Mindtree has released the findings of a study on how rapidly evolving digital trends like social media, mobile apps & automation are reshaping the way retailers engage with customers. Titled Sixth Sense of Retail, the study is based on a survey conducted with 2,000 consumers across in UK by Censuswide – an independent polling company.

The study has identified widely diverse shopper preferences across age and gender pertaining to new retail technologies like automation, artificial intelligence and robotics. Over half [51 per cent] of young shoppers in the age group of 16-24 years were comfortable with the idea of automated technologies and would visit robot-driven stores.

78 per cent of older shoppers over 55 years of age were apprehensive about this trend. Additionally, opinions were divided by gender with 44 per cent of men happy with a robotic shopping experience, compared with just 30 per of women. In order to address this sharp divide retailers should adopt a balanced mix of technology and human assistance to accommodate customers of different ages and genders.

The study also states that there is a growing demand for retailers to deliver more personalized experiences with nearly one in five [17 per cent] of 16~24 year olds asking for more personalized engagement from retailers throughout the purchasing cycle. It also highlights the influence of social media on shopping decisions.

Facebook has been reaffirmed as the most influential social platform with just under one third of consumers [32 per cent] acknowledging it as a major influencer for shopping and purchasing decisions. Retailers therefore need to harness social media channels to drive brand loyalty by harvesting the growing volumes of customer data available across multi-channels. Consumers should be reached through social channel engagements that are personalized around preferences the retailer is looking at appealing to.

Infographic Source – Mindtree Sixth Sense of Retail Report

Further, as more consumers go online to make purchases, it is important retailers create content that is optimised for mobile platforms. They should focus on building strong digital relationships with customers, providing the blueprint for successful conversions both in-store and online.

Anil Gandharve, Associate Vice President of Retail, CPG and Manufacturing, Mindtree said

The retail industry has an exciting future ahead, but the key to success will be driven by the right balance between technology and in-store human experience. Additionally, retailers need to harness personalized customer information available through social media and mobile phone apps, to develop more impactful customer relationships.

Sixth Sense of Retail report is available here and the infographic is available here

To enhance and complement the overall movie going experience, India’s largest entertainment ticketing platform-BookMyShow, has expanded its ‘MyCoupons‘ offering to 45 cities across India. MyCoupons are exclusive & free discount coupons that can be availed at popular restaurants & cafes in the vicinity of the cinema a user is visiting. With a validity of two days [including the day of the movie show], a user can pick upto two Free MyCoupons right after making the seat selection on BookMyShow and redeem at their preferred restaurant or cafe, by simply showing the received e-mail or SMS to avail fabulous discounts.

BookMyShow piloted this offering in Mumbai and Pune in 2016 and in a span of just ten months has expanded MyCoupons across 45 cities, which include all metros, mini-metros and cities such as Lucknow, Jalandhar, Warangal, Vizag, Mangalore and Jaipur among others.

BookMyShow has partnered with more than 1500 food retail brands right from local city food joints to popular national chains including McDonald’s, Chaayos, Mainland China, Dunkin Donuts, Barbeque Nation, Subway, Bikanerwalaetc. to cover a combined 5000+ outlets around 1000+ cinemas across these cities.  The offering, which was earlier available through bookings made on BookMyShow website, can now also be availed through BookMyShow Android & BookMyShow iOS apps.

Marzdi Kalianiwala, VP- Business Intelligence and Marketing, BookMyShow said

Movie watching in India is not just an activity but rather an experience that we share with friends and family. In most cases, this experience remains incomplete unless we eat out with them either before or after the movie. Since we know when and where our user is consuming the content, we are able to ensure that relevant and highly contextual offers are targeted towards them, thus strengthening the overall proposition through MyCoupons for our users.

We have witnessed an extremely warm and rapid response to MyCoupons across all markets, with adoption rates growing at as high as 200% month-on-month. We are now aggressively working towards expanding this to other markets and delighting many more users with our offering.

About BookMyShow

BookMyShow is India’s largest online entertainment ticketing platform that allows users to book tickets for movies, plays, sports and live events through its website, mobile app and mobile site. Founded in Mumbai  in 1999 and launched in 2007, BookMyShow is now present in over 400 towns and cities across India, currently meeting the entertainment demands of millions of customers. For more information, please visit BookMyShow

“Where are you now?” and “What’s your ETA?” Whether you are heading to a party or meeting up for dinner, you probably hear questions like this pretty often from family and friends. Soon Google Maps users worldwide will be able to answer those questions in just a few taps, without ever leaving the app.

