IMAGES Business of Fashion talks to Sarfaraz Miller, IT Head, Celio* India to understand how brands are implementing digital applications to increase brand recall, generate revenue, and create innovative channels for interacting with their consumers…
How important a role does the technology department play in a retail set up when it comes to boosting customer satisfaction levels?
Gone are the days when technology was looked upon as a support function. In the current era, technology plays a vital role as an organisation’s backbone. CIOs are now part of business meetings and play a key role as business drivers along with functional leads. The best part is that technology has been identified as a layer across all functions, a unit which understands business from all perspectives.
Here are some of the key layers of technology focus across retail channels:
– Customer experience with customer engagement solutions
– Supply chain effectiveness and inventory tracking
– Offers, promotions and data analytics
– Product life cycle management
– Enterprise planning and tracking
– Human resource management
What are some of the new technologies that will be indispensable for fashion retail post the COVID 19 pandemic?
Transformations mostly emerge from need. The current COVID-19 pandemic has forced many around the world to rethink our daily lives – from work to entertainment. In response to the situation, many consumers have turned to digital services to make key purchases to continue with a semblance of normality.
Today, technology and digitalisation are not just about implementation of hi-tech systems and services but are now focused towards creating something new that might be an improvement to customer experience, streamlining the supply chain, or using insights from data to offer new products.
With the new norms coming in, and customer behavior and expectations changing, the technologies listed below are expected to get a larger focus going forward:
– Omnichannel retailing
– Digital and mobile checkouts
– Planned schedule driven shopping
– Face scanning and temperature monitoring biometric solution
Extensive use of AI for analysing customer buying patterns and demand fulfilment using RPA might increase as well.
Consumer data is now the world’s most valuable resource at the moment. Tell us about your Consumer Data Management improving approach. What initiatives have you employed to maintain data privacy?
Maintaining customer data quality and time-to-time enrichment is a key focus area for us. Along with data quality and accuracy, security of the same goes hand-in-hand. Customer information security is a primary factor to build customer trust in the brand. We take a lot of measures from authentication controls to audits and ensure security is maintained and monitored periodically. We also upgraded our customer management systems recently to improve customer experience and have better controls on data.
What micro-services are you working on to support in-store applications?
We are exploring some startups and the micro-services provided by them for quick and flexible deployments. Some of the solutions in different phases of implementation are:
– Omnichannel (‘Save the Sale’) helps the store to book cross store sales and tap lost opportunities
– Digitising store checkout flows
– Marketing campaigns and customer communications
– Contactless billing and mobile checkouts
– Service scheduling (store appointments)
How do you go about creating an innovation culture in the company?
With digitisation being the focus across the globe, individuals have started accepting and adopting technology be it mobile apps for personal use or solutions deployed for corporate use. Tech-savvy teams are better equipped to access enterprise information on-the-go and put it to use from anywhere, anytime for business decisions and growth.
Celio* as an organisation focuses on inter-operability and skill development which becomes a scoring goal in business as it defines how easily you can take quick action or make smart decisions.
As of now, how are you re-skilling your work-force to ensure that new ways of working are adopted well?
Work from home has become the need of the hour, it’s no longer an exception. To maintain business continuity there were steps taken to keep the teams connected via various channels and approaches. Video conferencing has become the new normal, we are using this collaboration channel extensively for communications as well as utilising the current lock down period to train and reskill team members.
We have designed refresher courses and formed smaller groups of teams across regions to upskill the front-end staff, identified product experts and initiated product trainings and have also utilised this phase to relook at our SOPs with an objective to increasing productivity.