Phy-gital Roundtable: Breakfast Roundup from Germany and Netherlands

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Phy-gital Roundtable: Breakfast Roundup from Germany and Netherlands

Posted on: 02 May '15

Starting at the tail end of 2014 and leading right into 2015’s BIG Show in January, Mindtree hosted a series of high-level dinners in the U.S. and U.K. with executives from top retail and CPG enterprises. Aside from enjoying good company and fine dining (at Aquavit, Park Plaza Westminster Bridge, Steelhead Diner and Del Posto), there was a great deal of discussion about how to reach and win the loyalty of today’s “phy-gital” shoppers.

Of course, at the BIG Show we revealed our global Shopper Study, which focused in part on Germany and Benelux-two areas where the phy-gital shopper is still very much emerging rather than fully formed. So we thought it would be interesting to host similar engagements in Amsterdam and Dusseldorf.

This time, rather than dinner, we had breakfast. And we were thrilled that we attracted a group of high quality executives to attend, participate and share experiences with their peers. Conversation was wide ranging but generally focused on some core, broad areas:

  • Managing and delivering better digital experiences to customers
  • Organizing customer and enterprise data to drive Big Data initiatives
  • Utilizing analytical insights for improving operations in a “test and learn” environment
  • Major technology trends disrupting current business models

In addition to these broad topics, some more specific themes and challenges were raised.

Instant Gratification and 24-7 Demand

One retailer noted that they are open six days a week during business hours, but that consumer demand exists 24-7. They are trying out ‘visual shelves’ to address that demand, as well as mobile apps for anytime commerce. But they are also looking to explore the potential use of machine-to-machine communication a la Amazon Dash Button.

Phygital-Roundtable

Loyalty and Identity

One attendee representing a leader in laundry and home care products doubted the feasibility of providing consumers with a seamless omnichannel experience. He asked if there are effective ways to identify a shopper uniquely when they are shifting across channels. However, an executive from a major fashion retailer noted that this is indeed possible. They accomplish this by tying everything together with a loyalty card/program that uniquely identifies every shopper in all contexts.

This executive further added that they are equipped to show real-time inventory availability/product range, so that a shopper in-store who doesn’t find what they want can determine the nearest store where the product is available and choose an appropriate fulfilment option: in-store or home delivery.

Consistent Brand Experience

A leader from a major nutrition products manufacturer that sells through distributors asked about the best way to access consumer data and manage the experience in a consistent way. They were struggling with enabling the distributors with the right aids and information on products, new treatments etc.

This topic weaved together with another one: personalization. For retailers, personalization is about reaching shoppers; but for CPGs, personalization is about reaching individuals stores. Attendees from Mindtree were able to weigh in, noting that there are tools available that work on the same principles for each of these instances. In the same way that data can be used to do segmentation of shoppers and make unique recommendations for them, it can also do the same to recommend unique product assortments at the individual store level.

Phygital-Roundtable Breakfast Roundup

Similar Problems Worldwide

Other specific topics came up-such as using indoor positioning system technology and data, or how to create new digital connections-which are topics we have often heard over the last few years.

So, although our shopper study showed that Germany and Benelux trailed the U.S. and U.K. in terms of just how phy-gital shoppers are today, we found that the problems and questions raised by executives from retailers and CPGs at Dusseldorf and Amsterdam were similar to those raised at our dinners in the U.S. and U.K.

It was a fresh reminder that in a flat world, the problems companies face tend to be universal. Luckily, so is the technology that can solve them.

Debjyoti Paul

Debjyoti Paul leads Industry Solutions for Mindtree's Digital Business. Some of the solutions areas he is working on are assortment optimization for CPG companies, Omni-channel retail, trade promotion insights and measurement / attribution of digital marketing. He has led Platforms and Solutions in Infosys in the past, apart from co-founding a fast-growing e-commerce company (now BigBasket.com). He has lived CPG and Retail through his nearly 2 decade career, starting with Unilever. He has authored several articles in the areas of mobility, retail execution and big data in publications like Consumer Goods Technology and Retail Customer Experience. He is also a regular speaker at international industry forums such as National Retail Federation, Consumer Goods Technology and other client forums.