BE‑terna | Creating Life-Long Customers | Rico Hänel

Rico Hänel

Managing Director

Large retailers are grappling with debt, over-saturation, and fierce online competition. Unfortunately, the same struggles also apply to smaller retail businesses. There are multiple challenges in the retail industry in today’s world. Still, at the end of it, it comes down to how to keep the customers satisfied and coming back while navigating through issues like supply chain problems, having the right product at the right place at the right time, and maintaining profitability in a never-ending pricing competition. BE-terna can address these challenges with a back-end system that offers a unified view of the business operations and modules that utilize artificial intelligence to predict demand, optimize the supply chain and provide high-end personalization for customers.

The BE-terna group is one of Europe’s leading providers of ERP, BI, CRM, and HRM solutions, offering full-service business software and business process management solutions. Their customers include global corporations and innovative SMEs looking to deploy modern business software solutions to gain and maintain a strategic competitive edge.

Over 1100 employees in Europe support more than 1650 successful, mainly international manufacturing companies and commercial enterprises. As a Microsoft Gold Certified Partner and Infor Gold Channel Partner, BE-terna is recognized and certified in all its core fields. This is proof of the BE-terna consulting and development teams’ outstanding expertise in developing and implementing software in line with Microsoft’s and Infor’s guidelines. Moreover, BE-terna is a certified partner for Qlik BI solutions.

Customer Loyalty

With BE-terna solutions, clients can create lifelong customers by delivering a smooth end-to-end journey, from awareness campaigns and loyalty programs to on-time delivery and always-on customer service. Step number one is having a golden record. With multiple connected systems and touchpoints, retailers generate massive amounts of information that must be processed, verified, and then utilized by the retailer to make decisions. This is a prerequisite to communicating with clients most efficiently and accurately. “Next up is driving your marketing campaigns in a personalized manner, where each customer feels like you know them and understand their needs,” explains Rico Hänel, Managing Director at BE-terna and responsible for the Retail and Commerce unit. “It used to be very difficult to execute, but today, with artificial intelligence and marketing automation tools, it has never been easier. Once you have succeeded in getting your customer to convert, it is imperative to provide constant insight into the status of their order, give them updates (whether it be via email or SMS), and then finally, make it easy for them to return the purchase if they are dissatisfied. It comes to constantly thinking about the consumer journey and how the client can simplify it for their end user. This will keep the interconnected loop of the consumer journey truly endless.”

In the past, having a decent back-end system was enough to thrive, but in today’s environment, retailers need a lot more to succeed. While BE-terna provides a specialized back-end system optimized for the retail and fashion industry, it is no longer enough to offer a competitive advantage. That is why, through BE-terna’s extensive expertise in the company, they also can deliver a front-end experience (from the webshop, POS system to apps) that is seamlessly connected to the back end as mentioned above system, marketing automation tools, and last but not least, tools that utilize machine learning to optimize operations from both customer perspective, and supply chain perspective. With all of this, BE-terna can cover the end-2-end process of a retailer. “This way, we can be a one-stop shop destination, building long-lasting relationships with our clients and living with them throughout the never-ending digitization journey. We learn with our clients, and continuously update our offering, as the retail industry is constantly changing,” adds Rico.

Helping Retailers Drive their Business

BE-terna doesn’t engage in ex-cathedra consulting nor believes that AI solutions can deliver value out of the box. The company sees this approach as its unique value proposition. So, on top of the solution and its functionalities, they engage with customers heavily in two activities that they see as crucial for project success:

The company understands all customer specifics in supply chain planning to embed them into its solution. All those specifics are to what they refer to as “domain knowledge” that ML algorithms lack themselves

They work with people who utilize this solution through various hyper care workshops where they make sure they interpret the results the platform gives them to end users but also take feedback end users to give them into account and “feed” a system with this feedback. This has shown BE-terna to be probably the single most crucial component project-wise that increases the probability of making the project successful.

In discussions with customers, the BE-terna team has come to realize that all challenges within the supply chain business can sum up to:

  1. stock-out situations, which usually result in lost revenue or market share,
  2. overstock situations which are dead cash, usually resulting in high discounting to sell goods; and
  3. massive manual effort across various departments to support such a planning process. What the company does with customers is improve all three. One of the best examples can be found in BE-terna’s case study with a pharmaceutical whole sales organization where they managed to lower stock level by 25-65% depending on which category we were analyzing while at the same time eliminating stock-out situations for more than 90%. In addition to those stats, customers stated that their 10-people purchase team is now spending 50% less time on end-to-end planning.

BE-terna is focusing on leveraging those opportunities and staying ahead of the game. They are working on developing a solution for pricing and markdowns optimization, as BE-terna believes these price wars between retailers are not going away, so to stay competitive and to be able to make faster decisions, everyone will have to start thinking outside of the box on how to drive promotions while protecting profitability.

BE-terna has recently been acquired by Telefónica Tech and is working through product synergies they can offer to their existing and new clients. “One of Telefónica Tech’s biggest strengths is Cyber Security, and we are excited to be able to offer those services to our clients soon. Regarding Cyber Security in today’s environment, it is not a question whether you will get attacked, but when,” elucidates Rico. “When considering what kind of data all retailers store, cyber security is paramount to make their end consumers feel safe.”

we can be a one-stop shop destination, building long-lasting relationships with our clients and living with them throughout the never-ending digitization journey.

Rico Hänel

Managing Director