Another fruitful conversation with two different industry leaders, fashion and food. Our guest speakers were this time Gionata Galdenzi and Manaure Stoop.
Gionata is the ecommerce manager of the Aeffe Spa, the group led by Moschino.
How will the personalization of the shopping experience help the fashion sector to be more human after this crisis?
Answer: The consumer expects signals from the fashion world, restarting on the right concepts and values such as solidarity and ecology, there are brands that had already started this process before and others that will have to do it after this “Covid19 period”. It will be a moment of restart that will start from the white color and the colors will gradually reappear as a neutral palette in which a new world will be drawn. From a scenario that was only hypothesized as NIRVANA, we got there in just over a month, that is, a model of company entirely connected internally and externally both suppliers and consumers. We will not see the result in the short but probably have earned several years in this direction. In the fashion industry the password is “Customer Service” and “Personal Shopping” with the aim of transmitting their values in an ever more in-depth relationship.
Three tips that you feel like giving to other ecommerce to turn a crisis into an opportunity? The three keywords that cannot be missing in 2021 in reference to future e-commerce trends
Answer: Digital– make sure that the company really thinks digitally and smart.
Investments in technology, make sure that the budget for this item is not at the bottom of the list but at the beginning, which is the first topic of discussion.
Technology– guiding processes and solutions and not just thinking I need this and acquiring only the software/hardware, the key lies in creating the requirements and leading the game (e.g. virtual showroom). Everything exists, you just have to apply it.
Recovery plan or innovation plan? Which stages of the supply chain will have the most significant impact on performance?
Answer: Surely it will take a more flexible supply chain, because before the times were no longer correct (even Armani in recent articles …), but the most fundamental asset will be IT, which will have the burden and honor to support the business in this disruptive evolution, it will have to be an intense and productive relationship, with its ups and downs but with the same goals (a bit like batman and robin, sherlock and holmes, artù and lancelotto).
To close, the speed the flexibility and the right values will make the difference together with the right technology.
The second guest speaker was Manaure Stoop, IoT Product Owner en Nestlé.
How the IoT can help companies survive and win from this crisis. How will the lockdown be used later? Do you think we will have an acceleration of its implementation?
Answer: Let’s first put some context on IoT.
Some car companies have been sending data via IoT for decades already, but why is the “Connected Car Boom” happening now? Why are there so many home devices with wifi capabilities now? This is happening mainly because our data storage and processing capabilities have grown significantly in the last decade.
IoT is a technology that is not “new”, but even though it is still in its growing phase from a technology and adoption point of view. We also have to consider the nature of the technology itself. By definition in order to do Iot we need hardware (sensors, actuators, interfaces..) and the development cycles are very much dependent on their factory production cycles, which limits the technology from an agility perspective. This means that probably we could start seeing IoT specific solutions for this health crisis in the market in approximately 6 months.
Taking into account these 2 characteristics from IoT, we need to understand that the technology response time might not be as fast as technology like eCommerce, but this doesn’t mean that it won’t be important. With IoT as a company we can :
- Save on operational costs: imagine a connected vending machine that sends its performance data so that the company can apply machine learning algorithms for predictive maintenance and optimizes their operations and avoids sending a maintenance operator.
- Increasing your customer consuming behavior knowledge: to know how and when your customers consume your products
- Increase brand loyalty: you have a new interaction and/or communication channel.
In terms of seeing an acceleration on the technology implementation, I believe there will be an increase, but from a consumer adoption point of view. This will depend a lot on each company investment strategy. Take into account that enabling connectivity on a device has a cost and remember we are facing one of the world’s biggest economic crisis. A lot of companies will face the hard decision of investing in this or not. From my humble point of view, I think that the ones that decide to stop connecting their devices will have a handicap vs their competitors, and we will face the typical after crisis effect where some companies will raise and some will sadly fall.
With the user behavior changing because of the lockdown, we see an increase in the necessity of remotely interacting with a brand and I have no doubt that IoT is one channel from which we can take much advantage of.
How is the food sector being further digitized in this period?
Answer: On one side I think we have the obvious impact which is the “working from home” paradigm because on one side you have a lot of people working from home, which I believe it hasn’t been much of a digital challenge, but on the other side, you have a lot of people working in production lines, where right now there is a significant stress and need to keep social distancing and health measures to avoid spreading the virus. We will see, for example, investment in health like body temperature monitoring and optimizing much more, through robotics and IoT manufacturing lines.
I think the lockdown period has been too short to already see a substantial change in digitalization, but the food industry has been already turning more digital in the last 5 years in so many fronts: from digital marketing, agile ways of working, working with a digital product approach, and even more interesting, new business models triggered by this new technology.
Nestlé, to give an example, has been investing in different digital technologies to improve their business like:
- Mobile Applications
- Social Networks
- Inbound Marketing
We are in unprecedented times which of course generate unprecedented consuming behaviors, that means that now we are testing the agility on our already existing products, and in some cases our capacity to scale
Three tips you would give to companies that focus on IoT to create value for consumers. How could they bring profit?
Answer: Each industry has its own peculiarities and uses cases, but what is the same for all is: in order to generate sustainable benefit, we need to provide value to our consumers/users. This is the great strategic, financial, and creative challenge that all industries have when doing consumer-facing IoT.
My three advice would be:
- Not implementing IoT just because we can. It is a complex technology, and if we don’t have a clear use case, with an associate business case, that we can validate in our first product iterations, it could end up at a substantial expense for the company.
- To have a clear data strategy. There are several transactional use cases that generate a lot of data, where we can bring value to the user, but if we don’t design it in a way so we can, later on, take advantage and process that data, we will lose the data. At some point, it is very expensive.
- To transform that data into something usable. Also, take into account the time necessary for storing data before you can do something with it in your business cases. Machine learning algorithms require an important volume of data, which depending on the industry could take up to 1 year to gather.
Gather your business, analysts, UX, technology experts, and come up with great connected devices use cases and experiences and invest in IoT. Don’t leave it only to one area of the company.