TalkingTails, Retail Customer Engagement and other stuff!

I’ve largely been off blogging at TalkingTails for a while. There were a whole lot of movie reviews, food reviews, and travel reviews that I used to blog about, but a lot of that seems to have dried up. Mostly work-related travel, long hours and married life are the factors I attribute this to. These have clearly managed to keep me away from my most interesting (and probably also most consistent) hobby over the last decade – blogging!

multi-channel-retail

The good news is that I have kept the “blogging fire” alive at least professionally – having started a new blog focused on Retail Customer Engagement – RetailNeo, and contributing to the official blog of Capillary Technologies, where I have been working for close to a couple of years now. In case you were a regular reader at TalkingTails – and haven’t been seeing enough content here – do hope over to some of the content I’ve been posting at these other couple of places.

As with everything I’ve done in the past, I’m super-passionate about some of the things happening in the Intelligent Customer Engagement space – around Retail and eCommerce, In store technologies, digital marketing, big data analytics – essentially the whole ecosystem around CEM (Customer Experience Management), the next “phase” of CRM if you will. It’s an exciting space – and if you have anything to do with it, I’d like to hear what’s going on?! 🙂

Money2020: Quite a confluence & Capillary’s InStore launch

The thing about a conference like Money2020 is pretty much the fact that there a few conferences that are fairly broad in subject matter and audience. It lies at a very interesting cross-road that brings together people from the 4 very key areas that affect everyday commerce – Retail, Banking, Technology and Marketing.

With leading companies (both large corporates, as well as innovative companies) that participated in the 2013 edition of Money2020, it was quite the proverbial ‘melting pot’ of ideas, if you will. Though from a purely personal perspective, I would have loved to see more retailers there!

That being said, I think the content of show the show was spot on – and there were lots of interesting talks, sessions, workshops on things like the future of payments, BITCoin, social commerce, and even “Personalization”. At Capillary Technologies (where I work), we launched the Capillary “InStore”, which is a part of Capillary’s suite of Intelligent Customer Engagement solutions. (Find the official Press Release here).

With the content of the show attracting the really big ones (American Express, Bank of America, Google, Paypal and the likes), we were glad to be presenting at a innovation showcase format called “Launchpad 360”, where we were able to present and demo the product to the audience of the show. There were quite a few really interesting companies in there at LaunchPag360.

Capillary presentation in progress at Money2020 Launchpad 360
Capillary presentation in progress at Money2020 Launchpad 360

One of our co-participants at LaunchPad360 was a company called Loop Pay, that seems to have built a great working prototype of contact-less payment, enabling people to pay through their phones. Something like a digital wallet of all your credit cards. I mention them here because pulling off a live demo in front of a large audience is not an easy task – and these guys did it quite well. So did we, actually! 😉

Among the speakers at the sessions from a very diverse backgrounds, was – Shivaraj Subramanian, who heads Consumer Insights at Magura Garments, one of Capillary’s customers. Owned by the Aditya Birla Group, Madura is one of the largest retail companies in India, operating brands and retail formats like Peter England, Van Huesen and Planet Fashion.

The 4-day conference at the Aria Resort, Las Vegas, was quite engaging. True to the content, they kept users hooked through innovative use of Twitter, and a useful mobile app, among other things, and the show seemed to have something for everyone!

C-Tailing & Omni-Channel Commerce

Future of Retail

At the recently concluded NRF’s (National Retail Federation‘s),  BIG SHOW 2013, attendees were introduced to an emerging concept in customer engagement by NCR, (the National Cash Register Company).

I actually liked how they positioned this new paradigm – they call it c-tailing (or Converged Retailing) for a C2B marketplace. While traditional business models revolved on either B2B or B2C businesses, C2B lays down that starting now, it is the consumers that will reach out to businesses and enable transactions, rather than the other way around.

Some key highlights:

  1. Digital Discovery through ‘Experiential’ stores – guided by real-time social media reviews, etc.
  2. Take on Showrooming head-on, by enabling WiFi inside the stores and matching online prices
  3. Converged retail models including ‘Buy Online, Pick up at Store’
  4. Personalized web portals for a more relevant online buying experience
  5. Use Social + Mobile to enable Collaborative Shopping

Will be interesting to see how this space evolves. I’m watching closely!

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