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Trends that CPG companies need to be aware from a technology perspective

Posted by Chaitanya K Naga
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Technology is rapidly changing the way people interact, transact and react. Inevitably, some of the personal level conveniences that technology bring are being expected by consumers from business players in a commercial setting. This is increasingly being felt by offline players and would be of great relevance to them. Some of the avenues where digital innovation is disrupting are:

New product / service knowledge

Before paying for any product / service, it is natural for consumers to have a look and feel of what he / she is going to get. Today's consumer is looking for products / services beyond his / her immediate geographical reach. While image sharing has been de facto standard for gaining this new product knowledge, technologically other options are possible - for instance, 360 degree videos offer amazing capability to communicate a holistic imagery. In addition, augmented reality puts the imagery in the context of a consumer. Immersive feel and experience using virtual reality headsets also offers a unique change in trend in experiencing product before purchase.

Touch points

AWS IoT buttons and Amazon Echo have certainly created a technology trend in getting closer to consumers and their homes. Powered by e-commerce, consumers are experiencing convenience of buying and getting things delivered home. This aspiration would naturally be expected from other products / services which have traditionally not embraced the e-commerce path.

Post sale support

As on 2017, we are undeniably in the peak of instant messaging age and no wonder consumers expect sales support to be instant. Is your washing machine broken? You may rather want to share a pic of it while chatting with service representative explaining the problem. New age service centers need to be capable to embrace such inherent need from consumers. Surely, the days of service engineer visiting your consumer's place on a pre-booked appointed time slot would be a thing of the past. Service engineers may in fact show via skype or any other video chatting tool on how to fix things yourself.

Feedback Management

Today's consumer is also getting truly omni-channel. He / she may window shop in e-commerce portals, buy in a physical store, and may complain on social media. New age tools are required to monitor constant feedback across multiple channels to present a holistic consumer journey. And more importantly, need for being responsive to consumer in any of the channel is a unique emerging trend that businesses need to keep a tab on. AI/ML powered bots would be of great use here.

Logistic convenience

Real-time locating of product / services is an extraordinary convenience that technology has bolstered. While it has created its own mark on taxi industry, undeniably more markets are ripe for this potential. Next time your car goes flat, it would certainly be more convenient to spot the nearest repair solution and interact with them real-time. The digital or IT strategy of any retail player needs to factor in potential changes a 'real-time' need warrants.

Conclusion

By the end of 2017, world may see 47 percent of its population having access to internet and experiencing many conveniences it offers. Such conveniences would invariably be spilled and expected from all other players in the industry. Business and IT strategies of businesses need to be ready in embracing such technology led innovation.

About Author

Chaitanya K Naga- Senior Consultant, Open Innovation, CTO Office, Wipro, Ltd.

Chaitanya K N is working as Senior Consultant in Open Innovation team of Wipro. He interacts with startup ecosystem to bring startup innovation to Wipro and enables alliance management with a portfolio of startups across industries. He has developed and implemented a startup evaluation framework - ‘Wipro Lens’, which measures a startup from the perspective of ‘innovation potential’ it offers and its ‘alignment potential’ with Wipro’s offerings.

Chaitanya has professional work experience across sales, finance, consulting functions with industries like consumer goods, aerospace manufacturing and technology. He published and presented his paper on Information Technology trends in a National Conference organized by Information Technology ministry, Govt of India.

Chaitanya is an alumnus of IIM Bangalore (PGP 2011-13) and holds master’s degree in Economics from Osmania University, Hyderabad. He holds bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from JNTU College of Engineering in Hyderabad, with distinction. At IIM Bangalore, he is an active member of Operations Management Club and Students’ Cultural Committee.

In his free time, he pursues public speaking and is a seasoned public speaker, addressing 3000 plus audience on topics ranging from technology to positive thinking. He also designed logos for some of the successful organizations and composed theme songs for events.

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