Google Maps has announced a new real-time location sharing feature which will be available for both Android and iOS users. Users will be able to share their real-time location with anyone and the people they share with will be able to see the location on Android, iPhone, mobile web, and desktop.

Whenever you want to let someone know where you are, just open the side menu or tap the blue dot that represents where you are. Tap “Share location” and then select who to share with and how long to share-and you’re done! You can share your real-time location with your Google contacts, or even share with friends and family by sending a link on your favorite messenger apps. When you are sharing your location, the people you have chosen to share with will see you on their map.

And you will see an icon above the compass on your own map reminding you that you are actively sharing your location. You can change your mind and stop sharing at any time-it’s entirely up to you.

Next time you are on your way or running late, you can share your real-time location and trip progress from navigation as well. During your next trip, tap the “More” button on the bottom on the navigation screen, and then tap “Share trip.” When you share your trip with people, they will see your expected arrival time and can follow your journey as you head towards your destination. Sharing automatically ends when you arrive.

Sanket Gupta, Product Manager, Google Maps, said

Location sharing on Google Maps is rolling worldwide over the coming week, and you will be able to quickly let your friends and family know where you are and when you’ll get where you are going. The answer to ‘where are you?’ is only a tap away.

Cinqo, an emerging player in the mobile and digital payments space has announced the launch of its new digital solutions in the employee tax benefits and rewards space. The ‘Cinqo’ app has been launched on the mobile platform that can be downloaded on Android and iOs smart phones.

Cinqo is a smart, simple and swift mobile application designed for managing digital vouchers and corporate reimbursements that help employees save tax benefits. The app has been launched with a view to digitize the paper voucher system created in order to save tax for meal vouchers, medical reimbursements, gift cards & expense management solutions that stream lines handling  and disbursements of any employee benefits in the first phase.

It facilitates easy disbursement of tax-free perquisites to employees. It also allows employer to set limits, budget and track business expenses and makes reimbursement to employee very simple.

Employees can use digital vouchers and claim reimbursements via an effortless mobile application with a click of a button, which also brings down the logistics and distribution cost to zero. One can get on board with Cinqo immediately and employees can save upto 30%tax. They can customize plans as per the requirements and the policies of the companies’ they have tied up with.

Companies such as Shopper Stop, Blue Star Diamonds, Pamac, etc. are currently using the services of the company. Cinqo can be used anywhere, anytime across 300,000+ merchants across India. Cinqo solution can be used by any corporate irrespective of the employee strength or location and an HR Manager can set up Cinqo within few minutes.

The company issues meal vouchers and medical vouchers to employees and handles fuel reimbursements as well. Cinqo also issues gift cards. All these products are completely digital, and offered via a prepaid card in partnership with DCB Bank and Visa.

Ankush Gupta, Co-Founder, Cinqo expressed his views and said

Through this launch, Cinqo aims to re-define the corporate wallet and rewards space. Cinqo has already tied up with 15 corporates so far and we are confident of our growth path in India. With a growing number of tie- ups with merchants, Cinqo will be available with more options, not only limited for meal vouchers, but also for other employee benefits such as medical reimbursements, gift cards, travel reimbursements etc in the coming months.

Besides this, we are also heavily doing analytic behaviour which studies the customer spend which will in turn help us to cross-sell and up-sell different deals to the customers. The service currently is free of cost to both employees and employers.

Moreover, the technology that we have used is cutting-edge and is intuitive. We use machine-learning and image processing technology that helps in reduction of time and cost for processing of bills. The total size of the industry is 6000 cr and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 25% YOY.

On the occasion, Smeet Modi, Co-Founder, Cinqo said

Keeping up with the Digital India initiative, we wanted to create an app which would change the paper voucher system used in order save taxes. The employee and rewards space is quite big in India and factors like losing vouchers, not being able to use it everywhere, issues in reimbursements due to fixed denominations of the vouchers inspired us to come up with new age innovative and cutting-edge solutions and give that extra benefit to employees.

Cinqo will bring revolution in the way the employers handle tax free perquisites and reimbursements and give the employee ability to complete transactions with ease at zero cost. We have also included a unique feature for disputes wherein employees can raise a red flag in case their expectations are not being met. Once the employees upload a bill on the Cinqo account, their reimbursements get cleared within one business working day.

About Cinqo

Cinqo is a sparkling concept of digital meal vouchers that is smart, simple and a swift digital solution which unlocks new benefit for your company and employees. It simplifies expense management in a secure way, while guaranteeing your employee easy transaction and loads of tax benefits.

