Hudson News: Simplify, Optimize, Personalize Sales

Deployment during pandemic shows flexibility and performance of platform and Intel® technologies from edge to cloud.

Introduction

Retail is changing fast. Some changes are practical, driven by issues such as outdated operating systems and hardware. Other changes are aspirational, as retailers adopt new strategies and services to keep pace with the competition, increase efficiency, and adapt to emerging consumer demands. Whatever their motivations, retailers want flexible and scalable solutions they can deploy now, when margins are tight, and optimize over time as their businesses and the retail landscape continue to evolve.

Flooid, a leading retail commerce software provider, has developed an agile platform used by more than 150 major retailers in over 60 countries to give consumers a consistent basket and pricing experience across online, mobile, and in-store experiences. As demonstrated in a recent deployment for the USD 2 billion travel retailer Hudson, the Flooid platform integrates easily with existing store hardware or can be hosted on edge devices and in the cloud. As an Intel partner, Flooid works with Intel on retail strategy and vision, in addition to relying on the performance and stability of Intel-based technologies for many deployments.

Flooid Provides Unified Platform for 1,000 Hudson Stores

Hudson began deploying the Flooid platform in early 2020, just before the COVID-19 pandemic struck North America. By October—five months earlier than expected—the retail giant had successfully installed the platform across more than 2,000 point-of-sale (POS) systems and nearly 1,000 duty-paid shops in the US and Canada.

Before implementing the Flooid platform, Hudson relied on a variety of ad hoc technologies to run its POS, finance, inventory, logistics, and other operations. As part of its company-wide digital transformation, the retailer turned to Flooid, which under its former name of PCMS has decades of experience implementing POS systems. Hudson also wanted a unified platform that would provide a single view of all activity and support future e-commerce initiatives, including mobile.

“Clearly, the software delivers all the features and functionality we need for a retailer as diverse and complex as Hudson to function. That’s remarkable, because we basically run almost every retail format you can think of as a traveler, from travel convenience to specialty retail, which includes proprietary book and tech stores, to duty-free shops and food and beverage concessions, and we do it in the most diverse and demanding business and regulatory environment you can find in North American retail.” Jordi Martin-Consuegra, EVP, chief administrative officer and deputy CEO at Hudson

“It is hard to find companies both robust enough to support you through years of evolution and growth, and nimble enough to move as fast as the demands of the travel retail market we serve,” said Jordi Martin-Consuegra, EVP, chief administrative officer and deputy CEO at Hudson. “Flooid strikes the right balance, because they have good technology, but above all the foresight and flexibility to adapt to us as a customer and find those mutual compromises that any good partnership needs to succeed.”

Hudson chose the Flooid platform not only to have a strong point-of-sale solution but also to have a single technology platform that enables the company to sell through multiple digital and physical channels and agilely create and implement new business models that drive sales and meet changing retail trends and customer shopping habits. This includes everything from how customers transact with Hudson, to what products they carry, to store design, to the way Hudson collaborates with its partners on technology.

Flooid integrates easily with everything from SAP software to customer cellphones to online marketplaces, and the platform has the flexibility to support traditional cash registers, self-checkout stations, scan-and-pay from cellphones, a mobile POS, and more.

Martin-Consuegra said, “Clearly, the software delivers all the features and functionality we need for a retailer as diverse and complex as Hudson to function. That’s remarkable, because we basically run almost every retail format you can think of as a traveler, from travel convenience to specialty retail, which includes proprietary book and tech stores, to duty-free shops and food and beverage concessions, and we do it in the most diverse and demanding business and regulatory environment you can find in North American retail.”

The value of having a robust and agile platform became especially apparent in the midst of the pandemic, when Hudson recognized the need for vending machines in airports and other locations to safely dispense personal protection equipment (PPE) such as hand sanitizer and face masks. The Flooid platform was quickly adapted for the vending machines, enabling self-checkout and contactless mobile payments.

