Sramana Mitra: I’m trying to understand what are good interesting Internet of Things use cases, not the process of how you service clients.
Michael Martin: One interesting use case from the experiment stage is we work with a large grocer who has typical business objectives that a large grocery retailer would have. In that experiment phase, we developed a prototype application to showcase for them what they could do in the store with some location-based mobile technology. What we did is, we used some technology that communicates with the mobile phone through Bluetooth. We showed them how they could integrate a grocery shopping list app into their existing customer application, and how as the customer moves throughout the store, that would filter that shopping list to show customers items that were close to them. Again, in that stage, that was a very quick prototype that we built. We showed them that just to stimulate some ideas around things that they could do with IoT technology in the store.
Sramana Mitra: That’s interesting. My husband and I have said this at Costco many times while walking the floors, “Can’t find where that is.” Costco is such a large footprint retail operation. Something like this would be really helpful to be able to optimize that shopping experience.
Michael Martin: Absolutely. From a customer experience standpoint, it adds value. It helps you avoid those circle back trips. If you use a written list, for example, you might pass through the produce section and get two items. Then when you get to the dairy section, you realize that there was another produce item that you have to circle back for. Above and beyond the transformation on the customer experience, it also creates an amazing amount of new data for the retailers themselves.
If I’m building a grocery shopping list before I enter the store and I hit that first location beacon at the door, the grocer knows what items I came into the store to buy. When I check out, they know what items I actually did buy. The retailer then has new data around what I came into the store to buy and what I bought on impulse. It can give them some new insights for future promotion. They also have new data around the path that I took in the store.
There are lots of shopper tracking technologies available that use cameras to track flow through the store. Now you have additional data points on how the mobile application was checking in with various beacons in the store. I think it’s a good example of the two real avenues of value that a customer can get from IoT, both changing the customer experience and also getting that data either for operational or on-going analytical value.