Most modern retailers recognise it is critical they digitalise their activities, but a surprising number don’t understand how the solutions work – and many even fear the process.
Bridging the divide between external consultants and internal teams is a key mission of Frederic Etienbled, CEO and founder of Hypertrade, which offers large-scale retailers solutions for category management, CRM, and data collaboration, via Software as a Service. The company essentially provides an ecosystem for retailers to help them improve their commercial offer, retain customers and maximise the output of their data assets.
“As former retailers ourselves, we often have the opportunity to listen to former colleagues still working in large retail organisations,” explains Etienbled. “These organisations are often using the best of technology and innovation – solutions that have been sold to them and implemented by very skilled consultants.
“Yet, it is common for us to hear from clients comments such as ‘We don’t really know how it works’ or ‘Our teams feel kind of lost when the consultants are not here’.”
In more extreme cases, retailers will tell the Hypertrade team that the level of data required to be collected leaves them worried they are spending more time collecting and enriching the data than selling products, or that the sophistication of tools required to undertake the analysis in-house is beyond the expertise or capacity of the internal teams.
“It is not uncommon to see projects that cost millions of dollars to implement being stopped or suspended suddenly because of these reasons. That leads to implementation and adoption slowing down, resulting in more costs – and all too often, the additional value the projects were supposed to create for the business is delayed or simply evaporates.”
There is a very real concern among senior retail executives about the complexity of data software solutions, says Etienbled, certainly among many medium- to large-sized retail companies that are family-owned and evolved through blood, sweat, and tears of successive generations.
“Sometimes I feel like they are being taken hostage by this situation. They realise that if they are not digitalising, their business is going to take a big hit and they might not be able to sell it or pass it down to their children. But at the same time, they think: If I go there I do not have the competencies, so what’s going to happen to my team. And what’s going to happen to my wallet? I think there are quite a number of retailers like this.”
Hypertrade uses its technology solutions to optimise the value of the data these companies collect, allowing them to grow their sales and their margins, optimise the returns of new channels – and, equally importantly, quickly recover their investment in the technology.
Designed for retailers by retailers
“Our tech is pretty strong. We use narrow AI for automation, predictive analytics for alerts, and machine learning for forecasting models. Beyond the tech, what we are most happy about is how simple it is to use. This is due to the magic that happens when software designers and onboarding teams are ex-retailers, and developers with young and bright talents. Joint team efforts focus both on building a solution that addresses retailers’ needs and building onboarding programs to make the technology easy for retailers to adopt.
“We have accumulated more than 70 years of retail experience across four continents and 120 markets.”
When onboarding new clients, Hypertrade’s staff spend around five times the time training and coaching clients than on implementing the technology, ensuring the retailers know how to make decisions faster and better when the implementation into the business is complete.
Hypertrade is working with retailers as far afield as Kenya, Malaysia, the Philippines, the UAE, and Myanmar, and is talking with prospective customers in the Philippines, Thailand, and several new African markets. Most of its clients are family-owned or funds-driven businesses and all have an online presence, although the ratio of offline to online varies.
Retailers “love us” for the knowledge and expertise we set up through retail tech
“I think one of the reasons people like working with us is that we are not retail tech – we are retail experts selling knowledge through advanced solutions that help teams grow their business performances and make their life easier,” says Etienbled. “Our value proposition is a means for them to do their job better and faster; how they can manage the pressure better, assess the results, identify mistakes and contribute to the company. When we work with our clients, in a way we’re consultants, but we feel more we are just a member of the team rolling our sleeves up working with the client, because we have been in the same trenches: negotiating with suppliers, building ranges, setting pricing, building and implementing category strategies – we were all retailers ourselves.”
With technology playing an increasing – and absolutely essential – role in modern retailing, the attention of teams towards that technology must be stronger than ever,” says Etienbled.
“As a retail technology company, we have a simple motto: A good technology is a technology that is adopted.”
That’s what sets Hypertrade out from rival SaaS consultancies, some of them with higher profiles in the market, he explains. “As former retailers, we are simple and practical. Results are measurable from the third month”.
Contact Hypertrade to learn more about how the company can help your retail business.