Notes from the 2019 Aptos Engage User Conference: A Parade of Devoted Customers
The Coresight Research team attended Aptos‘ fourth annual ENGAGE user conference, held in Orlando Florida. Here are a few key takeaways from the event:
- The current retail environment was characterized as “tough out there,” with retailers facing a host of challenges from inside and outside the industry, but modernization is being held back by lackluster capital spending.
- The featured guest was the company’s Aptos ONE platform, a software platform that provides nearly all the functions a retailer needs, in a modular configuration comprising microservices for the various functions.
- The event included testimonials from customers such as Ross Stores, WSS, Tapestry, Cole Haan, The Art of Shaving, The Vitamin Shoppe, Michael Kors, Buckle, and many more. Every customer lauded improvement from using Aptos ONE.
- Aptos ONE, the successor to prior, more monolithic software packages, was designed from the ground up to be cloud native, omnichannel native, mobile first and flexible. The company stressed that users could continue to run prior packages such as the Store platform with Aptos ONE.
Coresight Research’s Take
Aptos appears to be taking a novel approach through its cloud-based, emerging Aptos ONE platform, which offers a multitude of functions and services retailers need. The company takes a unique approach in its sole focus on retail, compared to generic enterprise-software companies that attempt to customize a single offering for many verticals.
The cloud-based platform also enables retailers to get up and running faster, and the modular form of the microservices in Aptos ONE lets customers select only the modules they need, which can be updated more frequently due to their smaller size. Aptos has built a devoted customer base, and their enthusiastic testimonials created an upbeat conference.
The 2019 Aptos ENGAGE Conference
Aptos held its fourth annual ENGAGE user conference from April 29 to May 2, 2019, in Orlando, Florida, attended by more than 350 people. The theme of this year’s conference was Retail Unlimited. The company changed the format of this year’s conference, focusing on customer testimonials rather than a series of management presentations.
Noel Goggin, Aptos’ CEO and Culture Leader, kicked off his keynote describing the “Aptos Way” as having a pioneering spirit, a sense of community and being authentic. Since its creation four years ago, Aptos has expanded to more than 1,370 employees in 17 offices, serving more than 1,000 brands in 65 countries.
Goggin described the current environment in retail as “being tough out there,” due to several challenges illustrated below.
Goggin reiterated the guiding principles in Aptos’ strategy:
- A focus on retail through the company’s singular retail strategy.
- Emphasizing agility and living in the cloud.
- Global growth and expansion.
- Acquisition of talent.
- Disruptive innovation.
Retail needs to transform, via the following points:
- Building a customer-centric journey.
- Offering holistic customer experiences.
- Reinventing the store.
- Engaging in customer-centric merchandising.
- Creating an omnichannel-native supply chain.
- Using modernized, flexible technology.
Aptos believes it is accelerating retail transformation with its end-to-end retail offering, which includes:
- Omnichannel expertise with enterprise order management (EOM).
- Retail’s only end-to-end merchandise lifecycle management solution.
- Aptos ONE, an innovation path to the future.
Aptos offered presentations from clients using Aptos solutions, including the following:
- The Art of Shaving (a division of Procter & Gamble): The company stood up its own technology systems via Aptos, separate from the P&G supply chain, to become more agile in the direct-to-consumer channel.
- Cole Haan: Implemented store-to-store fulfillment in 2017, followed by ship from warehouse and ship from store in 2018. The project paid for itself in less than a year. This brand runs Aptos systems for point of sale, CRM, order management and others.
- Finish Line: With Aptos Merchandise Financial Planning, the company upgraded from an Excel-based system to one in which buyers and planners work together to achieve “right product, right place, right plans.”
- Michael Kors: A premier customer for Aptos ONE.
- Ross Stores: Implementing point-of-sale (POS) software.
- Tapestry: Implemented omnichannel shop from store, pickup in store, a marketplace and an endless aisle.
- WSS: Implemented Aptos’ end-to-end technology suite, including Store, EOM, CRM, Aptos Digital Commerce (ADC), retail analytics, and merchandising. The company saw its omnichannel sales increase 525% year over year.
- The Vitamin Shoppe: This retailer leverages Aptos solutions, including Store and CRM, and recently rolled out a new nationwide loyalty program. The Vitamin Shoppe will now pilot Aptos ONE to augment and extend its existing Aptos Store capabilities.
Other customers mentioned included Nike, Sephora, Tommy Bahama, and a large European retailer (for Aptos ONE).
The graph below shows increases in omnichannel revenue achieved by Aptos customers after installing its solutions. In the graph, the omni segment on the left-hand side is expended on the right-hand side and broken down by omnichannel category.
About Aptos ONE
Aptos describes its ONE platform in the following terms:
- It is a retail-specific cloud platform that has been designed from the ground up to be cloud-native, omnichannel-native, mobile-first, extendible and flexible.
- It is also a microservices-based platform that retailers that can use to move faster, to enable differentiating experiences and to innovate. (Microservices are smaller software modules that can be combined and upgraded without requiring the installation and testing of the entire platform.)
- The company first focused on commerce experiences, with an emphasis on store commerce, and intends to use ONE as its platform of the future.
The diagram below illustrates how Aptos views the consumer, employee and partner experiences, microservices offered, and the foundational platforms in Aptos ONE.
Aptos (formerly Epicor Retail Solutions) was spun off from Epicor Corporation and launched officially on June 17, 2015. Its mission was to unify and streamline complex omnichannel environments and operations, and to deliver exceptional, consistent experiences to customers no matter when, where, and how they choose to shop.
Aptos is owned by Apax Partners, one of the world’s leading private equity investment groups. Aptos has nearly $300 million in annual revenue, according to CrunchBase.
On October 3, 2017 Aptos completed the acquisition of TXT Retail, which it termed the leading global provider of end-to-end merchandise lifecycle management solutions for the apparel, luxury, specialty and general retail sectors, for an undisclosed amount. TXT Retail had an estimated $40 million in annual revenues.
The figure below shows Aptos’ evolution.