Retail Business Tech Expo (RBTE) 2016: The Highlights
Highly customisable communications systems, software for seamless channel-hopping shopping experiences, and a wi-fi-free wayfinding, tracking and promotions tool were the most significant innovations presented at the Retail Business Technology Expo (RBTE). Here, we summarise the key details:
- Empowered Employees – Gloodoo x Topshop: Global technology and consulting group REPL unveiled an online platform called Gloodoo, bringing social media commentary, customer feedback and sales data into the heart of internal brand relations. Created in partnership with British fast-fashion giant Topshop, the system aims to create a connection between what brands are discussing internally, and the external opinions that need to be fed into those conversations in order to make better business decisions.
The multipurpose, business-use app combines company and team communicationswith individuals’ personal profiles. A feed shows what’s happening on all of Topshop’s social networks – allowing staff to comment within the privacy of the brand group, and brand managers to aggregate customer and employee feedback on new collections.
Internal messaging tools enable real-time communications with individuals or ring-fenced groups within the company contact list. It also encompasses HR-style holiday booking and shift-swapping, personalised shop-floor task lists and a feed showing reward badges received for excellent customer service, as well as sales and workforce interfaces and document storage. It can even deliver deeper data insights/metrics on sales, customer service, and even compliance and management information.
Topshop, the first brand to trial Gloodoo, is using it as its sole internal communications platform – deeming the recognisable, intuitive app format an ideal mode of engagement for its workforce, many of whom are Gen Y and even Z. The app is compatible with Android and iOS phones and can be customised to fit any retail brand.
- Smooth In-Store Wayfinding – Philips: Dutch tech giant Philips presented its LED indoor navigation system, which was launched in 2015, and originally trialled at French retailer Carrefour’s hypermarket in Lille, France.
Offering an alternative to often-patchy, wi-fi-based wayfinding and needing no additional hardware beyond existing lighting tracks, the LED bulbs are equipped with a visible light communication technology that beams a code (invisible to the human eye) to smartphone cameras. A corresponding geo-locative mobile app de-codes these transmissions and locates shoppers on a store map – thus enabling them to select and be directed to promotions.
With 30cm accuracy, retailers can promote specific products instead of whole aisles, and fully track the customer journey. Consumers can even use the app, should they wish, to report back to the brand on items that are out of stock. The concept presents a huge opportunity to capture lost sales; Philips estimates almost £54bn ($77bn) is lost annually due to unfound products.
- Smart Basket Offers Unified Purchase Process – Omnico: Acknowledging the always-on mentality of the digital-era customer, UK software company Omnico Group showcased its “omni-channel solution package” the OmniBasket. The retail software system is designed to holistically straddle stock management, promotion marketing, shopping basket and payment options to support retailers looking to follow their consumers seamlessly as they hop across multiple channels, locations and countries.
The digital shopping basket enables retailers to track customer behaviour, target them when relevant and match their basket with in-store stock when needed (see also Reactive Retailing). In-store, the basket can be matched with the sales associate’s tablet just by ‘bumping’ the customer’s phone, also delivering a secure payment option.
See also Reimagining Retail Banking and Retail Business Technology Expo 2015.