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The promises of “Omni-Channel” retailing

Zafar Anjum | July 16, 2013
Clicks and bricks is the future of retail, says Anand Mehta, the director for Retail Industry at Motorola Solutions for SEA, India, Japan and Korea

Predictive is a very big one because of the accumulation of all these data points, the only logical thing to do with them is to look at them predicatively whereas all traditional BI (business intelligence) has been historical. So traditional BI looks at averages and the month gone by whereas predictive technologies look at individuals and forecast it real-time. This is a big change in the entire CRM (customer relationship management) and BI kind of business or vendors. They are going from traditional, single, average evaluations to individual dynamic evaluations.

Definitely the impact of all this data collection and all the predictive analytics and algorithms that now exist in a lot of our software, the output required to the end-user consumer is 'Make me a personal offer.' Honestly they don't care about what is going on backstage. They want a good show in the palm of their hands when it matters to them, so all of this now is enabling an individual offer to an individual customer real-time. So if you have 100 people in your store, you can make the store individually valid to 100 different people. You can have 100 different experiences with one store. This is really where personalisation comes in.

Context aware is a great emerging space. We are clearly at the cutting edge of this. What we mean by context aware is essentially is locationing. Now you know your customer and know what offer to make to your customer. What context aware locationing does is it makes that offer real-time in your store in the right part of your store.

So if the guy is in the Corn Flakes section, he gets a Corn Flakes offer. If he's looking at apparel, you get a combination offer of "Why don't you buy a belt with this pair of shoes?" Everything that relied on human interaction can now be prompted by technology. I guess it's the retail world's equivalent of "Would you like fries with that" or "Do you want to upsize that?"

Obviously analysis clearly shows that just asking that question enough increases your conversion significantly to at a very minimum give you a single percentage point lifting your sales. Retailers that are not optimum, they can see a 20-25 percent increase in sales. It's a very simple solution and that's the joy of retail.

The retail business model is actually very simple. You buy, you sell and hope that your expenses are lower than your gross profit and you are left with some net profit but the complexity of retail is in operations. Business is very simple.

So context aware we term as two different things. We have what is known as "presence." So when a customer is in the vicinity of your store outside, you can detect it and acknowledge him and greet him and pull him into your store. We also have a second component known as "proximity" which is when he is within a certain zone of your store; he will get an individual offer valid to that zone.


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