April 22, 2021

Technology in the 'retail' sector to stimulate the senses (and purchases) | Innovation

Technology in the 'retail' sector to stimulate the senses (and purchases) | Innovation

Commerce was not going to be less than haute cuisine. If all the senses are stimulated among Michelin-starred stoves, when you step on a store, whether physically or virtually, you have to generate the same sensations. In commerce, the tasting menu consists of all kinds of technologies, but each space has some singularities that must be taken into account.

"Technology must work so that when a customer interacts with a channel, obtain the relational experience that we have designed," explains Agustín Cárdenas, responsible for Digital Transformation of Telefónica.

The manager goes further. "We could use, for example, artificial intelligence and machine learning over the telephone channel, and starting from the basis of what the client has visited or indicated during his previous online activity, we will anticipate what he will ask us, avoiding the tedium of repeating information. Or there is the possibility of using those same technologies when the client goes to a physical channel, but the experience will have to be adapted to that reality, "he says.

Online and offline do not compete, they complement each other. You have to build the relationship with the customer from an omnichannel point of view in any of the environments. "There is no need to run, but what you have to do is introduce advances in a natural way both within companies and customers," he concludes.

Big data has become the bread that is not lacking in any table to stimulate the experiences of customers. As Cárdenas comments, this collection and analysis of user information allows them to adapt the contents, and for example to put a certain type of music in stores or to decide the audiovisual content depending on the audience that comes in and vary the light, according to the any time of the day.

"In the stores the technology had been introduced by layers, without any relation between them. The goal is that all these elements are orchestrated with each other, and do not work independently but as part of a whole. This is what allows us to transform the user experience ", he adds.

The personalization of the services, without being a technology as such, has become a main course of the menu. Its objective is to attract and satisfy all kinds of clients, with different tastes and needs. Javier González, Director of Marketing and Digital Innovation of Dufry, is very clear that if innovation does not boost this experience, it will be of little use to make a huge collection of technical tools. "The most complicated thing is to hit when you have so many options available. For a company like ours, with such a large market, it is key to get the right solutions ", ditch.

The union of different pieces. Dufry, who has around 2,200 stores around the world, the well-known Duty Free, has seen how digitization has forced him to surround himself with different technologies to adapt to the new context. The company, which has had Telefónica Empresas as a technological partner to accompany them in their digital transformation, has innovated a set of dishes, from applications to geolocation, through big data, united by the menu to improve the customer experience. "The wifi trackers, for example, they allow us to understand how passengers navigate in our store and optimize the categories, products and promotions. In addition, it helps us with the planning of work shifts, "says González.

In the shops the technology had been introduced by layers, without any relationship between them. The objective is that all these elements are orchestrated with each other, and do not work independently but as part of a whole ".

At the time of innovating in the retail sector, there are also a series of obstacles that must be faced. In the opinion of Cárdenas, in the face of so much change, it is simple that there is some rejection internally within the employees of the companies. "At first, it seems that life is complicated. We must strive to explain to people the reason for this transformation and make them feel part of it. The employee is a fundamental element for a digital transformation project to be successful, "he summarizes. In the case of Dufry, for example, thanks to the commitment of the entire company to digitalization, as González points out, interaction, internal communication, productivity and efficiency have improved.

The trade is experiencing a time of digital change in which there is no single solution. According to the study on purchasing habits developed by PWC, if 46% of Spanish consumers go to physical stores at least once a week, it is no less true that 28% use their mobile phones for purchases at least once a month. Therefore, the barriers between the physical and the virtual have changed the rules of the game, as well as the demands of consumers. Now it is up to the retail to find its Michelin stars.


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