What are the challenges of Digital Transformation in enterprises?
Driven by the current pandemic reality, consumer behavior has rapidly shifted to online shopping. It seems clear to state that the most significant opportunities for the future of retailer are digital: even before the "Covid-19 effect" it was already a clear trend. Consumers spend much of their time on their smartphones, checking the news, looking at their social networks and searching for what to buy. This was evident in the period of lockdown with store closures, where it became absolutely tangible how vital the digital sales channel is today. Regardless of how it evolves in the coming months, what is certain is that the role of the physical store has changed forever and brands and retailers need to move agilely with fast-changing consumer behavior if they want to remain successful.
What is IoT and how does it make life easier for retailers?
Data is becoming increasingly important to brands. The connectivity of devices (RFID readers, for example) brings endless opportunities to improve omnichannel services in your store, improve your stock levels and make product accessible to the customer faster. Controlling, for example, what you sell and to whom you sell it in a simpler way is possible thanks to technological solutions. In my opinion, this is a pillar on which the hyper-personalization of the consumer shopping experience will be built in the coming years.
The benefits of hyper-personalization to personalize the customer offer thanks to Big Data management, predictive analytics, AI, machine learning, cloud and radio frequency identification (RFID).
The wide range of technologies available to retail today is super wide and allows brands to position themselves in an increasingly relevant way towards their customers. Undoubtedly, the right combination of these technologies enables a much more individualized shopping experience tailored to the specific needs and tastes of the individual consumer. This results in more profitable collections. At Nedap we always advocate that the best shopping experience for a customer is based on the right availability of the item the customer wants, at the right time and in the right place. There, without a doubt, RFID is key.
The consumer has become hyper-demanding and if you want to avoid failing with an online order, stock must be under control, otherwise you are likely to end up losing a customer to your competition.
What is the role of new technologies, such as RFID, in the digital transformation?
RFID itself is a very mature technology, as it has been around for decades and has been widely adopted in many industries. In retail we see that many companies that were initially just evaluating the technology are now taking steps to actively adopt it. This is a result of the need for reliable stock that allows for more confidence while deploying omnichannel services such as Ship-from-Store or Click&Collect. The consumer has become hyper-demanding and if you want to avoid failing with an online order, stock must be under control, otherwise you are likely to end up losing a customer to your competition.
Multitask RFID: what can RFID do for the retail value chain? Inventory agility? Anti-theft? Customer interaction?
All of the above and even more, the possibilities are endless. That is why it is so important to focus on RFID implementation. At Nedap we help retailers to have a unified view of their stock, wherever it is in their supply chain. This enables merchandise to be tracked from its origin in the factory to the consumer. When stock accuracy is perfect, you can add services such as customer interaction, item recommendations based on, for example, purchase history or viewed items. We realize that many retailers and brands want to be able to use their stock where it is most needed at any given moment, whether in-store or for online ordering. Thanks to RFID, retailers can also turn their stores into proximity distribution centers and fulfill their customers' on/off orders, speeding up delivery processes and becoming more sustainable.
When it comes to loss prevention, Nedap is a benchmark. We have implemented RFID-based EAS solutions in many projects and the number of use cases is growing. Based on the data that RFID feeds, a store employee, for example, can easily check whether a returned item has ever been sold or not, as RFID technology allows storing sales data on a single item level. If the system does not recognize the item as sold, it is most likely a fraudulent return. In addition, for example, currently in-demand services such as Mobile Self-checkout are easier for the customer to perform and much safer for the retailer also thanks to RFID, as it will trigger an alarm if it hasn't been paid for.
During the covid-19 pandemic, we have experienced the obvious suffering that this situation has left on the elderly: lockdown, loneliness, fear, pain, grief, sadness... How have your healthcare solutions for our elderly acted in this context?
I am glad you asked me this question because of its importance in the times we are living in although, unfortunately, it is not a Nedap business activity operating in Spain. In any case, I would like to point out that Nedap Healthcare helps people to give and receive the best possible care, seeking a balance between wellness, quality and cost-effectiveness. We do this by stimulating cooperation, simplifying processes and sharing our values throughout the healthcare sector. An example of this is the software we developed that minimizes the caregiver's administrative tasks, allowing more hours to be spent on actual patient care. In addition, Nedap Healthcare has also developed a customer portal that has been widely used during this pandemic period due to restrictions on nursing home visits. Caregivers, family members and customers use it frequently to keep in touch and to stay informed about the health of their family member in the nursing home.
Sustainability in the retail value chain, utopia or reality?
Absolutely reality. Sustainability is one of the main purchase drivers today and is gaining importance in the purchasing decision. Just look at the initiatives already in place by many brands, as the need for sustainable business practices is a must. At Nedap we are convinced that the ability to trace items from the moment of production contributes greatly to this goal. Consumers are becoming more and more demanding when it comes to transparency in manufacturing origin, resources used and conscious production. This is why having real-time stock information throughout the supply chain provides differentiating information to brands.
It is already a fact that in the short term, our customers can benefit from reduced emissions in the delivery of online orders, thanks to the availability of reliable real-time stock that allows them to serve the order from the store closest to the customer. This can only be achieved if you really know what is available throughout the distribution network.
In the mid-term, having information at the single item level from the source will allow you to offer the customer additional value on the product and make it visual thanks to real-time queries on the same item that motivate the customer to buy.
Efficient and sustainable last mile, the challenge of omnichannel profitability.
The implementation of omnichannel services with RFID enables a clear reduction of the carbon footprint in delivery, as it allows brands to use the inventory of the store network to serve online orders in the last mile, but in an efficient way. Having reliable, real-time stock information will prevent delivery errors, redirection of deliveries due to stock-outs (even from locations far away from the destination) and unnecessary cancellations due to inventory errors.
What is Nedap working on today to integrate the store of the future?
I like the fact that you ask me this question because the store of the future is not very different from the store of the past. Let me explain. The customer and their in-store experience has been, is and will be based primarily on the fact that if they like a product, they will buy it. If, as a brand, we are not able to guarantee this, then no technological investment you make in the store will be able to generate an excellent shopping experience.
The store of the future will be experiential and customized to each customer. It is about creating a brand experience, motivating the customer to buy and, once achieved, the delivery of the product is key. Therefore, inventory must be accurate, the product must always be available and that is when the customer's loyalty and trust in the brand will grow.