In the current industry, sectors like organised retail and Consumer packaged Goods (CPG) value chain look for technology products or solutions that help them to run business efficiently. CIOs of these organisations are keen to adopt the latest technologies to enhance customer experience or increase the productivity of employees in the organisation. At present, some of the latest technologies in the area of mobile, RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) and web technologies are used in silos to support part of the retail or CPG value chain.
Leading software firms including ours are keen on developing the power of the integration of mobile, RFID and web to enhance customer experience and the productivity of the employees. This solution is explained below with two business scenarios applicable to the retail or CPG space.
In helping the CPG organisation to provide better experience to retailers
Let’s look at CPG and retail interaction first. It is here that business development executives (BDEs) of CPG companies can take the orders from retailers in their shops, synchronise the orders with the head office and inform the store managers when the products can be supplied.
BDEs carry a mobile phone which has lightweight application downloaded to key in the orders. As soon as they visit retail shops, mobile phones embedded with or externally attached to an RFID reader will read the store and location data into the mobile application. This data will be read from an RFID tag kept in the stores. Mobile application will be filled with store and location details as and when BDEs are ready to enter the order in the application. BDEs can key in other details of the order and submit the order. The keyed orders can be updated in systems in the head office using GPRS connections immediately (it is possible to synchronise the orders at the end of day or whenever BDE goes online again) and representatives in the head office can view the orders using web. BDEs can query the status of the order in mobile to inform the retailers about the exact schedule and timings of the shipment of the products. Here, the mobile-RFID-web integration solution enhances the productivity of employees as they can capture the orders and synchronise immediately. This enhances the retailer’s experience as they can get the status at any point of time.
Let’s look at another scenario for retailers and how it can be used in a fast food retail chain.
In providing superior customer experience
Let’s take into account the strategy being implemented in the QSR retail chains and how it works. In this scenario, suppose a customer with children walks into an outlet of a QSR retail chain and can go to the table directly instead of standing in a queue for ordering foods. He can plug in the RFID reader kept on the table to his mobile phone and download the menu for ordering. RFID reader will read the RFID tags and download these menus into the customer’s mobile phone. Thus, he can order using a downloaded menu in the mobile phone without standing in a queue. Service counter in the outlet will recognise the table from which the order was sent and the food will be delivered accordingly to the customer’s table in a few minutes. Next to that, the bill can be sent to him the same way with a mobile service provider’s help. Even redeemable points can be added to his account if he has registered as a regular customer on the website of the fast food retail chain. Further to that the customer can view these points on web logging into his accounts. The retail chain can also use the web application for announcing promotions or loyalty schemes to its target customers. The integrated solution here enhances customer experiences by avoiding long queues for ordering and payments especially for families with children.
Besides, mobile-RFID integration with a web solution can be used in various scenarios of supply chain and the point of sale as well. Already host of retail and CPG firms are conducting the pilot project of the solutions in various countries. Going forward, one should wait and watch for further development and upgradation of the trend, changing the erstwhile concept of customer experience especially in the retail landscape.
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