In the fast-paced world of retail technology, one size no longer fits all.
Instead, innovation is the name of the game: unique software solutions tailor-made to solve a specific problem for a specific organisation.
To stay ahead of the game, the challenge is to stand out from the crowd while keeping up with the transformational possibilities of leading-edge tech. Off-the-shelf solutions just won’t deliver here.
The answer is purpose-built solutions to solve specific problems for a specific organisation. The introduction of APIs to leverage years of investment in legacy systems can be used to overhaul outdated processes and resolve long-standing frustrations.
At REPL, the talented technical minds within their development services team are eager to challenge the conventional and devise stand-out digital solutions. Solutions that power productivity, generate growth and future-proof businesses.
Chief Operating Officer of Digital Solutions at REPL, Deon Moodley, says: “In this ever-changing digital age, retailers need to move fast while carrying a lot of baggage.
“Sometimes there are no effective off-the-shelf solutions for retailers to differentiate themselves from competitors. Their only option is a purpose-built solution: they really want and need to be at the forefront of innovation, plugging the gaps in their tech and getting tangible results quickly.
“In addition, their tech partner needs to understand the nuances of their operating environment, the culture of their organisation and that any solution needs to be integrated into a legacy system that can’t be easily changed.”
The Answer is Agile
The traditional approach to solving these kind of retail challenges, from compromised stock control systems to faltering employee engagement, involves many months or years of data analysis and strategy planning followed by the presentation of a solution.
The outcome? A lack of synergy caused by the distance between developers and clients. And a shift in focus from the original issue due to the prolonged timeline. Meanwhile, nothing changes on the shop floor, back office or warehouse.
REPL’s dedicated development services team turn this approach on its head. Their mantra is to learn faster to succeed sooner, following agile principles to build confidence and get results early in the process.
Deon adds: “Our team is very skilled at picking up a challenge, then innovating to solve a specific problem. We can work out the vision and the strategy and execute those ideas in iterations, learning quickly and swiftly turning around something that’s failing.
“The key is to put the solution in the hands of the clients quickly. This gives them confidence in our work and our relationship early on. They can then touch it, get a flavour of it, tell us if it feels right or needs changing.
“By making the solution tangible to them, they can test it and check it’s what they really need. From there, we can fine-tune and minimise any wasted time.”
REPL’s development services team includes highly-skilled product owners, UX architects, automation engineers, quality engineers and developers working across mobile and web applications. They’re joined by certified scrum masters who coach teams within an agile framework.
By breaking projects down into sprints, all the lines are shortened and the journey to a successful outcome is quicker.
“We would never tell a client that we’re going to go away, come up with a solution and present it to them 12 months later,” adds Deon.
“We strongly believe in an agile approach, constantly inspecting and adapting as we go along. However, that doesn’t mean that we’ll blindly follow it no matter what.
“We have the flexibility in our processes to adapt to each client and how they operate. Retailers are aware though that they need to innovate quickly. Some can be cautious about taking risks so it’s crucial to get that fine balance right.
“Within the retail space, they know that tech can date quickly so there is no logic in dragging out a project.”
Innovation In Action
REPL’s technologists aren’t afraid to think beyond the ordinary. When UK retailer Argos hosted a hackathon to explore how digital innovation could boost customer engagement, they jumped at the opportunity.
The result was REPL’s Argos Christmas Wishlist, an app based on gamification that brought the traditions of the Argos catalogue into the digital age.
Designed for three to seven-year-olds, the idea was born from a history of children circling favourite toys or tearing out pages from the catalogue to make a collage to send to Santa.
The app is the 21st century version of this: adapting a Christmas tradition for an online audience.
Young users are welcomed into a colourful digital world where they’re invited to select one of the animated helpers – Mo, Stik, Gil, Squidge or Fly – to help them navigate around the app.
After picking their favourite character, children can take a photo of themselves within the app and add their name. They can then browse over 3,000 of Argos’ most popular toys before adding them to a mood board. This can be personalised by drawing and circling toys with different coloured pens and placing stickers on their must-have items.
Combining fun and functionality, the app was an instant hit. It earned a 4.5/5 rating on Apple’s app store which was backed up by impressive stats including an 11-minute average dwell time and 36% click-through rate.
This engagement translated into action with two out of every three users sending an email to Santa and their parents. A quarter of these email addresses were new to Argos.
REPL is also currently working with another major UK retailer to tackle a critical technology issue that was affecting its logistics set-up.
Restricted by a legacy infrastructure, they approached the development services team to overhaul their outdated refrigerated delivery system.
Instead of investing many millions, the retailer challenged REPL to leverage a bespoke solution into their existing infrastructure. A small, high-calibre team joined key people client-side and staged the work in a series of rapid sprints.
With confidence quickly instilled, the retailer saw improvements within a matter of weeks, not months. The project is now being completed delivering significant benefits with minimum disruption to operations.
Innovation That Transforms
With games industry experience, REPL’s development experts are keen to break new ground. Their retail know-how is unrivalled and brings a unique perspective to the most complex of challenges.
Deon says: “The team understands retail. We have a great dynamic and are focused on delivering transformative change. There are always lots of ideas flying around as we work towards a common goal.
“We offer everything from end-to-end consultancy, development and delivery to simply helping to visualise an innovation before passing it back for client teams to develop.
“As we build our own products, we have the right knowledge and expertise to share with organisations via discovery sessions. These spark real creativity so together we can devise the perfect solution.”
With the digital revolution demanding a pioneering approach, REPL’s belief that one size will never fit all is leading to ingenious solutions that are both innovative and transformative.