PROFILE

Oliver Guy

Global Industry Architect, Microsoft Retail

Oliver Guy is a Global Solution Architect at Microsoft. An advisor to companies and leaders seeking to innovate and compete more effectively, Oliver has significant experience in digital transformation and technology strategy.

With over 25 years in technology Oliver has worked with the biggest names in retail and consumer goods across Europe, North America and Asia Pacific. Deep experience in supply chain, omni-channel strategy and optimization enables Oliver to provide broad and creative insight on how data can drive incremental value through both optimization and transformation of the enterprise.

Prior to Microsoft, Oliver worked for Software AG where he led retail Industry Strategy.

Before that Oliver was part of the European Management team at Oracle Retail — his team being responsible for Retail focused Solution Consulting across Europe.

Before that, Oliver worked for Infor in a Solution Consulting role. Oliver started his technology career implementing supply chain optimization solutions at Manugistics – now part of Blue Yonder – for customers Europe and Asia Pacific.

To learn more, visit: microsoft.com/en-us/industry/retail/microsoft-cloud-for-retail

Oliver Guy is a Global Industry Architect at Microsoft. An advisor to companies and leaders seeking to innovate and compete more effectively, Oliver has significant experience in digital transformation and technology strategy. With over 25 years in technology Oliver has worked with the biggest names in retail and consumer goods across Europe, North America and Asia Pacific. Deep experience in supply chain, omni-channel strategy and optimization enables Oliver to provide broad and creative insight on how data can drive incremental value through both optimization and transformation of the enterprise. Prior to Microsoft, Oliver worked for Software AG where he led retail Industry Strategy. Before that Oliver was part of the European Management team at Oracle Retail – his team being responsible for Retail focused Solution Consulting across Europe. Before that, Oliver worked for Infor in a Solution Consulting role. Oliver started his technology career implementing supply chain optimization solutions at Manugistics - now part of Blue Yonder - for customers Europe and Asia Pacific. Any views represented here are exclusively my own.
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  • Posted on: 08/15/2022

    Is inflation transforming dollar stores into bigger grocery destinations?

    This could well be a large driver for dollar stores and similar. Especially so with consumers who are "time rich, cash poor" -- they may buy what they can from Dollar stores and then fill "the gaps" from regular grocery stores. A similar phenomena happened in the UK grocery market circa 2008-2009. Shoppers went to discount grocers (Aldi/Lidl) and then filled gaps at other supermarkets. This resulted in significant increase in overall wallet share for the discounters.
  • Posted on: 08/15/2022

    Can a grocery store teach its customers to love to cook?

    This is an amazing initiative. Few of us, or our children, were taught to cook at school and the advent of convenience foods means that skills become more and more scarce. People are sometime scared to experiment -- anything that encourages people to cook -- seeing it is easier than they thought is good. Could it catch on? Possibly if the financial benefits are highlighted -- cooking yourself is so much cheaper than alternatives. Consider aligning this with weekly menu planning that drives a shopping list will help consumers with their spending. In uncertain times this could be a big fan winner.
  • Posted on: 08/15/2022

    More consumers are developing the subscription box habit. Retailers should too.

    There are benefits of subscription boxes that are not called out enough. For example, in efforts to be sustainable, a fruit and vegetable box could be focused on the current "in-season" products sourced from the shortest distance/with the lowest planet impact. We have all got used to having whatever fruit and vegetables we like at any time of the year -- with little thought for where it comes from or how it is grown. Consumers may need a little help though with recipe ideas on how to best use vegetables they are less used to!
  • Posted on: 07/25/2022

    When will supply chains return to normal?

    Supply chains are restructuring right now, so this is a tough one. Previously they were designed to be lean and to leverage a global footprint. Increased disruption due to geopolitical events, increased cost of transportation and other factors are forcing a re-think. Supply chains need to become more agile -- resilient to disruption and more responsive, but at the same time become more sustainable because consumers now expect this. These changes are likely to take quite some time, however, key places where disruption forces are taking place are already having an impact. For example, with concern in Africa regarding food supplies from Ukraine, African corporations are investing in local food production, thus shortening the supply chain.
  • Posted on: 07/25/2022

    Are digital-only coupons discriminatory against the elderly and poor?

