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.
With the emergence of metaverses (meta-commerce anyone?) retailers and distributors will soon find themselves faced with a whole new (meta) world of customer touchpoints. Before the metaverse comes in full swing however, retailers around ASEAN focused on omnipresent retail with unified data platforms and phygital as part of their focus on digitalisation for 2022. We explore the use of Unified Data Platforms for omnichannel retail, enabling value-added personalisation, and the potential for applications of emerging technology for new phygital retail, together with retailers from ASEAN.
Key takeaways today include – omnichannel acceptance across customer segments, and threading the fine balance between online and offline in the omnichannel world today.
Omnichannel Acceptance Across Customer Segments
While retailers are experiencing increased accessibility to customers across channels, different products receive varying levels of omnichannel acceptance from different customer segments.
Online channels receive different levels of acceptance across customer segments. For PNJ Group, one of the largest jewellery retailers in Vietnam, online penetration of jewellery retailing is much higher among the Gen Z customer segment. According to Tran Nguyen Phi Long, Head of Retail Marketing, PNJ Group, this could be attributed to higher internet penetration rates among the Gen-Z population, and perceptions of jewellery as accessories, offered by Style by PNJ focused on trendy jewellery.
In addition to age group, William Firman, Managing Director, IUIGA, mentioned that IUIGA’s considerations for omnichannel are built upon first looking at customer behaviour. High rates of internet penetration in Indonesia have supported omnichannel retail adoption, with the e-commerce market generating US$ 43 billion in 2021. He observes that offline customers tend to include those who prefer trying and feeling the product before buying, while those who purchase online are sure of their purchase.
Besides customer preferences, Gerald Lim, Director O2O, Siam Makro, highlighted that evolution in the digital space has served to solve a need or problem for the customer, at the right time, and for the F&B segment, much of the technology for retail took off organically. In fact, he mentioned, online shopping and delivery for groceries were mostly for convenience’s sake, and groceries were not a key product for delivery. However, as the COVID-19 pandemic would have it, grocery delivery has grown in the past couple of years.
He also believes that, at Makro, there is a need to drive organic customers into the e-commerce space, by possibly unlocking e-commerce-as-a-service.
William mentioned that basket sizes reflect customer preferences as well. For IUIGA, offline channels see higher average total purchases with smaller ticket products, while online channels see larger basket sizes attributed to purchase of big ticket products like furniture.
Threading the Fine Line Between Online and Offline: Approaches and Supporting Technologies for Omnichannel
As brick-and-mortar retail continues to contribute significantly to retail sales, approaching the omnichannel strategy requires mutual support of online for offline, and vice versa.
For many retailers in Indonesia, the shift online was necessitated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Beyond that however, they now have to integrate the online with the offline. William mentioned how online data is easy to capture, but there remains a need to capture offline data as well.
Danielle West, Principal Business Solutions Manager, SAS SEA, mentioned that customer data platforms will serve to provide a 360 view of the customer and allow for more transparency of efforts catered to the customer.
In a similar vein, Long mentioned how customer experience flows across touchpoints, and customer data platforms will enable understanding of customer behaviour and customer segmentation. In his role for retail marketing, he also mentioned how the right marketing automation tools will support successful implementation of marketing strategies. Gerald added that technology is an enabler of business operations, and that there seems to be a skills gap here.
More importantly, retailers are considering different metrics, like bottom-line numbers, customer lifetime values, and customer satisfaction scores.
In incorporating technology into the retail experience, there exists different opportunities for technology in retail catered to different customer segments, as well as different channels. Retailers may choose to focus on different areas for different channels to meet different goals.
For William at IUIGA, online channels support scaling up the business to penetrate a wider audience, while offline channels are geographically limited to a captive market in a specific area. Despite this, physical stores will offer customers the opportunity to experience the product.
William believes that, in the near future, self-checkout technology may become increasingly adopted, and that augmented reality will provide a mixture of physical and virtual experiences for customers. It remains to be seen what technologies will stick around and transform the retail experience in ways we never thought we needed.
This concludes the first of 3 sessions for AIBP Insights: The Retail Revolution this week. Stay tuned tomorrow for Enabling Hyperlocalisation with Big Data, and Stronger Data-enabled Customer Relationships on Thursday! If you have not registered, you may do so here: https://bit.ly/3pxvhx3
22 March 2022