I was intrigued by a reference to Julia Roberts in a recent business meeting. No, this has nothing to do with her movie, “Eat Pray Love.” As a matter of fact I encountered this reference during a discussion of how consumer mobile apps might become enterprise relevant! Well, here is the gist of it…
Imagine you are shopping at a cosmetics store and are shown on a screen what Julia Roberts looks like in certain make-up! Now, with the right app you could, with just a few clicks and snaps, see yourself on a screen with the same make-up elements. Some may not want to look like Julia Roberts, while some may prefer no make-up altogether, but hopefully you see that this opens up a whole new set of possibilities for retail and consumer products enterprises to go after their customers.
In such a scenario, personalized content would be provided in real time to the consumer in the field before a purchasing decision is made. Unlike traditional solutions where companies merely broadcast generic information, a consumer- centric solution can tie consumer location and interests to loyalty programs, inventory information and promotions, to create a highly personalized shopping experience for maximum impact on sales.
This is significant on multiple fronts. For one, such use of smart phones (and other such mobile devices) and their ubiquity will enable enterprises to drive their business proactively and in true real time, rather than work with historical data – we shall no longer be restricted to looking in the rear-view mirror for now the insights could be instant and remarkably adapted to an individual end-user. Second, in the consumer products and retail space loyalty is a significant factor and the ability to guide a consumer’s decision can go a long way in cementing that bond.
Even if you are not from a consumer products/retail organization, this example should excite you because it is illustrative of the fact that as long as we are willing to move beyond status quo and are prepared to reinvent our processes there are incredible gains in the offing.
Subsequent to this rather interesting meeting, I happened to meet with Herve Pluche, from SAP’s Consumer Mobile Initiative, who further enlightened me on the exciting field of Consumer Products/Retail Consumer Mobile solutions. For those of you who might be interested, SAP will be showcasing a working prototype of a consumer mobile solution, designed through co-innovation with a large European grocery retailer, at the SAP Retail Forum (http://bit.ly/c6i2AV) in Las Vegas on October 14, 2010.