Oliver Guy

Global Industry Director - Retail, Software AG

Specializing in industry strategy, digital transformation and omni-channel technology strategy, Oliver advises companies across the globe on their technology strategy and decisions.

Oliver is an industry strategy specialist with 20 years’ experience driving value for leading technology vendors and their customers across supply chain, operations, channels and digital transformation across all types of retail.
He is an innovative thought leader with a track record of collaboratively defining strategic go-to-market approaches and aligning solution capabilities to market needs to ensure solution relevance.

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Oliver Guy is Global Industry Director at Software AG, specialising in Digital Transformation and unified commerce technology strategy, Oliver advises retailers across the globe on their technology strategy and decisions. With more than 20 years focused in technology, Oliver has worked with major names in global retail helping them improve their business through the use of innovative technology. Prior to joining Software AG, Oliver was part of the European Management team at Oracle Retail – his team being responsible for Retail focused Solution Consulting across Europe. Oliver started his career in technology implementing Supply Chain Planning and Optimisation solutions for customers across multiple industries in both Europe and Asia Pacific with Manugistics (JDA).
  • Posted on: 12/09/2019

    Canada Goose brings snow but no inventory to new concept store

    I absolutely love this. The ultimate in "try before you buy." The model has a lot of benefits in terms of minimizing overall inventory because they can ship to customers from a central inventory location. Given the variety of products and sizes combined with the product value this could be a huge point of saving for the retailer. Difficulties could be around how they deal with the new fulfillment model and ensure customers are kept up to date as to where their product is once ordered.
  • Posted on: 12/06/2019

    Will Rent the Runway‘s hotel concierge deal change how people travel?

    This is amazing. A superb example of a new business model and exploiting a new ecosystem partner relationship. It also has the magic touch of solving a problem the consumer did not know they had. So often a stay at a hotel is paired with an important social engagement so this seems to make absolute sense from a consumer perspective. It also suggests "free and unconstrained thinking" on the part of both parties. Preconceived ideas of what might or might not be possible can sometimes get in the way of innovation - as indeed can technical obstacles. In my experience, eliminating these is key to successful innovation.
  • Posted on: 12/03/2019

    Will 2020 be the year retailers digitally transform their supply chain ops?

    I have dreamed of the autonomous supply chain since 1994 and we are closer than ever but there is still a long way to go. Given advances in terms of predictive analytics, AI and real-time response it feels like it should be really close but the biggest barrier I continue to see is the inability to connect together the multiple data silos that exist across the extended supply chain. The same barrier exists with the concept of "supply chain control towers."
  • Posted on: 12/03/2019

    Why are brands so bad at identity resolution?

    Consumers are demanding consistency across channels and knowing the customer is key to that. But the challenge is, how do you do that without it being perceived as creepy? I feel very much like this has been somewhat of an "elephant in the room" in terms of how do you identify the customer without any concerns about invasiveness? I wonder if encouraging customers to use a single app but also to interact with the app even during a physical interaction can be a way forward.
  • Posted on: 11/26/2019

    Will IoT reinvent the supply chain?

    IoT has huge potential in retail and supply chain is a key area where it can add value quickly. The ability to directly link real-time consumption of product to orders (unattended retail for example) is a potentially quick win to drive up availability and reduce lost sales without increasing inventory. Beyond that the ability to track product and shipments through the supply chain in order to have the insight to make more appropriate decisions around redeployment has huge potential to reduce the impact of delays, reduce fuel costs and increase sales. The difficulty is around connecting so many different types of device and indeed connecting different initiatives/projects together to benefit from the "network effect" of overall insight - something that could well feed into a supply chain control tower of real-time perspective. There is also a huge challenge in terms of linking the devices and insight to the rest of the infrastructure (connecting Information Technology to this operational technology) - hence the reason analysts are predicting that the big cost (around 50 percent) in IoT projects for the next few years will be integration. I have seen so many IoT projects run by retailers over the past few years - but the projects never go anywhere because the business case was not big enough. My perspective is that linking these things together and benefiting from the "network effect" is where things start to get interesting, offering massive insight and potential for new innovations.
  • Posted on: 11/21/2019

    Kroger brings the farm closer to the table

    In a world where consumers are looking at the concept of "food miles" and the environmental impact that their shopping has means this could provide big competitive differentiation for Kroger. Difficulties could well be around meeting all demand over the course of the season - what happens when one store grows too much of X and not enough of Y? Does it get marked down, moved to another store or wasted? This is key to this inititiave being seen as more than just lip service. Beyond that it shows how the definition of being a retailer is becoming more vague - does this mean Kroger are now becoming Farmers? ;-)
  • Posted on: 11/05/2019

    Will a sustainability push drive sales growth for Europe’s largest fashion e-tailer?

