Retailers who provide different customer experience will be ahead in competition: Kamal Brar

In conversation with Kamal Brar, Vice President and General Manager of APAC, Hortonworks, who talks about how tech innovations like AI and Big Data are enhancing the retail experience.
Kamal Brar, Vice President and General Manager of APAC, Hortonworks

The new tech trends in retail landscape is not only benefitting retailers in better sales forecasting, planning and budgeting, but even helping customers elevate the shopping experiences, tells Kamal Brar, Vice President and General Manager of APAC, Hortonworks, while in a conversation with Indian Retailer

How is customer experience influencing the latest tech innovations in retail industry?
Customer Experience (CX) is an area which is witnessing rapid innovations due to advancement and consumerization of technologies. It is no longer about creating an omni-channel experience alone as real-time analytics has begun to disrupt the way retailers engage their customers while they are shopping, whether online or offline at the store. Only those retailers who create differentiated CX would be able to jump the curve ahead of competition.

Tell us about how Big Data is changing the face of retail landscape.
Low CAPEX and higher compute power due to cloud technologies has democratized the use of Big Data in the retail industry. Retailers can now weave their loyalty programs as per the insights from data analytics leading to higher conversion rates and improved customer delight index. Big Data is enabling cross selling and upselling at the point of purchase increasing average ticket size. Retailers also have better control over inventory and view into sales forecasting, planning and budgeting due to Big Data technologies.

How are tech trends like AI, Big Data benefiting retailers?
Chatbots powered by AI not only enable customer relationship management but also enhance sales. AI will also power interactive screens or applications on the shop floor in the coming years.

How is ML, AI enhancing real time customer experience?
Customers can get cumulative view into the inventory of stores in their vicinity, price comparisons thanks to ML powered location aware apps. Walk-out apps wherein customers can shop and pay using their smartphones is being experimented by few large retailers in the US leveraging AI and ML technologies. We will see many more interesting use cases of ML, AI in enhancing real-time customer experience in the future.

What are the trends to look forward to in the retail tech space?  
AI, ML and Big Data technologies will elevate CX in ways never imagined before, considerably reducing human interface for tactical functions at a store. 

Kamal Brar