A Data-driven Approach to Direct-to-consumer (D2C) Distribution: Key Takeaways

We hosted the AIBP Insights: A Data-Driven Approach to Direct-to-consumer Distribution today, featuring participants from Crown Digital, Dell Technologies, Monde Nissin, Olam, QSR Brands and VMWare at the focus discussion on Scaling the Direct-to-consumer Model Effectively with Data Intelligence.

This follows this morning’s focus group on The Value of Customer Experience: Rethinking Customer Journeys for Indonesia’s Consumers where we covered the role and future of customer communications amidst trends in going direct to the customer and building personalised experiences for the consumer.

AIBP Insights is a series of discussions held online which brings together a focus group of ASEAN stakeholders to discuss topics related to enterprise technology adoption in the region.

The session opened with a presentation by Charles Sevior, Chief Technology Office, APJC, Unstructured Solution, Dell Technologies, on Deriving Actionable Insights from Unstructured Data with AI/ML which included key trends in Cloud, data analytics and cybersecurity for the omnichannel case, as well as a case study of Woolworths, an Australian grocery chain, on raising the bar in cloud operations.

We also kicked off the 2021 ASEAN Enterprise Innovation Awards Finalists’ Showcase today, where CK Chong, Group Chief Information Officer, QSR Brands gave a presentation on Connected Restaurants: A Digital-Driven Approach to Direct-to-Consumer Distribution. CK shared about digitally connected back-of-house, digitalisation of customer-facing channels, back-of-house, and e-commerce at QSR Brands. CK also highlighted the key roles of martech and data achieving their goal of becoming “a data company that sells food”.

The Enterprise Innovation Awards was established in 2017 by AIBP with the key objective of giving recognition to organisations who have embarked on projects to digitally transform their business through the adoption of innovative technology. The awards are held annually for ASEAN countries; Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam.

Key takeaways for the focus group today include bridging front-end and back-end, disparate data sources, and business opportunities with data intelligence. 

Bridging Front-end and Back-end 

Front-end and back-end operations are mutually dependent, and data from both sides will serve to optimise overall business performance. As Arun Rawat, Head, E-commerce Growth, Olam, mentioned, the tricky part about deriving value from data lies enabling seamless integration across various systems – from warehouse systems to inventory management systems, to customer data platforms, et cetera.

Crown Digital conceptualised and created Singapore’s first robotic barista which features technology like IoT and sensors. Ella, the robot barista, has full autonomy of physical movement on the front-end to serve customers cups of gourmet coffee. Keith Tan, Founder and CEO, Crown Digital, shared how Ella is able to collect operational and consumer data, which can be used to maintain consistency and possibly allow for predictive maintenance. QSR is also keen on incorporating robotics and AI into their operations.

Charles posits that digital twins will be able to replicate physical processes on digital platforms, but machine learning will support and improve it as more data is collected.

At Monde Nissin, Joshua Decena, Project Management Office – Supply Network Transformation, Monde Nissin, shared that forecasting models and demand planning models will enable commercial teams to optimise resource planning for campaigns, as well as for supply chains to optimise production.

Aggregating Disparate Data Sources

Allen Chin, Senior Manager of Solutions Engineering, VMware Malaysia, mentioned that while back-end infrastructure for data may be in place, it is important to ensure data integrity. To this, Arun brought up how as distributors are exploring multiple retail avenues including brand dot coms and marketplaces, it is increasingly important to understand different types of data such that supply chains may be optimised using customer data. Data standardisation will also increase opportunities for automation along the supply chain.

Likewise, CK shared how QSR Brands has data from food delivery platforms and points of sales across the region, and it will be important to weave data from different sources into a single common data platform to derive value.

As much as data will create opportunities for business in scaling the direct-to-consumer model, Charles highlighted that there are different levels of scale in data for organisations of different sizes. Regardless, data is a company asset, and will have to be protected and secure.

Identifying Business Opportunities with Data Intelligence

Data intelligence will enable opportunities in product development and process optimisation for the organisation.

Arun mentioned how data provides an indication of product category performance. The potential to leverage data lies in enabling new product innovation and exploring different distribution channels.

Data intelligence will also drive personalisation (and hyper personalisation) for the end consumer, enabling better customer acquisition and retention, while strengthening brand value and recognition.

The AIBP Insights series will continue in the next couple of months, where we will host focus groups on enterprise digitalisation in ASEAN on enterprise finalists. Finalists of the 2021 ASEAN Enterprise Innovation Awards and will also be showcasing their innovation projects for their organisation.

Check out more valuable insights on ASEAN’s distribution and omnichannel landscape at Supply Chains for Omnichannel and Maximising Customer Touchpoints to gain a broader view of retail in the region! 

Feel free to reach out to us if you would like to view the full session replay, or if you wish to find out more about upcoming focus groups!


21 September 2021

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