Zaki Hassan, General Manager APAC of Aptos, spoke to Golden ABC CEO, Bernie Liu, about his recent investment in the Philippines’ most extensive omnichannel retailing project, and why he made this decision amid this challenging business climate.
Zaki Hassan: Golden ABC recently expanded its partnership with Aptos’ omnichannel technology to cultivate the Philippines’ largest and most advanced omnichannel shopping experience. Could you share with us the impetus behind this investment?
Bernie Liu: This partnership and investment epitomise what has always been our top priority: our customers’ shopping experience.
We have six brands – Penshoppe, OXGN, ForMe, Memo, Regatta, and BOCU – all of which cater to the diverse fashion needs of our market. As an international fashion enterprise, we need to constantly find new and innovative ways to ensure that our customers’ needs are always met.
The way we track our customers’ shopping behaviours has become more data-driven. Specifically taking into consideration today’s new normal, we saw how our customers have become digitally connected, driving an acceleration of online retailing. At the same time, they are telling us that the in-store experience remains an important one, so to add to our customers’ already abundant options for in-store shopping, their choices increased from many to innumerable with the emergence of digital platforms.
A multitude of options would mean a multitude of possibilities, and it is imperative that we are well-equipped to deal with most, if not all, the possible outcomes. In that regard, it is natural for Golden ABC to continue to adapt and thrive in the digital age while remaining true to its promise of fashioning experiences that inspire greatness.
ZH: How do you expect this technology investment to impact the customer’s omnichannel experience?
BL: With customer-centred retail order management, we will be able to orchestrate seamless shopping experiences, meaning the customer will always find what he or she wants, in the location they desire. We will always be able to fulfil the customer’s demand, from shopping cart to front door – whether digital or physical.
As to how that will be so, Golden ABC will manage with Aptos nearly every aspect of our retail operations – from merchandise planning across channels, to how orders are collected and fulfilled, to how shoppers are served and engaged.
That means we will be able to unify shopping experiences across all channels, devices, and touchpoints. For example, we will be building a 360-degree view of every customer so that we can provide personalised offers and reward programs that each customer wants.
We will also be able to create and manage loyalty programs that consistently delight customers – sharpened with omnichannel integration so customers enjoy the brands and channels they prefer wherever they are.
ZH: What makes this omnichannel solution the largest and most advanced one yet in the Philippine online shopping landscape?
BL: In terms of scale and complexity, this is one of the most extensive projects for omnichannel retailing in the region – involving the largest and only Aptos Enterprise Order Management (EOM) deployment in Asia, the first Aptos Point-of-Sale (POS) deployment in the Philippines, and the first Aptos fully integrated commerce suite (Customer Relationship Management [CRM], EOM and POS) deployment in Asia.
The ambitious implementation impacts nearly every aspect of Golden ABC’s retail operations and customer engagement efforts.
It will help us deliver an unparalleled shopping experience in a typically disjointed omnichannel shopping landscape by creating a seamless shopping experience across 7107 islands and 1300 stores – from online to offline. The outcome will be a state-of-the-art customer ordering service that offers click-and-collect or ship-from-store, as well as same-day customer service.
This advanced omnichannel solution will also enable a single view of the customer, allowing us to provide even better service by seeing all interactions with customers anywhere in Golden ABC’s estate. In addition, we are deploying Mobile POS to allow customers to check out anywhere in the store to make the shopping experience a more convenient and delightful one.
Furthermore, the deployment will help us manage our inventory intelligently across the enterprise. We will be able to utilise in-store inventory to effortlessly check inventory across the Golden ABC estate of stores and distribution centres – wherever the customer wants to make a purchase. By using inventory where it is already located, we optimise inventory use, generating significant logistical savings.
The innovative solution will also enable smarter merchandise planning across channels, allowing us to replenish to demand and never let customers get disappointed about out-of-stock situations.
We are excited about this collaboration with Aptos as it will give Golden ABC the ability to create compelling customer experiences and deliver happiness with every customer interaction, while driving business growth.
ZH: Golden ABC originated in the Philippines in 1986 and now has more than 1000 strategically located sites. How do you see omnichannel retailing impacting Golden ABC’s growth across these markets?