“Intel’s role in retail is not just as a provider of silicon product and technologies that will enable the silicon to be effective. We bring market understanding and guidance, as well as vision and future thinking to our partners. We believe that helps solution providers like Flooid to enable customers like Hudson to achieve the results they have.” —Joe Jensen, VP, Intel IoT Group and GM for Retail, Banking, Hospitality, and Education

“We were able to implement vending machines across 27 airports in North America in the middle of the pandemic within three weeks. The fact that we have a unified technology allows us to use the same processes in terms of pricing, assortment, promotions, taxes, etcetera. We only have to deploy once and then we can execute through multiple channels,” said Martin-Consuegra.1

Intel Support, from Edge to Cloud

As an Intel partner, Flooid works with Intel to develop deep insights into the retail market and the latest strategies. Those insights in turn help Flooid guide clients like Hudson through their digital transformations.

“Intel’s role in retail is not just as a provider of silicon product and technologies that will enable the silicon to be effective,” said Joe Jensen, VP of Intel’s Internet of Things Group and general manager for Retail, Banking, Hospitality and Education. “We bring market understanding and guidance, as well as vision and future thinking, to our partners. We believe that helps solution providers like Flooid to enable customers like Hudson to achieve the results they have.”1

The Flooid platform is an open, technology-agnostic system that benefits from programs like the Open Retail Initiative, a collaborative effort led by Intel and top technology companies to accelerate the scalable deployment of data-rich solutions optimized for physical retail, from the edge to the cloud.

Flooid’s retail clients can choose on-premises, edge, or cloud deployments, depending on their needs. Traditionally, retailers have relied on large in-store servers to support operations, but many are now moving to smaller edge devices like Intel® NUC Mini PCs. By leveraging edge and cloud technologies together, retailers can scale workloads as needed. Edge devices provide nimbleness to react to new demands and the cloud provides support for omnichannel capabilities and global trend insights.

Whichever hardware they choose for deployments from edge to cloud, the portfolio of Intel technologies gives retailers the fast, reliable performance they need to support data-rich operations today and to scale as needed in the future.

Giving Retailers More Flexibility and Control

The rapid and highly successful Hudson deployment in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic demonstrates the flexibility of the Flooid platform, which can help retailers sell through multiple digital and physical channels today and implement new business models as consumer and market demands evolve. Whether businesses choose to host the Flooid platform in data centers, at the edge, or in the cloud, with Intel-based solutions, they can achieve the high performance and reliability they need to grow.

Flooid Tools Give Retailers Room to Grow

The Flooid platform features multiple tools that Hudson and other retailers can choose from, both for the initial deployment and over time as their business needs change. These tools include:

Flooid App Suite
More than 130 million transactions are processed daily by the Flooid App Suite, which includes out-of-the-box tools for POS and mobile POS, self-checkout, inventory, reporting, and more. Hudson implemented many of these applications as part of their deployment.

Flooid Core
Retailers can build their own applications or integrate Flooid with other systems using Flooid Core, making it easy to sell across channels, verticals, and borders.

Flooid Digital
Retailers can use Flooid Digital to merge online, mobile, social, and in-store experiences and create better, more personal customer journeys. Hudson used Flooid Digital to support their vending machine deployment.

Flooid Cloud
With Flooid Cloud, retailers can choose from a variety of cloud providers on a pay-for-what-you-use model.

Flooid ERP
By connecting Flooid to ERP systems, retailers gain more insight into sales, stock, and cash. Flooid ERP also makes it easy to change prices, promotions, and products across stores. Hudson connected multiple back-end systems to Flooid ERP. Raw data is pushed into the Flooid Manager, part of the Flooid App Suite, to transform that data into insights for the POS and other services.

Flooid Managed Services
Flooid offers managed services for databases, endpoints, application middleware, and more. Hudson relies on Flooid to manage the server environment in their data center.

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