We were proud hosts of the ‘Connected Retailer in a Connected World’ event at our London Applied Innovation Exchange (AIE) on Thursday, June 22. The event brought together over 10 retailers from high fashion, value retail, DIY, online pure-players, and prestigious department stores, and we explored the question: ‘How do retailers drive new customer and employee propositions by introducing emerging technologies into their businesses?’
Shashi Subramanian, Capgemini Lead for ‘Connected Retailer in a Connected World’: “Such events enable Capgemini to share our thought leadership with retailers, to showcase our thinking and investment, and to spark new initiatives through new ideas. These events allow us to help retailers navigate through the complex technology choices to deliver innovations and connects them to a wider ever growing partner ecosystem.”
What did the participating retailers have to say?
Retail CIO: “I think what you learn at these sessions more than anything is just the breadth of technology and the different readiness of the technologies, so from things like RFID at one end which is really for the mainstream, being used everywhere, to things at the other end like blockchain which I think is something very important for us to understand but I'm not sure it’s really ready to be picked off the shelf by all of us yet.”
Digital Director: “Everyone has the same problems, everyone's talking about the same things and everyone is sharing this so it's good to see that when I come into sessions like this every single industry no matter whether its fashion, DIY, or food, everyone's sharing the same problems. It's good to remember that.”
Over the course of the event, retailers shared their views and there were some key themes that were reinforced through the event:
- 1 + 1 > 2: Enabling and leveraging technology convergence allows a far deeper understanding of the partners, retailers and customers which would not be possible with any single technology. The use cases that leverage multiple technologies can provide benefits greater than each of the technologies when they stand alone.
- It’s all connected: Retailers realise that changes to any part of their value chain – be it partners, supply chain, stores, or customers – will impact the rest of their value chain. For example, improved stock accuracy would bring about an improved customer experience. Retailers now need to look at their digital strategy holistically.
- Sharing is caring: Events such as the ‘Connected Retailer in a Connected World’ allow retailers to share common challenges and learn from each other.
What did the participating retailers see?
Through a mix of presentations, demonstrations and interactive working, we focused on the technology that connects retailer supply chains and stores, collaborates with partners, and engages with customers in new and exciting ways. While the proposition leveraged the re-emergence of RFID, its primary focus was to demonstrate the convergence of multiple technologies:
- Re-emergence of RFID: Showcase how RFID enables a smart, agile and efficient supply chain, driving lower costs, enhancing productivity and great customer satisfaction due to better availability.
- Robotics and visual: Explore the use of AI enabled visual cameras and RFID as a combination can create 3D planograms and heat maps. Consider robotics to create spatial awareness of the shop floor, mapping space data, and customer flows to influence store design and space planning.
- Customer marketing and loyalty: Customers want an experience that goes beyond shopping and transcends loyalty schemes. We showcased how customers want to be engaged and inspired throughout their social sphere and how we can link retail operations to provide new engaging customer propositions using AI, visual, and social media.
- Retail command centre: With the abundance of all this data we identified an opportunity to provide a platform that visualises a retailer’s data from all sources and enables them to make real time decisions by linking back into existing systems. Our vision for the command centre platform reaches all the way to the interaction with customers across channels to the supplier at source.
- Retail origins using blockchain: The power of visualising the story of authenticity and heritage behind every product from where it was sourced, manufactured, supplied, and delivered. It also explored tracking of authenticity, how it could reduce counterfeiting, and protect customers in reseller markets.
There are many ways to approach innovation in retail, our approach has been to develop a vision around where we see key bets in the emerging technologies. To achieve this we are bringing together our retail experience, technical knowhow, our AIE capability, and an ecosystem of partners to test these with retailers at pace.