and build it back up, in my view. That's the only way to really get to this unified lack of fragmented data.

Skorupa: That's certainly not a message that a lot of retailers want to hear because they recognize that it's a lot of work, it's a lot of investment, it's a lot of resources being required. The point is that it can be done in a step-by-step approach, as long as you know what your end state is designed to look like. It can actually be taken as an update and an upgrade process, let's say, a three-year plan. It can be done that way. There is a way.

Calio: I agree, Joe, 100%.

Skorupa: Looking ahead, I think we've already discussed change management to a certain extent, but I'm going to toss a question here to Dick. What do you think are some tactical steps that you can recommend for retailers to take as they're looking forward to making these big changes we're talking about? To make sure that systems are fully aligned with the omnichannel customer?

Calio: You have to really look at this as a unified move. You can't do a lot of this incrementally because there's too many moving parts. In other words, you can't have a good website that gets an order to a store and not have the proper training and execution at the store for the customer to pick it up. All those pieces have to be in place, or you're going to have a failed solution.

In my perspective, the best approach is a thorough evaluation of technology and systems to be brought in from the perspective of: "what do I need and how close does this solution meet my needs." I think the other aspect that gets overlooked is the internal aspect. I bring the stakeholders in on the business and I let them participate in the evaluation, and writing a policy manual or procedure manual that they are willing to support. Once they put skin in the game on this, the likelihood of them following it and executing it is much higher.

I look at it from an external evaluation of new systems, and how they can meet this expectation for omnichannel, and internally, how my stakeholders feel. Their participation can lead to this being a successful venture. So look at it from both perspectives.

Stratton: I think Dick's done a nice job of talking about the technical aspects. Certainly organizationally, it's huge, and as we move into a unified commerce strategy tying these omnichannel components together, we have to think organizationally as well. There may be changed and different dynamics that are introduced with digital commerce.

In fact, we know that there have been. The CMO is playing a larger role today than ever when it comes to customer engagement and tying the customer to the brand. As we develop a strategy around technology, we also need to pay attention to, and stage in a similar manner that Dick described, our organizational changes, and how we're going to eliminate those silos as a result of strategy. Absolutely crucial, not only for adoption, but also for downstream success at stores and other customer touchpoints.

Calio: I'd add one more thing. I hate to circle back in, but there’s a metrics piece that I really didn't address. No matter what initiative, you have to have a set of metrics that you look at on a consistent basis to see if this initiative is meeting those baselines and what adjustments you have to make. It's the "fail fast" syndrome. Learn your problem quickly and adjust. The only way to do that is to have a consistent set of data points that you can track to evaluate the solution.

Skorupa: That's a great comment that leads us into our next section. I always like to have a concrete, specific solution in the webinar. If retailers listening in today can come away with one thing, one solution, it may not be the perfect fit for everyone, but one thing that they can take away and fit right into their organization -- let's make sure we provide everyone with that.

Toubrinet: I think it is important to bring this home and for people in the audience understand who Cegid is and what we do.

At its core, we believe that retail management and POS systems should ensure you never miss a sale. It's a huge challenge that retailers are grappling with, and to ensure this happens, a modern platform is needed ― not only to save sales, but also to capture new growth opportunities, and the many opportunities that are thrown at retailers these days.

This can be done through a unified, frictionless shopping experience in-store, online, anytime, and everywhere. What I mean by everywhere: it's both domestically, here in North America, but also internationally. Cegid is located in about 75 countries, so the world is yours in terms of what market you want to break into.

We do this through a cohesive global cloud platform, Cegid Retail Y2. Our worldwide partnership with Azure allows us to do that.

Toubrinet: Here is an example of a client relying on Cegid Y2. The platform helps the organization manage its retail operations from the head office to the stores. The purpose of this is to show the depth and breadth of the solution in different areas, its functionality and ability to integrate with third-party applications.

We live in a world of clusters, the market is being increasingly fragmented, but with today’s technologies and API's web services, the ability to integrate easily is paramount in order for a business run smoothly. All of that is encapsulated in the complete retail management and POS solution, which runs on a centralized database in real-time using the cloud.

To put things in perspective a little bit, about 11,000 brands run Cegid that have about 70,000 stores in 75 countries. The platform runs the entire retail operation. We also work with about 55 resellers and system integrators, such as Dick and James, to roll out the technology.

Cegid is among the top three retail technology vendors, according to Gartner, Forrester, IDC, and RIS News. We work very hard to be in the top list of the RIS leaderboard, and Joe can comment on that as well.

Skorupa: That is something that we do as an independent service for retailers. It's the only survey in all of retail technology that's based on the opinions of end users. It's not done by analysts or consultants. RIS adds up the votes by end users, the way Consumer Reports does it, for example, or JD Power and Associates does it. Cegid has done an incredible job of ranking extremely well with end users who use and deploy their technologies.

Toubrinet: To wrap things up, what I wanted to do is go back to what Joe mentioned at the very beginning: Retailers fanatically track transactions, but rarely track sales that are lost. That's really too bad because industry data reveals the total amount of lost sales is an enormous opportunity for retailers to improve both the shopping experience and bottom line results if they take the right steps.

I hope, along with Dick, James, and Joe, we were able to share some of those steps. The reality is that missed sales opportunities are worthy of your attention. Missed opportunities are the difference between winners and losers in retail today.

The recommendation that we have for you today is to go back to your organization and ask about quantifying those lost sales opportunities that you may have had and incorporate that into your forecast. Putting a number on it is extremely interesting, and that number would be very surprising to you and your entire organization.

Skorupa: We'd like to leave all of our listeners today with one question: What is your lost sales number? How well do you track that? If you ask your team members, any team members, interdepartmental team members, would your report come back, and would it sound like crickets?

If so, then the problem there is not addressed. As you look forward to growing sales, you should be operating on two tracks: Growing new sales and capturing the sales you're already missing. If you operate on both of those tracks, you're going to increase your opportunities for success in 2019 and 2020.

I want to thank our outstanding panel today for their great insights into this important subject. Djamel, let me first thank you for being here, I appreciate you providing the foundation for this great content, and thanks a lot for being here today.

Toubrinet: Thank you, Joe.

Skorupa: Dick, great insights from your client experiences, retailer experiences, and case study experiences. Thanks for being here.

Calio: Thanks, Joe. Great job moderating.

Skorupa: James, also happy to have you here, glad you're here. Thank you to all of our audience members for joining us today. Please join us for the next web session and have a great day.