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How IoT can change in-store / fronts experience for Customers

How IoT can change in-store / fronts experience for Customers
October 03, 2017

Innovation and Enhancing Customer Experience play a major role in driving Sales and its true for the e-Commerce and physical Store / fronts for Retail and CPG Industry. Introducing New Devices and technologies to Customers have become a trend and has started yielding results for all Retail and CPG companies. The customer is now more informed and feels even more empowered. IoT (Internet of Things) can this be the savior of sorts for the Retail and CPG Industry? Will IoT be an overhead or result in business growth? How can Retail and CPG companies benefit from IoT and even increase customer satisfaction. This blog will focus on the impact of IoT on the Retail and CPG Industry.

Customers are now more informed and empowered. How can Retail and CPG companies benefit from IoT and increase CSAT

IoT has been doing wonders in this space. It’s an eye catching word right now and even has started providing useful insights and customer experience in the Retail & CPG arena. However this has also led to a nightmare of sorts for all Retail and CPG companies, which are as follows:

  1. Increasing number of different types of devices and interfaces. These devices and interfaces if not working or does not show the desired results impact customer experience
  2. Volume or number of devices each company has started adopting. The larger the Volume the larger the maintenance and support nightmares.
  3. Different types Messages and feeds generated by these devices and interfaces. What to consume and what not to? How to categorize and act based on the type / nature of the message / feed? What should be automatically processed and should go the manual way? Messages / feeds that is required for day to day operations? A whole lot of decision making is required.
  4. Consumer interfacing devices & interfaces need to be in-sync with central repositories for displaying right kind of information and is up-to date.
  5. How to keep track / maintain of all these new devices and technologies so that Customer experience is not impacted
  6. If these new fancy devices / interfaces goes down or pushes / pulls incorrect information it may even result in getting these high profile companies involved in lawsuits which impacts the Brand value.
  7. Ever Increasing costs of procurement, upgrades, maintenance, supporting infrastructure etc.
  8. Device & Interface rollout / adoption across the business landscape. Non Standard operating model across different regions / countries.

Retail and CPG sector has been betting and building new measures to create unique experience for customers. Following are some of the key primary drivers for Business Growth for all Retail and CPG companies:

  1. New age Internet enabled & Connected devices
  2. Innovation in Technology and Platforms
  3. Range, Reach and Availability of Data
  4. Enhanced Customer Experience
  5. Analytics and Machine Learning

Each one of these above drivers has its own significance and contribute to the growth of Customer base and satisfaction levels. However the question is are we utilizing these key drivers to the utmost potential? Every one answers this question in a big “YES”. However the truth is each and every driver is addressed as a different cost centre and follows its own life cycle with very minimal / limited overlay or interaction with other key drivers.

In order to realise the real power of IoT each and every driver has to be integrated, participate and talk to each other more often and frequently. For every Retail & CPG company to be successful, the IoT roadmap to has to include and take into consideration all the 5 key drivers. IoT can be the Key fundamental success factor if we have a roadmap that includes the following for each of these Key Drivers:

  1. New age Internet enabled & Connected devices

    Focus on: Mobile, Price Checkers, POS, Heating & Cooling devices, Dispensers, Temperature control devices, HandHelds, Tablets, PCs etc. and what role these devices play in the Retail & CPG business outcome. Quality of information that can be collected or processed by these devices and how this information helps my organization in better decision making or enhancing customer experience should be a key factors of consideration before adopting these into the ecosystem. Standardization of devices and Interfaces play a primary role in getting the best out of IoT solution. This will help in defining generic and standard operating models which can be applied across the landscape and facilitate ease of maintenance and reduction in cost.

  2. Innovation in Technology and Platforms

    Focus on: Cloud Adoption, DAM Integration, Innovations in Open Source world, New Frameworks & Tools, Languages for building software, Synchronous and Asynchronous Operations, Network Bandwidth etc. to set a proper enabling platform for all the IoT devices to communicate and exchange information in a more cost effective manner. Use the power of collaboration or using innovations that are already available rather than building anew. This will help optimize cost, maintenance and define a standard operating model.

  3. Range, Reach and Availability of Data

    Focus on: Social networks integration, Data feeds from IoT based devices & Channels, Search Engines, Location & Region Specific data needs, Logs generated, Operational Data etc. for gathering all kind of information that may or may not be of use. The information which we might consider is of least importance today might turn out to be a game changer in future. So do not flush information mine it.

  4. Enhanced Customer Experience
    Focus on: Ease of Application usage, Appealing UX, Exchange and Sharing of Information, Device independence, privacy & security, swift and fast information access etc. This will make our IoT devices be customer facing or non-customer facing ones easy to use and adopt. Also focus on relevance and priority of information these devices need to gather. This helps in proper handling of information.
  5. Analytics and Machine Learning
    Focus on: Predict and identify patterns, failures, Sales, new opportunities, recovery from errors, Log analysis, Feed Analysis, Processing Data for faster decision making etc. This acts as the backbone for the success of any organization that want’s to optimally utilize the benefits of IoT and drive future growth and reducing the ever increasing operating costs.