A technological push to help retail stores go digital
Capgemini US, Intel, and Micro Industries have announced a joint retail technology initiative that they hope will change the whole retail shopping experience for consumers - Retail Media Networks (RMNs).
RMNs are essentially networked, multimedia-based in-store kiosks that provide consumers with product information, directions for finding products in the store, product news and information, complementary promotions and services, as well as paid advertising - all of which can be customised in real-time based on the shopper's interactions with products in the store.
Better customer experience Currently in use by several large global retailers, RMNs offer consumers on-demand, interactive, rich-media information that can make shopping easier, faster and even more fun. Customers can use technological advances from tablet computers attached to shopping carts (which can track purchases and ring up sales in real-time) to kiosks with touch-screen displays that offer shoppers access to products and services not available in the store, and even interactive high-definition digital screens throughout the store that offer customised information based on the time of day, consumer demographics, or seasonal changes.
Employee improvement The three companies say that RMNs can also help improve store operations and employee productivity by providing staff with information about new products or promotions that can be accessed during off-peak times, when the RMNs aren't in use by shoppers.
According to Robert Ferguson, Retail Industry Strategy and Solutions Manager for Intel, "Research has shown us that consumers are looking for an innovative, digital shopping experience. RMNs combine standards-based information technologies to help retailers and consumer products manufacturers deliver the content their customers are looking for, which can help them to gain business advantage through increased sales and deeper customer relationships."
Customer-based adaptation RMN-based advertising is adaptable to changing consumer behaviour. For example, it can be tailored to an individual store brand, specific store locations, or even single operational events. An RMN can also be adjusted quickly to respond to consumer reactions, and can even be tailored to an individual shopper by coordination with a store loyalty programme. All of these adjustments can be made in real-time, allowing manufacturers and retailers to make subtle changes, either automated or directed, on the fly to maximize sales and profits as conditions change.
Brian Girouard, Global Consumer Products and Retail Sector Leader for Capgemini, said: "RMNs also give both the retailer and the consumer product manufacturer the opportunity to influence buying decisions in a way never before seen. They reach the consumer while they are still in the store, and still in the act of deciding what to buy."
Technology platform The RMNs being put forward by the three partners are based on an integrated set of media and display solutions, powered by Intel platforms including Intel Xeon processor-based servers that power the back office applications. These deliver content to the store and analyse customer behaviour data. Also included in the mix are mobile phones and PDAs, based on Intel Mobile Media Technology, and laptops based on Intel Centrino mobile technology, which can deliver content anywhere, at any time.
Michael Curran, CEO for Micro Industries, added: "This is not a promise about the future. Current deployments indicate our customers are benefiting from the strategic advantage of this technology now."