Derek O’Carroll Chief Executive
WHAT DOES YOUR COMPANY DO?
Brightpearl automates the back office functions for retailers. We save retailers the time spent on monotonous tasks, from taking an order, checking stock, deciding where the order will be fulfilled from, to creating financial accounts. So, with the time saved they can shift their focus and concentrate on growth activities like telling their brand story or sourcing new products.
WHAT IS YOUR USP?
As Brightpearl is built specifically for the retail sector and is simple to use, our product does not require a dedicated administrator, saving our customers valuable resources. Retailers can get setup on Brightpearl much faster than a regular ERP (enterprise resource planning) system and we’re much more cost effective. Customer-driven, we regularly update and improve Brightpearl to keep up with the evolving demands within the retail sector, and to support our customers’ experience and growth. Recently we upgraded our connectors to marketplaces and third-party platforms including Shopify and Magento, which are built for resilience and high performance. Important for our customers who go big on Black Friday, or who run regular flash sales.
HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR BUSINESS VISION?
Our vision is to automate the back office for our customers and free up valuable resources so they can use them to focus on growing their business and optimise their margin.
HOW ARE YOU APPROACHING OMNICHANNEL RETAIL?
As technology advances and we continue to innovate, we’ll see the lines between online and physical merge. Today, we serve all the channels that customers buy on, from the web store and marketplaces to in-store. We have an integrated view of the customer, orders and inventory in one single system which gives our customers the ability to offer omnichannel services, whether buying online and returning in store, or buying online and picking up in store. We are heavily investing in supporting the omnichannel retail strategy. Our new POS is a part of that strategy, and there’s plenty more to come this year.
WHAT NEW FUNCTIONALITY DOES THE LATEST VERSION OF YOUR SOFTWARE GIVE TO RETAILERS?
The new Brightpearl iOS POS is available now. Our customers are finding innovative uses for it. It’s already being used in pop up stores, and for selling on the move. It sets Brightpearl free from the wired world.
Automation is a new rules engine within Brightpearl which allows merchants to automate key processes within their business. It’s available now and means that once a customer’s workflow is known and established, they can use a set of rules that allow them to do a lot of the process automatically. In the uncertainty of the pre-Brexit environment, getting margins optimised is going to be crucial, and automation is the way that we help our customers to do that.
In May we’ll be launching our fully integrated warehouse management system which completes the full omnichannel capability.
Every month we make usability improvements and deploy a range of features to the core product. Brightpearl is constantly looking to keep up with the ever-changing retail industry.
HOW DOES THIS COMPARE TO WHAT YOUR COMPETITORS ARE DOING?
We’re pretty unique in the market as we’re the only system that’s 100% cloud-based and automatically does accounting. Brightpearl is very much focused on the retail sector and on mid-sized retailers that handle between $2m and $60m gross merchandise value (GMV). Moreover, Brightpearl is designed to be run by existing staff, and is typically deployed in 30% of the time of an enterprise-class system.
WHO ARE YOUR CUSTOMERS?
We have just over 1,200 customers globally, with about 30% in the United States and North America, 50% in the UK and 10% from other countries including Australia, the Nordics, Ireland, Middle East and South Africa. We have customers across many sectors including fashion and footwear, home and garden, cosmetics and sporting goods.
HOW DO YOU SEE INDEPENDENT RETAILERS PERFORMING IN CONTRAST TO BIG BOX RETAILERS?
If you’re an independent retailer and you sell niche products - you’re at an advantage. Consumers today want individual, niche, high-quality products that are manufactured in the country of origin. However, in order to compete, retailers must optimise their operations. I think that today’s innovative technologies really empower those mid-sized independent retailers to gain the same competitive advantage as big box retailers.
WHAT DO YOU SEE AS THE CHALLENGES OF THE COMING YEAR AND WHAT ARE YOU DOING TO MEET THOSE CHALLENGES?
The biggest challenge for retailers today is meeting customers’ expectations as companies like Amazon have trained them to expect an extremely high level of service and fulfillment. The customer journey has also evolved and consumers now have omnichannel expectations, so they expect to be treated the same way whether they walk through a store or buy online.
Retailers are facing a lot of uncertainty, particularly as a result of Brexit but also around likely changes in US sales tax, so they must be able to adapt quickly and have their back office running efficiently in order to maintain margins.
We’ve built a system that allows retailers to get complete visibility of inventory and cash in real time, irrespective of where consumers buy. We are investing $4.5m in omnichannel capabilities alone this year – including in our new POS system. We have a big warehousing module coming, and retail automation is a big focus area. All these things will allow our customers to meet buyer expectations and succeed in the uncertain times ahead.