Londis retailers receive iPads as part of e-retailing move

Chris Donnelly, head of IT at Londis presents the new technology to retailers at the annual Londis Conference in Killarney on 27 September
Chris Donnelly, head of IT at Londis presents the new technology to retailers at the annual Londis Conference in Killarney on 27 September

Londis retailers were surprised and delighted when it was announced that they were to receive free iPads as part of a new e-commerce strategy, at the company conference in Killarney, Co Kerry in September

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19 October 2011

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Retailers attending the annual Londis conference got more than they bargained for when it was announced that the company was providing an iPad for each retailer as part of a new €5 million strategy. The five year plan to move to ‘e-retailing’ was behind the huge investment by the company. The iPads will enable retailers to access Londis’ software capabilities and cloud based infrastructure through one portable device.

Chris Donnelly, head of IT at Londis says that the group has invested heavily in IT in the last few years and they consider themselves ahead of others in the trade in this regard.

“When you combine all of Londis’ business intelligence with market leading IT infrastructure, and add in the accessibility and functionality of the iPad, it fundamentally changes how each of our retailers will conduct their business. The new way of doing business is now more efficient, effective and responsive.”

“This brings everything together – all the information on the shop floor. The biggest success we’ve had to date was the launch of the ISIS order portal earlier this year. The stores that are using that are trading 40% ahead of budgets and it’s working for them as they are getting products that they wouldn’t have tried before and the intelligence of the top sellers.”

One of the big advantages of using the iPad with the ISIS system is getting the live stock results from the warehouse, Donnelly says. “When they [retailers] are sourcing an order they can see that something is not available so they can source an alternative. You have the advantage of looking at your promotional ends and looking at your category plans to be able to complete a full order for the shop when away from the office.”

Londis retailers will now do all their ordering on iPads

Londis retailers will now do all their ordering on iPads

Asked whether migrating to the iPad could pose difficulties to older non-tech savvy retailers, Donnelly said that he didn’t imagine this would be a problem.  “When we started rolling out the windows EPOS systems to the stores, which were touch screen, it was very noticeable that the older staff in the shops picked up the new system far faster than the younger generation. It’s all hand/eye coordination and nothing to do with the keyboard. The younger generation had been up to now really focused on the keyboard and they knew where everything was whereas older generations had found that a struggle. I have no doubts that it will be taken on well by all generations but especially the older one.”

The only drawback to using a mobile device such as the iPad for business purposes is the reliance on broadband which can be patchy in some areas of the country. Donnelly agrees that this is a consideration.  “We have all experienced interruptions when looking at YouTube but when running a business you can’t afford for that to happen. I think the infrastructure will come along by the time everything else has migrated to the cloud even in the most remote areas.”

According to Donnelly, it was Stephen O’Riordan, Londis CEO’s idea. “About three weeks ago we launched our e- brochure with key products and promotions. We were piloting iPads for our sales team and Stephen was sitting with the brochure here and tapping products and ordering them on ISIS and that was it, the nirvana moment hit. We only had two weeks to the conference and thankfully we pulled it together.”

“We made a decision about five years ago that all of our future developments would be based on the web as opposed to the store EPOS systems and luckily Steve Jobs came along with a device that really empowered that decision.”

 

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