    This is a conversation I have been having with older relatives for quite some time. The potential of non-inclusive nature expands across many areas -- train tickets, car parking and even allergen menus in restaurants now often require a smartphone for access. In addition, I have also seen in-store technology that multiple generations struggle to use -- perhaps with those older than "digital natives" finding things most difficult. When this is your core audience, this has potential issues in terms of adoption, revenue and take-up. Promotions are often measured based on rate of redemption -- measuring this based on target demographic could well highlight where issues need to be addressed.
  • Posted on: 07/22/2022

    Is Amazon on the verge of reinventing American healthcare?

    Amazon specialize in eliminating friction. They must have identified an area of friction - and hence untapped profit - in order to be focusing in this area. Certainly consumers desire easy to access healthcare and a retail setting for this is ideal.
  • Posted on: 07/22/2022

    Are Millennials the reason that inflation is so high?

    Millennials being responsible for inflation is an interesting theory - not one I had heard before. The three biggest drivers of inflation are:
    • The war in Ukraine - impacting food and energy prices;
    • Supply chain shortages as a result of coming out of the pandemic - this is shown by high used car prices;
    • Money in the system as a result of the pandemic - both savings that households made but also money pumped into economies in the form of loans and grants by governments.
  • Posted on: 07/15/2022

    When did Walgreens’ associates become the contraceptive police?

    I have been doing research this week about self-service retail - self check-out and other technologies. This story is a fascinating read with that perspective in mind. Some customers may well avoid retailers after having this kind of experience. However it also may improve adoption of technology by some customers.
  • Posted on: 07/15/2022

    Are grocers giving frontline heroes their due?

    Given all that front-line retail workers did during the pandemic and beyond this is very appropriate. I love this initiative. It's a great way to improve employee loyalty. One thing that front-line workers have is the ability to solve problems for customers but also solve operational problems within the store itself. This is not always as well acknowledged as it should be so this is great to hear.
  • Posted on: 07/05/2022

    Will Amazon’s grab-and-go tech elevate store analytics?

    This is an awesome idea to lift the capabilities from Just Walk Out and apply them in a "light" version for different purposes. Privacy is always a fascinating concern for me in retail stores because cameras have existed there for security reasons for decades - albeit with a human watching the screen. What will be interesting is who keeps and uses the traffic data - Amazon or the retailer - and who has the rights to sell it to consumer goods companies.
  • Posted on: 06/28/2022

    Kellogg thinks it makes more sense apart than together

    This surprised me in a big way. When Gillette merged with P&G, analysts speculated it was because together they were more able to resist price squeezing from the likes of Walmart. Equally having one sales person visit a retailer (verses 2 or 3 in the new world of Kellogg's) saves time, money and resources -- arguably on both sides of the fence -- notwithstanding the fact that they could be meeting different category managers inside the retailer.
  • Posted on: 06/28/2022

    Are outsized private label gains in grocery a foregone conclusion?

    This will be interesting to watch. In the UK grocery market own brands tend to make up 40% of sales by value -- compared to 20% in the US. The US grocers potentially have a big opportunity for growth -- and with it margin capture. Given that families in developed economies are facing a cost of living squeeze, it could be a good time for own brands -- many commentators on household budgets highlight the savings that families can make on their food budget by switching to own brands.
  • Posted on: 06/20/2022

    Is Walmart about to launch a new British invasion?

    This will be an interesting one to watch. Certainly pro-Brexit politicians will look to see if initiatives like this can yield political capital. It also may be used as an example to aid discussions around free trade. If this is a longer-term, wider strategy, starting first in the UK may be driven by a perception that they can iron out any issues easier due to a common language.
  • Posted on: 06/20/2022

    Ultra-fast delivery may burn out or fade away

    Fascinating question -- one I had been wondering about given the threat to consumer prices that many western economies are currently facing. As consumers look at cutting back, one area where they may choose to focus is eliminating rapid delivery -- something that needs improved planning. Certainly many online forums focused on saving money focus on diligent meal planning and careful shopping -- where these practices are adopted it could well result in a fall in demand.
  • Posted on: 06/13/2022

    Should retailers charge for curbside pickup?

    This is a tricky one as for some grocers it was offered as a cheaper to operate alternative to delivery -- the logic being that it saves delivery driver time, equipment and fuel. However it still requires labour (or specialised equipment) in order to pick the orders -- something that in theory saves time for the consumer. Because it has been offered for free in the past it may be relevant, when introducing a charge, to highlight additional benefits compared to previously that consumers are attaining.

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