SU­NIL NAIR

Sr. VP, IT & Busi­ness So­lu­tions, SPAR In­dia (Max Hyper­mar­kets)

Images Retail - - COVER STORY -

What ac­cord­ing to you are the three big­gest/most im­por­tant changes hap­pen­ing in the world of tech­nol­ogy?

AI (Ar­ti­fi­cial In­tel­li­gence)-the more data an AI sys­tem has, the quicker it can learn and the more ac­cu­rate it be­comes.

Vir­tual Re­al­ity- VR will have more con­trol over how their cus­tomers ex­pe­ri­ence the shop­ping ex­pe­ri­ence in ways they never could be­fore in a phys­i­cal store.

IOT – In­ter­net of Things which en­com­passes smart, con­nected prod­ucts like smart phones and smart watches is a ma­jor con­tribut­ing fac­tor in this exponential in­crease in data.

How do you think these changes will im­pact In­dian re­tail?

Re­tail­ers will con­tinue to adopt emerg­ing tech­nolo­gies to close the gap be­tween the dig­i­tal and phys­i­cal worlds, and to learn more about con­sumers. Mo­bile will be­come an in­creas­ingly im­por­tant part of the re­tail equa­tion as stores also evolve. And through­out the in­dus­try, re­tail­ers will at­tain more data about their shop­pers and use ar­ti­fi­cial in­tel­li­gence to en­hance their mar­ket­ing and mer­chan­dis­ing. Per­son­al­i­sa­tion in re­tail will play a im­por­tant role as well. Re­tail­ers will use data and AI plat­forms to bet­ter en­gage cus­tomers with per­son­alised shop­ping ex­pe­ri­ence both on­line and in the store.

What are the 3 game chang­ing tech­nolo­gies in the space of cus­tomer ex­pe­ri­ence?

IOT/ Blockchain/ Crypto cur­ren­cies

What are the top pri­or­i­ties for you in the com­ing years you as CIO of the com­pany/ brand?

Mo­bile First: To de­sign the of­fer­ings around how cus­tomers use their de­vices and the re­tailer’s app or mo­bile site.

Check­out ex­pe­ri­ence is the key: Re­tail­ers need to deep dive on im­prov­ing the check­out ex­pe­ri­ence, in­clud­ing POS pro­mo­tions and in-store ful­fill­ment. It all comes down to cre­at­ing last­ing ex­pe­ri­ences for our cus­tomers.

Ma­chine Learn­ing: Ma­chine Learn­ing can help them au­to­mat­i­cally dis­cover hid­den op­por­tu­ni­ties, ac­cel­er­ate te­dious pro­cesses, and iden­tify which data in­sights mat­ter.

Top 3 chal­lenges re­tail­ers will face from a Tech­nol­ogy point of view in In­dia?

Mul­tichan­nel Buy­ing Ex­pe­ri­ences: Cus­tomers are mov­ing seam­lessly be­tween on­line and off­line ex­pe­ri­ences, and are open to re­tail­ers who can best fa­cil­i­tate these tran­si­tions.

Seam­less Ex­pe­ri­ence: Dur­ing the tran­si­tion­ing be­tween on­line and in-store ex­pe­ri­ences, cus­tomers not only want the same prod­ucts to be avail­able, they also want their ex­pe­ri­ence to be seam­less.

Cus­tomer Loy­alty: Cus­tomer ex­pe­ri­ence is the big­gest con­trib­u­tor to­wards brand loy­alty, with a neg­a­tive ex­pe­ri­ence be­ing the most sig­nif­i­cant fac­tor in af­fect­ing a cus­tomer’s like­li­hood to make a re­peat visit.

How is IOT shap­ing up the in­dus­try? Tell us about the role and sig­nif­i­cance of IOT in your com­pany?

Re­tail­ers will make greater use of bea­cons, sen­sors and the IOT de­vices to drive the in-store ex­pe­ri­ence in 2018. IOT will be the tool that can fi­nally bridge the gap be­tween the dig­i­tal and phys­i­cal worlds as it fi­nally of­fers the abil­ity to ob­tain and use data in stores. Re­tail­ers will be able to use these de­vices to gather more in­for­ma­tion about con­sumers in the store and con­vert that into data that can also be used on­line and through mo­bile. They will pi­lot more IOT pro­grams to en­hance store en­try, cus­tomer in­ter­ac­tion, im­prove mer­chan­dis­ing and of­fer more rapid check­out. We are in the process of im­ple­ment­ing IOT for In­ven­tory man­age­ment, im­prov­ing in-store ex­pe­ri­ence thru per­son­alised mar­ket­ing and En­ergy man­age­ment.

What would suc­cess look like for you in a cou­ple of years in terms of the com­pany and tech­nol­ogy?

To pro­vide a de­light­ful seam­less ex­pe­ri­ence across dif­fer­ent chan­nels, by un­der­stand­ing our au­di­ence and adapt to be­ing more rel­e­vant, en­gag­ing & use­ful.

To be able to meet the ex­pec­ta­tion of our cus­tomers.

To ad­dress pri­vacy of our cus­tomers and pro­vide them a de­light­ful ex­pe­ri­ence.

Your top 3 favourite re­tail tech­nolo­gies, which you would like to in­tro­duce in In­dia?

In­tro­duc­ing tech­nol­ogy sys­tems & pro­cesses that would help re­duce this per­cent­age would be a break-through for costs and aid in prof­its for the re­tail in­dus­try.

Tech­nol­ogy that analy­ses the cus­tomer jour­ney & be­hav­iour across dif­fer­ent chan­nels to map out a com­plete con­sumer per­son­al­ity.

Mov­ing away from smart­phones & tap­ping into smaller, wear­able gad­gets that con­nect to IOT and pro­vide ac­cess to in­for­ma­tion & ser­vices.

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