The retail sector has already undergone disruption with the coming of e-commerce and online retail. In the latest wave of technologies, Internet of Things devices are set to change the rules of the retail industry. From transforming the processes of internal business to changing the way products are marketed to end consumers, the retail industry stands to gain a lot from the Internet of Things (IoT).
In the light of these developments, India is set to witness the launch of a first of its kind Internet-of-Things device, ‘NiAmos’, which is touted as a mash up of solutions for many problems that the industry is facing.
A 10-member team with a varied background of digital media, social media, data-analytics and technology has been working on NiAmos with a target to install 10000 stores in the next 6 months and 1 Mn NiAmos across the country and selected parts of Asia over the next 3 years. In the absence of any strong competitors, NiAmos claims to be much ahead of even Apple's iBeacon, which is just an indoor proximity system to push offers to customers, used moderately in the USA.
It seeks to resolve some of the challenges faced by the retail sector today, most of which arise at the point of sale.
Sale (on discount) is becoming a marketing mechanism among competing brands. The discounting period, over the past three years, shows that it has gone up from 34 days to 45 days. Till four years back, discounts contributed 15% to the total sales. It has increased to 22% now which may be a problem from a brand’s perspective. While customers should ideally visit stores because of good merchandise and not ‘offers’, the vice-versa may have become true. Therefore, in the present day scenario brands need to understand where the gaps in merchandise are, which can only stem from understanding the consumer better.
The mix of a few open-source technologies, the NiAmos framework is fresh and keeps social media and ‘share-ability’ at the center of all its processes. NiAmos aims to be the humanoid that works on the understanding of decisive and impulse purchase behaviors. The connected application reaches its audience through their hand held devices and its artificial intelligence builds on profile history to support the delivery of in-store experience.
It is a device that can identify your digital followers when they visit you. It is capable of providing unique offers to different consumers and has features like auto tagging of offers, ‘bar codes’ to identify special content and ‘unique codes’ which help it produce highly relevant results at the point of sale.
NiAmos is for brands that have embraced social media and understand that it’s the way forward. It is intended to be used by big retail chains, fast food global players, super markets/hyper marts and stand alone restaurants currently. There are plans to expand it in future to individual brands owing to its scalability across categories. Brands intending to work on Geofencing might find NiAmos very effective because the take-away for brands is NiAmosIQ, an intelligent dashboard for brands to identify, monitor and enhance performance of marketing investments towards sales conversion.
LIQVD Asia started by Arnab Mitra, Mayur Sethi and Zubin Nalawalla is the company that has conceptualized, created and launched NiAmos. Tagged as Asia's first experiential marketing company, its DNA is to conceptualize and execute connected media spaces that focus on relevant industry challenges. Although retail has had limited benefit from this entire social media wave because of non-connection between the real and the digital world, NiAmos drives the same concept home, smart and easy. Internet of Things (IoT), being their core, they have only focused on the same while working for some clients like Adidas Originals, Axis Bank, Glanbia, SennheiserSg, and PropertyGuru etc.
With a firm understanding of the sensitivities of the retail segment currently around any kind of investments, one unit of NiAmos is priced at US $ 199 and have a nominal monthly service fee to use all the web-based interfaces which make a retailer ride on ‘decisive shopping’ and ‘impulse purchase’ behavior thus improving the ROI of the business.
In the future, NiAmos also seeks to provide services like
- Suggestive Promotion, which will be an intelligence robot working with the sales team to build promotion based data.
- Targeted Ads which will be produced with greater emphasis on interactivity
- Competition Analysis based on cross-business intelligence gathered over a substantial period of time.
With the product prototyping in place, data collection has started and although it is yet to be used by any specific brands, the expectations are but engaging. And with such potential, future prospects are intriguing!