Technology has become invisible. It’s such a fixed routine in our daily lives that we no longer think about it as technology. It’s just there. Ubiquitous mobile phones are perhaps the best example of this. At JSM we believe that, like technology, analytics also needs to take the next step. The future of analytics lies in embedding itself in almost every phase of the customer’s decision-making process. Future analytics will make the entire experience of using a device or collection of devices and services seamless. JSM wants to be part of this future and this is why we have decided to invest in RYT – a real-time, proximity-based, customer engagement platform.
RYT – Upgrading Your Customer Relationship Management
Consider for a moment these two scenarios:
Scenario 1: E-commerce
Go online and login to an e-commerce portal. What happens?
- The home page is customized to your purchase history / search preferences.
- Relevant-to-you product recommendations are shown.
- Offers and special deals are pushed to you while you are browsing.
Scenario 2: Shopping physically
Now imagine walking into any bricks and mortar store.
- The sales/service assistant might greet you, but it’s an impersonal greeting to a stranger.
- You can move from aisle to aisle checking out offers – but you’ll find no differentiation according to your personal needs and preferences.
- The sales person does not know you and can only answer the questions you ask.
Irrespective of whether you’re a first time visitor or long term customer, this experience does not vary all that much. So where is the value added in taking the time and effort to go to a physical store? This is where RYT comes in – it significantly intensifies your relationship with your customer.
The current generation of Customer Relationship Management (CRM) solutions are post-event and usually lead to sms, email and postal coupons being sent to customers when they are nowhere near the store or not thinking of purchasing. Such campaigns can often be summed up in four flat words high costs – low returns. No wonder then that CRM solutions are seen by merchants overwhelmingly in terms of costs – because their ROI very often is close to zero. By not identifying and adding value to the customer experience or relationship, current CRM systems have become at best point adding mechanisms or at worst redundant.
So where does this leave bricks and mortar retailers and their customers?
As much as retail merchants want to offer superior engagement to their customers, they are handicapped for three main reasons. Creating solutions to remove the handicaps will be key to unlocking value in the bricks and mortar stores.
- They don’t know who’s just walked in the store? This problem is even more acute and pressing in retail chains where customers might walk in to different branches of the chain expecting the same treatment. Identifying customers as soon as they walk in to the store is the first clear need.
- Yet even if a customer is recognized (e.g. as a frequent visitor to the store), front line staff cannot offer them a superior experience because they can hardly remember that particular person’s personal preferences, likes and dislikes etc. So the need is to have a strong data analytics capability that identifies and forwards the relevant information about the customer to the retailer while that customer is still in-store, thus allowing for superior personalized services.
- Fulfillment, the third need, is always a challenge: How does a retailer reach out to ONE single customer and tell them that they are special and thereby create a special shopping experience. The ubiquity of smartphones and their app ecosystem has solved this problem to a large extent.
The promise of RYT
RYT allows you to know where your customer is – up to the last meter, even indoors. It allows personalized, contextual offers for your customers @right place (in store) @right time (while still browsing). This means that the offer the customer receives will be relevant for the store they are in and for the kinds of products or services they like. In real-time!
The key elements of the RYT platform
- Customer app: The customers receives all news / offers and notifications. They can search for stores, offers, make a wish list, and add stores to their favorite lists to get even more special offers.
- Business app: The store staff will receive an alert as soon as the customer walks into the store. This alert includes information about the history of the customer and their preferences. This enables the sales/service staff to create a much better customer experience and give better quality assistance during the sales process.
- Sensors: This is hardware installed in the stores. The sensors help identify customers as they walk in.
- Cloud platform: The platform includes retailer administration (where clients can create and approve campaigns, view analytics reports, manage users etc) together with storage data and retrieve analytics.
At the heart of the RYT platform and forming its main intellectual property are the analytics. Analytics are embedded in all the processes and actions on the RYT platform. For instance, the ability to define relevance (at a merchant outlet for a specific customer) is what will drive analytics and thus make the retailer AND the customer more satisfied!