Customer Experience - A Game-Changer In The Digital Age For Consumer-facing Businesses

Hemanth Sheelvant, Founder, Business Head, iero, Bosch Engineering and Business Solutions Software | Monday, 14 October 2019, 09:20 IST

Hemanth Sheelvant, Founder, Business Head, iero, Bosch Engineering and Business Solutions SoftwareHemanth Sheelvant drives an entrepreneurial venture - iero in Bosch Engineering and Business Solutions focusing on new age edge based context-aware personalization solutions for consumer business with key offerings in the area of retail and mobility recommendations space.

With the advent of smart devices, the current era has more or less become a mobile revolution with people of all geographies and income groups becoming a target group for mobile devices (smart phones, smart tablets, smart watches etc). According to the reports published by consulting firms, there would be an estimated 2.5+ billion users of smart devices around the world by 2018.

On one hand, there are several speculations going on about what the future has in store – Artificial intelligence driving robots to enable them to take their own decisions – like Sophia, who created a sensation by being provided with a citizenship in Saudi Arabia recently.

On the other hand, with the internet of things practically moving ahead to connect all connectable devices which influence the lifestyle of a person, enhancing the customer experience by using better technologies is becoming a major focus area in practically all domains which is customer-centric.

“The new digital age brings forth an entirely different set of possibilities for the consumer-facing businesses like retail, hospitality, and travel”

The new digital age brings forth an entirely different set of possibilities for the consumer-facing businesses like retail, hospitality, and travel. Physical spaces are being enabled through digital means to enable a better chance of understanding the customer better to provide them with a right experience at the right time. This overlap of the physical and digital realms can be termed with jargons such as phygital as well.

Some of the new age concepts which have a keen focus for the consumer-facing businesses are:

1. Real-time personalization based on context:

Huge amount of data are available with the consumer-facing businesses which can enable the business to address their consumers better. With data analytics coming to a fore on the technology front, there is a huge opportunity for the businesses to make better sense of the existing data and build a profile of the consumer.

This can be further used effectively to provide the most probable recommendation that the consumer would love to see, maybe in the form of a targeted promotion or even a targeted information. While online products and services from giants like Google, Apple, Amazon and Facebook have already started using this to their benefit since a few years, businesses with a physical presence which also constitute a huge chunk of market are now embracing technology to enable them to identify the areas, analyze the data to get better insights and use algorithms to target and address the consumer with the right action at the right space at the right time.

2. Context engines - Positioning and localization systems:

While GPS and outdoor positioning systems have been there for a long time now, the use case of it as the context is happening at this point in time. Context can be defined as the set of information which enables to identify the physical, behavioral or the relational aspects of an associated target (in this case a person). Unlike GPS locations, which can be directly tracked on smart phones today, indoor positioning systems (IPS) need separate infrastructure and techniques to identify positions in indoor spaces. Identifying this is very important since this information like the location of a person within a shopping mall or a hotel can be used to enable supporting services like indoor navigation and location information and it can also be used by the businesses to provide better promotions/ recommendations, which the user has a higher probability to absorb and convert into a sale. Compared to today’s case where most applications give way several notifications at an unknown location and time frames, the context engines, for example, help to provide the most relevant advertisements at the right location and time. Context can further go on to include emotions, behaviors, seasons, weather conditions, local regional information and so on.

3. Actionable insights through analytics: Big data and data analytics started off as a buzzword but has more or less become a norm of the day. The huge amount of data now has means to be decoded but the analytics part will be of limited use if it cannot lead to automatic actions in real-time. As an example, Understanding trends in sales and providing real-time ordering/ movement from warehouse to store can be a huge benefit to the store manager. Likewise, for a consumer, let's say who normally buys dark chocolates, it would be very interesting to know when he/she is in the store about any offers on dark chocolates or information about the new chocolates in the store and probable information about it, could be helpful in making a decision.

Gradually but surely mobile devices are becoming a digital avatar of the person with or without his/her knowledge. It is the one device which a person uses irrespective of where he/she is and most probably the first and the last activity of the day! It is not surely far away when your voice-enabled digital avatar is enabling you with a better experience wherever you are.

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