Trends that retail CPG industry players need to be aware from technology perspective
Technology is rapidly changing the way people interact, transact and react. Inevitably, some of the personal level conveniences that technology bring are being expected by consumers from business players in a commercial setting. This is increasingly being felt by offline players and would be of great relevance to them. Some of the avenues where digital innovation is disrupting are:
New Product/service Knowledge
Before paying for any product/service, it is natural for consumer to expect to look,feel what he/she is going to get. Today’s consumer is looking for product/services beyond his/her immediate geographical reach. While image sharing has been de facto standard for gaining this new product knowledge, technologically other options are possible. 360 degree videos offer amazing capability to communicate a holistic imagery. Augmented reality (search for startup — Whodat) puts the imagery in the context of consumer. Immersive feel and experience using Virtual Reality headsets offer unique change in trend in experiencing product before purchase.
AWS IoT buttons and Amazon Echo have certainly created a technology trend in getting closer to consumers place of actual use of products — the home. There is increasing shift in place of buying being a store to home. Powered by e-commerce, consumers are experiencing convenience of buying and getting things delivered to home. This aspiration would naturally expected from other products/services which have traditionally not embraced e-com path.
Post sale support
As on 2017, undeniably we are in the peak of Instant Messaging age and no wonder consumers expect sales support to be instant. Is your washing machine broken? You may rather want to share a pic of it while chatting with service representative explaining the problem. New age service center need to be capable to embrace such inherent need from consumers. Surely, the days of service engineer visiting your consumer’s place on a pre-booked appointed time slot would be a thing of past. Service engineers may in fact show via skype or any other video chatting tool on how to fix things yourself.
When a patient is suffering, the idea of travelling to hospital after booking a slot with doctor could be slowly fading down. Rather what patient needs is a solution, doctor may interact with patient via video chat. Vitals may be remotely capture through plethora of low cost medical devices.
Today’s consumer is getting truly omni-channel. She may window shop in e-commerce portals, buy in a physical store, may complain on social media. New age tools are required to monitor constant feedback across multiple channels to present a holistic consumer journey. And more importantly need for being responsive to consumer in any of the channel is unique emerging trend that businesses need to keep a tab on. AI/ML powered bots would be of great use here(Those who haven’t built a facebook bot yet — Try doing it! It is amazingly simple).
Real-time locating of product/services is an extraordinary convenience that technology has bolstered. While it has created it own mark on taxi industry, undeniably more markets are ripe for this potential. Next time your car goes flat, it would certainly be more convenient to spot nearest repair solution and interact with them real-time. The digital or IT strategy of any retail player needs to factor in potential changes such ‘real-time’ need warrants.
By end of 2017, world may see 47% of its population having access to internet and experiencing many conveniences it offers. Such conveniences would invariably spilled and expected from all other players in the industry. Business and IT strategies of businesses need to be ready in embracing such technology led innovation.