BL: The customer experience we provide today directly impacts our growth tomorrow and in the future. Omnichannel retailing is a long-term solution that effectively caters to the more informed and mindful purchasing behaviour of our customers. They browse the web for information before going to malls and lean towards companies that understand their wants. To gain customers’ trust and loyalty, we need to deliver a continuous and consistent omnichannel experience across all touchpoints and points of engagement.
This is why we are harnessing Aptos’ cloud-based order management system. It supports customer orders across all channels and regions, whether in-store, online, or via our mobile app.
We are also deploying the Aptos Store Point-of-Sale (POS) solution and Aptos CRM. With these feature-rich applications, Golden ABC can offer more informed interactions, faster checkouts, and individualised customer engagement.
ZH: It is inspiring to see Golden ABC making bold investments during a challenging period such as this. Was it a difficult decision to make such a daring venture in the midst of the pandemic?
BL: Golden ABC has always been forged in fire. If you look at the history of Golden ABC, we’ve always taken bold steps during the most difficult of times. So, in making the investment to cultivate the Philippines’ largest and most advanced omnichannel shopping experience, we are doing exactly that.
Key challenges confronting retailers since the pandemic triggered lockdowns include supply chain disruption, excess inventory, lower traffic in stores, evolving customer behaviours, and the need to accelerate digital growth.
With recovery expected to be gradual and progressive, we need to be agile and continuously adjust to trends as they develop. That means continuing to invest in strategic initiatives that help us pivot the business effectively and in a timely manner.
This effort to focus on the customer and create a premium experience for every customer is one that will allow us to constantly meet and exceed shoppers’ expectations and preferences, no matter how ever-changing and unpredictable they are.
Indeed, it did take a leap of faith to forge ahead with the plans despite the uncertainty out there, but this, I believe, is the only way retailers can thrive today and in the future.
ZH: You have been consistently sought out to be a resource person on the future of Philippine Retail. Do you have any advice to offer to Filipino retailers on retailing in the next three to five years?
BL: Regardless of how experienced we are as retailers, manual processes and gut feel can no longer cut it. To thrive, we need data-driven demand signals. Planning must start based on location and become truly demand-driven and customer-centric rather than product-centric.
The pandemic is profoundly shifting the way retailers across the world plan merchandise. Merchandise planning is about answering questions such as ‘what volume should I buy for each store?’ and ‘what options do I need?’.
Today, with stores subjected to changing safety restrictions and omnichannel increasing the complexity of retailing, we are facing extreme volatility. This makes answering the usual merchandise planning questions much more complicated.
This is a change that is here to stay, so it’s important that we become more forward-thinking and remain agile. Everyone in the industry – regardless of size – is competing for the same share of pocket, so we have to be as progressive as possible, and know-how we can differentiate our brand, products, and services in order to stand out.
ZH: Projects such as the omnichannel initiative you are embarking on are transformational, yet complex. What do you look for in the team and partners that support you on this journey?
BL: It is important for us to work with partners that truly understand the retail industry and are committed to our sector, and are as dedicated to creating customer-centric experiences across all our retail channels and touchpoints. In that regard, it is natural for us to partner with Aptos, who is not only a recognised market leader in retail technology solutions, but also has the retail industry’s most comprehensive omnichannel solutions.
For Golden ABC to deliver exceptional shopping experiences, we also need our team and partners to believe in our mission to fulfill our customers’ needs and to grow with them as their preferences continue to evolve. Aptos showed us that its people are committed to a deep and long-term understanding of our business and our customers. That is a vital quality to us.
In an era of virtually limitless choice, sustained competitive advantage only comes to retailers who understand their customers and deliver what they desire continually. With Aptos committed to supporting us in achieving this, Golden ABC is confident that we can provide our customers with the seamless omnichannel experiences they are looking for.
Find out more about the advanced Enterprise Order Management (EOM) omnichannel solution that is helping Golden ABC anticipate, adapt, and align to shifting customer expectations while optimising efficiency at every step – so that it thrives now and in the future. You can also request a demo of Aptos EOM or other omnichannel solutions here.