Home CIO Special Sunil Nair, Sr. VP, IT & Business Solutions, SPAR India (Max Hypermarkets)

Sunil Nair, Sr. VP, IT & Business Solutions, SPAR India (Max Hypermarkets)


What according to you are the three biggest/most important changes happening in the world of technology?

– AI (Artificial Intelligence)-The more data an AI system has, the quicker it can learn and the more accurate it becomes.
– Virtual Reality- VR will have more control over how their customers experience the shopping experience in ways they never could before in a physical store.
– IoT – Internet of Things which encompasses smart, connected products like smart phones and smart watches is a major contributing factor in this exponential increase in data.

How do you think these changes will impact Indian retail?

Retailers will continue to adopt emerging technologies to close the gap between the digital and physical worlds, and to learn more about consumers. Mobile will become an increasingly important part of the retail equation as stores also evolve. And throughout the industry, retailers will attain more data about their shoppers and use artifi cial intelligence to enhance their marketing and merchandising. Personalisation in retail will play a important role as well. Retailers will use data and AI platforms to better engage customers with personalised shopping experience both online and in the store.

What are the 3 game changing technologies in the space of customer experience?

IoT/ Blockchain/ Crypto currencies

What are the top priorities for you in the coming years you as CIO of the company/ brand?

Mobile First: To design the offerings around how customers use their devices and the retailer’s app or mobile site.
Checkout experience is the key: Retailers need to deep dive on improving the checkout experience, including POS promotions and in-store fulfillment. It all comes down to creating lasting experiences for our customers.
Machine Learning: Machine Learning can help them automatically discover hidden opportunities, accelerate tedious processes, and identify which data insights matter.

Top 3 challenges retailers will face from a Technology point of view in India?

Multichannel Buying Experiences: Customers are moving seamlessly between online and offline experiences, and are open to retailers who can best facilitate these transitions.
Seamless Experience: During the transitioning between online and in-store experiences, customers not only want the same products to be available, they also want their experience to be seamless.
Customer Loyalty: Customer experience is the biggest contributor towards brand loyalty, with a negative experience being the most significant factor in affecting a customer’s likelihood to make a repeat visit.

How is IoT shaping up the industry? Tell us about the role and significance of IoT in your company?

Retailers will make greater use of beacons, sensors and the IoT devices to drive the in-store experience in 2018. IoT will be the tool that can finally bridge the gap between the digital and physical worlds as it finally offers the ability to obtain and use data in stores. Retailers will be able to use these devices to gather more information about consumers in the store and convert that into data that can also be used online and through mobile. They will pilot more IoT programs to enhance store entry, customer interaction, improve merchandising and off er more rapid checkout. We are in the process of implementing IoT for Inventory management, improving in-store experience through personalised marketing and energy management.

What would success look like for you in a couple of years in terms of the company and technology?

– To provide a delightful seamless experience across different channels, by understanding our audience and adapt to being more relevant, engaging & useful.
– To be able to meet the expectation of our customers.
– To address privacy of our customers and provide them a delightful experience.

Your top 3 favourite retail technologies, which you would like to introduce in India?

– Introducing technology systems & processes that would help reduce this percentage would be a break-through for costs and aid in profits for the retail industry.
– Technology that analyses the customer journey & behaviour across different channels to map out a complete consumer personality.
– Moving away from smartphones & tapping into smaller, wearable gadgets that connect to IoT and provide access to information & services.