Aptos is a software technology company that works primarily with fashion and apparel retailers to provide omnichannel, unified commerce solutions spanning every facet of retail from the point of sales to order fulfilment and merchandising. They’ve been in the business for over thirty years and worked with more than a thousand retail brands across North America, Europe and Asia. PREMIER RETAIL caught up with Vice President of Strategy, Nikki Beard, and General Manager for Europe and Asia, Zaki Hassan at this year’s Retail Technology Show.
Q: What has brought Aptos to the Retail Technology Show?
Nikki Baird: “There’s so much uncertainty out there with the cost-of-living crisis and consumer confidence, so it’s good to get a pulse on the emotional context of retailers today. And for this show it’s good to see how much it’s grown, because that’s helpful for understanding where retailers’ confidence is.”
Zaki Hassan: “These types of events are important not just for promoting our brand, but also for learning about what’s happening in the marketplace and in retail in general. We have a pulse on what’s happening in North America and Europe, but it’s always good to sense-check that with what others are saying and see if our messaging is resonating, otherwise we’re putting our money in the wrong places. Right now, retailers are making really hard decisions about where to put their money, so we need to make sure that we are aligned with where they are going and where they want to be. Being at an event like this is critical for making sure we aren’t going off on the wrong path.”
Q: Are there any areas of the retail industry that you think will become a big focus going forward?
Nikki Baird: “The store is definitely one area; trying to figure out the omnichannel side of that, the inventory, whether the right capabilities are in place for it. The store is no longer just about selling the product that’s there, it has to be able to sell anything the retailer might possess to any customer that walks in the door. Also, it now has to be a fulfilment location and a return location. Coming out of the pandemic, customers have new expectations around stores being entertaining, being connective, being good members of the community. Stores have to be capable of more things than we have ever expected of them before. The pandemic has also created a crisis of customer loyalty, and we see a lot of retailers looking to reestablish that loyalty and connection to their brand. But that connection needs to be about more than discounts – it needs to be about experience.”
Q: Omnichannel seems like a huge point of interest for Aptos, but how far has it come?
Nikki Baird: “We’ve been talking about omnichannel for a long time, and I think we’re finally at a place where we can talk about being more seamless from the consumer’s perspective more seriously. People have talked about it as an objective, but because there’s been such a big investment in trying to leverage store inventory and being able to meet demand no matter what channel it comes at you from, we can get closer to seamless. There are still technology changes that need to happen in stores and a lot of obstacles that retail needs to tackle to achieve that seamless experience.”