How big data will revolutionise in-store shopping

Digitalisation is dramatically changing the in-store shopping experience, big data will make real-time connectivity with in-store promotions possible.

When we talk about how technology has changed the way we shop, most people automatically think of the internet and online stores. But digitalisation is transforming the in-store experience as well.

Until now there has been little transparency about the journey of a promotional product through the supply chain, which leaves suppliers and retail decision-makers with unanswered questions. To get the sale, you need to know if the goods made it from the delivery bay to the storefront. How long were they on promotion for? Were they in front of consumers in time to coincide with advertising? After all, there is no point pushing big budgets onto advertising if a product is unavailable to buy.

Being involved at each point in the Supply Chain, CHEP has seen how visibility through data answers many of these questions. Digitalisation for its own sake is just complexity, but when it is used to solve specific questions such as these, it boosts sales and efficiency. Thanks to new methods of data collection it’s now possible to track the millions of tonnes of consumer goods that are moved every year, from delivery through to the storefront, and know – in real-time – exactly when product is in front of the consumer. This will bring increased visibility around how promotions are executed, and therefore the opportunity to sell more.

Future developments can even move into load sensor technology. These will transmit real-time information about the number of units selling, and the exact time they sell, which can be correlated with external data such as weather and temperature to provide valuable insights. For example, a retailer in an usually hot summer can know exactly how much stock is in each store, how quickly it is selling, which shelves need replenishing, and will even be able to notify consumers when stock is low, or when new stock has arrived.

This is not the only way the technology will be useful to shoppers. They can opt to receive real-time push notifications – with offers or discount codes – as they pass a promotion in store, enabling them to buy what they want, at the best price. Today’s consumers – who have become used to same-day deliveries and digital updates as the norm - expect real-time information. By pushing forward into real-time data it will become possible for retailers to provide the speedily reactive service consumers are demanding from all their shopping outlets.

Of course, with data collection comes responsibility. There is the need to adhere to privacy laws, which is why CHEP has been testing our technology first in Germany, where privacy of data is absolutely key. It is also essential to maximise the learnings from this vast amount of data and ensure everyone involved finds it beneficial; from suppliers and retailers, to those working in marketing and advertising, and of course the end-user, the shopper.

From our unique place in the end-to-end supply chain we see big data collection, analysis and integration as the next revolution in our – and our customers’ – business. This is not just “going digital” for digital’s sake. It’s the next step in our goal to make the supply chain work better. To help the world move more with less: more goods, more cost-effectively and more sustainably, with less waste, less risk and less inefficiency.

After all, what could be a greater way to use our rapidly digitalizing world than to help companies work together?

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By Christophe Loiseau, Senior Vice-President Europe, CHEP


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