• James

A Reflection on Retail Business Technology Expo - Part Two

The Rika team headed to London’s Olympia for the retail business technology expo (#rbte2016) across 9-10th March to see first-hand how the retail sector is embracing digital technology. In part one we have covered the first day of the event with insights from some of the big retail brands such as Sainsbury's and Boots.

Day two was packed with seminars and talks and the team spend the entire day attending talks, which explored in detail how brands are acquiring, analysing and utilising data to achieve the ultimate experiences. Building on the consistent themes of day one of the expo, Day Two keynotes and seminars majored on data and technological innovation.

We’re definitely seeing the third great commodity rush; first, there was gold, then there was oil. Now, there is data. Customer Data is the New Oil.

This is what ‘big data’ is all about - the extraction of barrel-loads of customer data. In support of this view, in retail particularly, is the evolution from analytics to Data Science.

How many organisations do you know that have a Data Science division? Well, it's getting increasingly common in digital retail now, as brands realise the criticality not only of collecting data, but inaccurately analysing it so that it can be utilised to provide a truly personalised, context-aware relationship with customers.

And who says innovation is a chiefly a technology pursuit?
In a keynote presentation by Hayley Tatum, Executive Director/Senior Vice President of People and Stores at ASDA, it was revealed that ASDA have a Chief Customer Officer (CCO) on the board. The CCO’s remit is to ensure that all tactical and strategic decisions made fully reflect the needs and best interests of the customer. The customer is truly at the heart of this particular business. Who knew?

And the surprises didn’t end there; ASDA operates 4 global ‘mission control’ installations that continuously monitor not only the company’s digital operations but also gather and analyse customer data, looking for trends, behaviours and opportunities. That’s a lot of firepower.

Content is King, but context is King Kong!
This wonderfully witty truism came from Markus Wulff, Manager of Digital Growth at The Absolut Company.

Contextual Marketing (the logical step-up from personalisation) is all about recognising the ‘moments’ where a customer interacts with the brand, interpreting what those ‘moments’ mean and providing highly relevant messaging, service, product or experience.

In pursuit of this, Absolut have engaged in some groundbreaking campaigns, taking ideas from their own R&D labs into the real world, embracing the Internet of Things (IoT) in the process. In fact the IoT has actually been used for 4 years at Absolut, helping to fight counterfeiting. Other luxury brands can learn from this.

People don't want products or features; they want outcomes
To wrap up the conference, we were reminded of customers really want - value. Value for their time, data and money they want outcomes. It's very hard to make people want to use things. It's much easier to make things people want to use.


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