Your favourite shop is about to get a whole lot smarter
Digital is transforming traditional in-store customer experiences.
Digital and all that goes with it has clearly transformed the world and life as we know it. Thankfully, for the most part, gone are the days of mindless queuing. Today, myriad services and products, from financial right through to retail and FMCG, are available 24/7, at the click of a button. Beyond this, tech is also doing a 360-degree - going back to the traditional in-store experience - and upping the ante with benefits extending far beyond the online world.
Leading this charge, SAP Hybris has as its sole mandate to research and develop innovative ways of combining technology novelties with common retail scenarios to create exciting and unique shopping experiences. This is not just about geeky stuff for the elite: take its recently developed Smart Wine Shelf as a case in point. At its core, this wine shelf is exactly that - a shelf of wine in a shop - except what is different about this shelf of wine is that it is connected to the Internet, and therein lies the magic.
SAP is the global market leader in enterprise software, and many associate it only with huge software implementations; this is a very different kind of SAP experience. As a result of digital transformation and evolving technologies, the company has developed a wine shelf that is capable of guiding consumers to select the bottle of wine most suited to their taste. By means of a mobile app, easily downloadable either in-store or en route, consumers are taken through 10 easy questions lasting no longer than one minute - five for red wine and five for white wine. The result, aka the consumer's personal profile, is then uploaded to the wine shelf. According to the profile, the most suitable bottles of wine light up, making it easy for the consumer to make his or her choice.
It doesn't stop there: on selection of the bottle of wine, additional information is then displayed on a screen located next to the wine shelf. Here the consumer is able to learn more, with access to information including suggested food pairings, winery details, varietal, alcohol and acidity content and the like. It also rates the bottle of wine against the consumer's profile, indicating, percentage wise, exactly how close a fit it is.
Every time a bottle of wine is lifted from the shelf, data in the form of analytics is sent to the cloud. This happens irrespective of whether or not the consumer has completed a personal profile. The benefit to the retailer is that it receives invaluable information on consumer choices, enabling it to respond faster and more appropriately.
The first SAP Hybris Smart Wine Shelf came to life in May 2014 in the US. Nearly one-and-a-half years later there are several versions of the Wine Shelf on four different continents, and it will be coming to Africa in 2016.
"The benefits for both retailers and consumers are enormous," commented Brett Parker, Managing Director, SAP Africa. "With so much online competition, in-store experiences now need to be fun and engaging. Not only do concepts such as SAP's Smart Wine Shelf provide for this, upping the customer experience and ultimately customer satisfaction, but smart technology also provides the retailer with access to valuable analytics."
This is an example of more than tech just for tech's sake; while the benefits across business and social are too numerous to mention, what's clear is how technology is making every aspect of our lives easier and more personalised.
And this is just the beginning. From RFID scanners in changing rooms capable of notifying sales representatives as to exactly what you have tried on, enabling them to respond quickly with alternative sizes or options, through to beer mats in pubs automatically alerting bar tenders as to when you need a refill, the world of the consumer is about to get a whole lot easier - both online and off. SAP is enjoying leading the technology part of that journey!
"SAP aims to continue to drive the innovation agenda while, at the same time, similarly maximise existing technology for the benefit of the everyday consumer, while having a lot of fun along the way." Parker concluded.