The Consumer Goods Forum’s (CGF) global marketing, IT and supply chain conference kicked off yesterday following Wednesday’s store tour programme. Combining shared plenary sessions and individual streams for marketing, IT and supply chain, the event welcomed close to 300 delegates from 30 countries looking to share insights and best practices on the challenges facing the consumer goods industry.
Highlights from day 1:
Terry Murphy, director, national distribution centre operations, John Lewis Partnership, UK: during the supply chain stream, Murphy noted how John Lewis is further investing in its logistics to integrate its supply chain processes for e-commerce and store orders as well as click and collect. Murphy explained the significant expansion plans for John Lewis’ Magna Park distribution centre in Milton Keynes. John Lewis is constructing a distribution centre to bring hanging goods into the process. “Currently, 40% of orders with hanging clothes also have an order from Magna Park,” Murphy explained, “and shoppers expect to receive all items of an order consolidated into one delivery.” The new site will be constructed by March 2014 and fully live by mid-2015.
Cenk Gurol, chief SCM officer, Aeon, Japan: also part of the supply chain stream, Gurol unveiled his company’s strategy to have interactive contact with shoppers via their smartphones. “We have built a real omni-channel experience for our shoppers across all our banners and formats, but at the same time, diversified our supply chain to processes that fit best to the different formats”, he said. Gurol also noted that while the shopper experience needed to be consistent, a one-fits-all approach for fulfilment could harm efficiency and flexibility. Customer-facing, AEON offers not only mobile coupons that can be printed at kiosks in stores, but also in-store navigation with voice control and push information on customised promotions on the shoppers’ smartphone through scanning barcodes at home or in the stores.
Mike Yorwerth, group technology and architecture director, Tesco, UK: in one of two early morning breakfast sessions, Yorwerth shared his thoughts on the role of standards in solving retail’s “search and discovery” challenge. He spoke about “digital natives” vs today’s “digital immigrants” and how his children’s generation don’t care about terms like “omni-channel” because they just want to shop, and they do it the way it feels right. He also introduced three major trends that will impact retail over the course of the next decade: cloud computing; blended reality and personalisation. He then spoke about how in 2020 we can expect a digital revolution fueled by information, and as such, it’s vitally important this information is open and standardised. He spoke of the need to leverage product data and how five core items can help the industry get to where it needs to be: GS1 Standards; the CGF’s Next Generation Product Indentification (NGPI) and B2C Information Needs Group (BING) projects, Linked open data and regulation EU 1169.
Howard Saunders, creative director, Echochamber, USA: in his presentation, as part of the marketing stream, Saunders emphasised that retailers today need to be able to cope with the very specific and personalised desires of shoppers, stating, “It’s all about ‘the‘ and not ‘a‘ shopper need”. Over the last 10 years, Saunders noted, many retailers on the hight street have failed to cope with the new challenges of mycommerce and omni-channel and have disappeared from the market. Saunders then gave examples of retailers who came up with new and exciting concepts for their stores. One such example came via Marks & Spencer, who opened an eco-store in Cheshire Oaks that features an area where customers can feel and experience products and then order them online to get delivered to their homes. Saunders noted how this is a clever way of connecting on and offline, showing the need for today’s retailers to handle the omni-channel challenge.
Jill Pratt, vice president, McCormick, USA: also part of the marketing stream, Pratt’s presentation looked at “Winning in Flavour”, emphasising the opportunities available from product-related interactivity with consumers. Introducing McCormick’s new ‘FlavorPrint’ tool, she explained how consumers can create a personal flavour profile online. After answering questions on preferences and dislikes, the tool provides the flavour profile and, based on this, recommends recipes that match the consumer’s preferences. The mission of McCormick is “to save the world from boring food”, and to reach this goal, FlavorPrint offers consumers recipes with ingredients they never tried before, but could like, according to the flavour profile.
Thomas Steinmann, head of CRM/projects, Coop, Switzerland & Christine Fotteler, vice president, solution management, trading industries, SAP, Switzerland: in today’s IT stream, Steinmann and Fotteler talked about the impact of an omni-channel strategy in retail, noting the big challenge for an omni-channel retail organisation is to obtain a 360-degree, real-time view of shoppers across all channels. Delegates learned that Coop had set the goal of creating a personalised, seamless and consistent experience for customers, regardless of where and how the consumer contacted the retailer. This goal created a need for transparency on the item, vendor and customer. It was noted that the challenge to personalising Coop’s customer service was to track shoppers’ activities across all channels and offer relevant services for each of them individually. With SAP CRM as the backbone of Coop’s customer intelligence, Coop is able to unify the view on customer and transaction data across channels; discounts and special offers are then tailored to customers’ needs, based on individual attributes and buying history.