    I believe this is going to become a huge point of differentiation for retailers and companies with retail business models from 2020 onwards. Key however is for it to be genuine and not "just lip service." There have been small moves by some retailers along similar lines over the past 10 years but often with little actual progress - suggesting it could well have been just a marketing gimmick.
  • Posted on: 11/04/2019

    Should McDonald’s CEO have been fired over a ‘consensual relationship’?

    It is fascinating what a high profile impact this has made in the news. Why does it have such a high profile? Is it because McDonald's are unusual in their approach with regard to rules? Or could it be that they are unusual in actually enforcing the rules that they lay down? The reality is that, irrespective of industry, many of us are aware of such relationships existing at someplace or other, at some time or other with little or no consequences - despite any rules, guidelines or code of conduct being in place.
  • Posted on: 10/31/2019

    McDonald’s drive-thru AI knows what you want before you order

    This is the ultimate example of a customer announcing their presence at the store as they arrive - so why not? What would be interesting is if it considers time of the day and varies things based on this. There is also the possibility to count the number of people in the car and adjust accordingly. Given the smaller number of choices it potentially offers the opportunity of being better than an equivalent approach for an online grocery order.
  • Posted on: 10/25/2019

    Free next-day shipping hits Amazon in its bottom line

    The one-day shipping from Amazon is almost too easy. It creates a huge expectation in the eyes of the consumer and others have to follow suit. In the long term I question how sustainable it is - both financially and environmentally - mumblings are starting already about the environmental impact of these deliveries. At some stage consumers are going to start thinking about it. Many might argue that Amazon and others have a duty of care to highlight the overall impact of one-day delivery versus alternatives. Perhaps retailers need to start offering discounts to customers who choose not to have it delivered inside a day. I have had these discussions with customers who have actually said they would like to do this but there have been "system constraints" stopping them.
  • Posted on: 10/24/2019

    Will Nike’s new CEO accelerate its consumer-direct digital transformation?

    Nike have to be looking at accelerating their direct-to-consumer sales approaches alongside approaches that require a smaller margin. In addition to their own flagship stores the brand is so strong that the opportunity to use new ecosystem channels is huge. New competition in many sports retail markets - Decathlon for example, who have their own branded products, makes things very different from how they were 10 years ago. Many of the larger sports retailers have similar private labels offering a potentially similar quality product at a lower price - Nike may well want to avoid their products being placed alongside those in retail stores.
  • Posted on: 10/21/2019

    Should Amazon be charging for ‘curated’ toy guide placements?

    Amazon potentially has the data in order to help these adverts reach the optimal audience -- so even if there is paid placement going on, one would hope that the element of context is still in use. Consequently this could become a win-win for Amazon (monetizing data) and the toy company. What will be interesting will be if we start to hear calls for Amazon to make the payments made much clearer to consumers in the way that Google highlights sponsored search results.
  • Posted on: 10/18/2019

    Have Giant Food and Stop & Shop nailed ‘frictionless’ checkouts?

    I see a few grocers investing in this type of approach. It offers some interesting possibilities like wayfinding in store and other value add things for both consumer and retailer. I perceive that adoption is not helped by a couple of factors - 1.) that these apps consume battery capacity (we all suffer from smartphone battery anxiety from time to time); 2.) the awkwardness of using a phone to scan and the risk of dropping it because you could also be pushing a shopping cart/trolley. Contrast in-store "gun-type" scanners that have a simple trigger for scanning to enable easy single-hand use but also the fact that carts/trolleys are often equipped with holders so shoppers have can use two hands to push the cart/trolley.
  • Posted on: 10/17/2019

    Is e-grocery less convenient than shopping in stores?

    As a consumer, one of the most frustrating things about online grocery ordering (our family has been doing groceries online every week for over eight years) is finding product. Entering a search term can of bring up some bizarre options. This only adds to the length of time it takes. Improving this has to be one of the first steps, but what surprises me is that despite advances in search technology and AI the improvements have been slow in coming.
  • Posted on: 10/08/2019

    Are legacy CPG brands just naturally digitally-challenged?

    Any business that has been around 100 years largely unchanged is going to struggle with digital business models. We see this in retail and CPG but many other businesses too. Infrastructure, culture, processes and IT are quite literally "hard coded" into the business. We have seen companies attempt to become digital through acquisition (Unilever buying Dollar Shave Club and Walmart buying Bonobos, for example) but few organizations have managed to take the overall "package of intellectual property and cultural approach" and successfully apply it to other elements of their business. This remains a challenge for companies going forward. There are no silver bullets.

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