Cinqo facilitates easy disbursement of Tax Free Perquisites to employees. It also allows employer to set limits, budget & track business expenses and makes reimbursement to employee very simple. Employees can use digital vouchers and claim reimbursements via an effortless mobile application -‘CINQO’. Cinqo meal and medical vouchers are 100% RBI and Income Tax compliant as per IT Rule 3(7). Deloitte Haskins & Sells LLP has given us opinion to the effect. You can view the same here. For more information, please visit Cinqo.

IBM and Pace Automation Ltd, a leading ‘Solution as a Service Company’ announced a strategic partnership to offer ‘RetailSmart, an end-to-end fully integrated solution that will enable local ‘Kirana’ [unorganized] stores to become ecommerce ready. Powered by IBM Cloud, the solution allows Kirana stores to deliver a convenient online shopping experience to consumers and pay safely using a convenient payment mode [irrespective of the size of the purchase].

Image Source – Cloud

According to industry reports, the current number of Kirana stores in India is pegged to be at 15 million. These stores have been facing tremendous headwinds from the organized retail & ecommerce companies. Attractive product presentations, discounts and cash back offers have led consumers to shop online while saving both time and money through these ecommerce portals. In addition, with the government’s demonetisation campaign, it is imperative for Kirana stores to go digital.

To bridge the gap, Pace Automation Ltd. has developed a unique solution, ‘RetailSmart’ on IBM cloud to digitally enable Kirana stores across the country. By implementing the solution, a Kirana store automatically becomes a part of the SmartKirana Network, hosted on IBM Cloud from Chennai data-center. The network digitally interconnects all Kirana stores in the country. Customers can easily access the network of Kirana stores in the neighborhood via smartphone app on Android available on Google Play Store or the SmartKirana web portal. Initially, the service will be available in Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and National Capital Region and will be gradually expanded to other states and rural areas via network of distributors.

The solution will also give these stores an immediate access to ecosystem partners in banking, communication, insurance, payment processing and National product data repository. It enables the Kirana stores to:

  • Automate business processes like billing, stock management and accounting with increased efficiency and profitability
  • Receive online orders from customers through a web portal or smartphone app
  • Accept all credit / debit cards, mobile wallets, Aadhar enabled payments or UPI, irrespective of the value of the transaction thus making the transactions Cashless.
  • Put all transactions through the system creating transaction transparency, an integral aspect of GST compliance
  • Provide micro banking and value added services to customers generating additional revenue streams

SG Chandru, Chairman & Mentor, Pace Automation Ltd said

The objective of this project is to digitally empower Kirana stores and help them scale business by adding new revenue streams. For this we have tied up with series of partners to create a successful business ecosystem for Kirana merchants. Our target is to bring 1,50,000 local grocery stores to the network in the next three years & allow customers to order their groceries online from the nearest Kirana shop.

IBM is our technology partner that enabled us to develop and seamlessly deploy the solution on the Cloud. RetailSmart connects all the Kirana Stores across the country in its network digitally through the communication Ecosystem partner. This project is a win-win for all the stakeholders involved – Kirana stores, Manufacturers and Suppliers of goods and the end use customers.

Mukul Mathur, VP, Global Business partners and CSI, IBM India/South Asia said

We are excited about partnering with PACE in their efforts to digitize the unorganised Kirana stores and transform them into organized retail, leveraging the IBM Cloud and Cognitive solutions. IBM cloud is open by design, offering a set of tools, flexibility and agility that helps organizations of all size and developers to easily translate their innovative ideas into technical solutions and business models. This tie-up is an extension of IBM’s commitment to the ecosystem and a great example of how our joint solutions reach deep into the SME segment making the vision of Digital India real.

Powered by IBM Cloud, the solution is fully integrated end-to-end consisting of a custom -built hardware, an intuitive application software, backend / payment processing engines. A physically separated disaster recovery system ensures business continuity.  

PACE has also developed and implemented several solutions on IBM cloud across verticals for retail sector. ServeSmart is the flagship solution of PACE to automate the operations of restaurant retail business and has automated Cafe Coffee Day (CCD) operations in 2004 when they had just 90 outlets which has grown to 1800 plus outlets today.

PACE now provides ‘ServeSmart’ services to more than thirty five hundred restaurant outlets of various leading restaurants in India. PACE hosts all its solutions on an IBM-IaaS Facility at Chennai and at Singapore to provide disaster recovery and business process continuation.

SmartKirana web portal can be accessed here