In the UK, the largest trading sector for co-operatives is retail. There are 416 retail co-operatives trading in the UK, with a combined turnover of £26.1bn – the largest include John Lewis, The Co-operative Group, Midcounties Co-operative and Central England Co-operative.
The UK also has 325 community shops, owned by 55,000 members. Internationally, the top 20 retail co-operatives produce more than $385bn in income, while of the top 300 co-operatives in the world, 17% are in wholesale and retail.
Retail is a big business. For co-operatives in this sector, balancing the values, principles and ethics of the co-op model while operating as a viable business in a competitive market brings its own set of challenges. Technology is increasingly being used to address some of these challenges in innovative ways that benefit members – whether financially through competitive pricing and dividends, or through upholding the co-operative principles on their behalf.
What innovations are out there for retailers? How can co-ops best implement them? Over the next 12 months, Co-operative News will be working with Dublin-based technology company, Celtech Software to explore this very question, using our Retail Innovation Hub to look at mobile technology and media innovation, as well as online shopping, sustainability issues and more.
￼￼￼At a glance…who is Celtech?
Celtech is a retail technology company based in Dublin’s own Silicon Valley – East Point Technology Park. Founded in 1992, it helps retail organisations improve efficiency and performance through consultancy, hardware and IT services.
Celtech recently signed up to work with Radstock Co-operative Society on its operational systems, having previously worked with East of England Co-op and Chelmsford Star.
The organisation has recently enhanced its co-operative understanding with the appointment of Steve Bentley as product consultant for the UK market. He will be responsible for looking after product interaction with Celtech’s customer base, and joins them from East of England, where he was application development manager.
Can real-time data help co-ops better engage with customers?
Celtech’s signature solution is the pioneering ab-initio – the world’s first retail system that gives retailers total visibility over stock, sales and cash reporting in real-time.
For retailers, it provides analytics of sales, operations and finance and enables more efficient store management including inventory management and order review.
For customers, it facilitates click and collect services, digital receipts and marketing initiatives like personalised coupons and loyalty rewards.
Celtech is currently working on developing a new version of ab-initio, focusing on omni-channel customer engagement and mobility.
- More from the Retail Innovation Hub at www.thenews.coop/retailinnovation
- Full information about Celtech and the ab-initio retail system at www.celtechgroup.com
In this article
- Celtech Software
- Central England Co-operative
- John Lewis
- Midcounties Co-operative
- mobile technology
- Radstock Co-operative Society
- retail organisations
- retail technology
- Steve Bentley
- The Co-operative
- The Co-operative Travel
- United Kingdom
- North America
- United Kingdom
- Top Stories
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