Tech: Retail therapy

A little touch of innovation can make shopping at retail outlets less mundane and more fun.
Source: New Straits Times - 25 April 2011

Malik shows how Mydin is benefiting from its technology investments.

SHOPPING for the household is always a chore, especially when it’s during busy hours or the weekends. The time you take to locate the items you need and the long check-out lines could be a tad too long. And the jostling along the crowded aisles with other shoppers can be very stressful.

Imagine if you could do away with all that — have yourself directed to your favourite items promptly, get to know which favourite product is on discount, shown an alternative if it’s not in stock and bust the queue.

This is what Mydin Mohamed Holdings Bhd is working towards. The local retailing and wholesaling giant aims to provide all visitors of its 77 hypermarkets, emporiums, mini markets, convenient shops, franchise stores and bazaars across the country a delightful shopping experience through the help of ICT. “It’s a journey which we began three years ago. It involves what we call the Mydin One System, where we integrate ICT systems into our business strategy with paramount focus on the use of business intelligence".

"This effort would enable us to minimise manual effort and duplication where recurring processes and tasks are concerned, increase sales throughput and velocity, have systemic efficiency for scalability, and give real-time information to appropriate users in the company — the buyers, the marketers,” says IT director Malik Murad Ali.

The technology advantage would provide Mydin with an agile supply chain that allows the organisation and its partners to align themselves to customers’ needs based on real-time data and demand. According to Malik, Mydin is already partially there through partnership with Motorola solutions, where Mydin uses Motorola’s scanners to manage its inventory, from receiving, replenishing, stock taking and managing price.

"For the customers, this means from the moment they step into the store and swipe their loyalty card, we will be able to determine their profile and preferences, provide them with coupons that fit their preferences, and notify them of new things,” says Malik. He adds that with productivity enhanced at every point of the shopping experience (Mydin’s and customer’s end), things can only get better for both parties. With the information that we get from our ICT systems, we can push down the pain points and increase sales while passing further cost savings to customers,” he says.