Before Monday’s Benelux Digital Enterprise Virtual Festival, we grabbed some time with one of our Keynote speakers, Ohad Elzur, Head Of Store & Promotion Technology at A.S Watson.
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DEF – As Head of Store & Promotion Technology, what does a typical day look like for you?
Ohad – As my role is global, the day starts with emails and meetings related to the activity in Asia. Around noon time, I switch to EU. I spend most of my time in meetings related to my area of responsibility. Every day, I make sure we progress with our roadmap, from functional and system-architecture perspectives.
DEF – What are the biggest challenges around Retail Innovation currently & how can organizations better manage the balance between customer experience, data privacy & data security?
Ohad – The biggest challenge is COVID – stores getting closed, lockdown keeps people away from the office. Yet, despite the situation we do have few innovations which are either live or are in the process of going live in 2021.
As for balancing between experience, security and privacy, the way we work is that we pre-audit every innovation so that it will be ‘secured by design’. We do the same in regards to privacy.
DEF – Retail businesses have been some of the most affected companies by the covid19 crisis. Can you explain in your own experience, the impact of the current pandemic at A.S Watson?
Ohad – We are indeed impacted, like any other retailer. Luckily for us, we have different segments under the umbrella of ASW – our supermarkets in HK are performing above expectations from one side, while our Luxury BUs (like Marionnaud Group) is suffering from stores being closed. So overall as a Group, we didn’t reach our target in 2020 BUT we were still profitable.
DEF – Which technologies have had the biggest positive impact at ASW recently? What examples can you share?
Ohad – From COVID perspective, the most important point was that we were able to keep all our websites up and running despite the significant growth in traffic. This means that we now excel in regards to cloud strategy and operation.
DEF – Regarding “Store Technology”, what are the main objectives when trying to implement new pilots & ideas which will hopefully be rolled out?
Ohad – Every new idea have 3 main objectives: better for our customers, better for our store-staff and better for our company. We then define specific KPIs under these 3 main objectives.
DEF – Being at the forefront of emerging tech & having access to the latest industry solutions, which tech excites you for the year ahead?
Ohad – I’m very existed about edge computing which will allow us to do more within the store. It will help to simplify the architecture from one side and will reduce IOT/store-infra costs from the other side.
DEF – You will be presenting at our Benelux Digital Enterprise Virtual Fest on the 19th & 20th April, live on Airmeet. What will the attending executives learn from your talk?
Ohad – I hope they will learn:
- How to embed innovation into day to day way of working
- How keep innovation as a continues lifecycle
- What to focus on when you innovate in retail
Great interview Ohad, we look forward to your session on Monday!
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