What ‘Consumer-Centricity’ Should Mean to Retailers and Brands, Say SAP Execs

In a complex retail environment, footwear merchants and brands are focused on bettering the customer experience. Accordingly, the concept of consumer centricity — and the technology necessary to deliver it — took center stage at SAP’s recent Sapphire Now annual conference, held in Orlando, Fla., June 5-7.

Citing an aim to help businesses “serve” and “retain” their consumers, the software technology giant revealed a new suite of applications, SAP C/4HANA.

“The legacy CRM systems are all about sales; SAP C/4HANA is all about the consumer. We recognize that every part of a business needs to be focused on a single view of the consumer,” said CEO Bill McDermott. “When you connect all SAP applications together in an intelligent cloud suite, the demand chain directly fuels the behaviors of the supply chain.”

With panel topics such as how businesses can rethink customer engagement to support digital transformations, discussions at the conference indicated that SAP is focused on the notion of “consumer-centricity.”

A spokesman for SAP explained that the offering “now ties together solutions to support all front-office functions, such as consumer data protection, marketing, commerce, sales and customer service.”

The firm also unveiled the SAP HANA Data Management Suite. According to the spokesman, it allows businesses “to gain visibility and control of their highly distributed data.”

The suite enables users to “collect and integrate data from all sources in a trusted, unified landscape.” What’s more, its “framework and in-memory database” aspire to help users leverage tech like machine learning, IOT (Internet of Things), artificial intelligence and more.

With regulations such as Europe’s new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in the headlines of late, data collection and privacy are top of mind for consumers — as are systems that support that and promise optimal customer service experiences.

As Lori Mitchell-Keller, global general manager of consumer industries at SAP, recently wrote in an op-ed for FN sister publication WWD: “Customer-centricity is not only putting the customers’ point of view at the center of every decision, it also requires building the entire experience around the customer. Implementing this type of thinking will help retailers meet and exceed consumer demands while anticipating their needs proactively.”

SAP’s footwear customers have included Crocs, Brooks Brothers and Keen.

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