“The next phase of the technological revolution in the customer experience front will be that of chatbots. Chatbots are intelligent chat agents coupled with AI to engage the consumer in a meaningful and engaging way, mapping exact customer needs.”
Abhijeet Vijayvergiya, VP APAC, has built Capillary’s growth engine from the grounds up and has been driving the growth momentum across markets. Abhijeet has directly contributed to significant customer wins while building and mentoring a high performance team which has steered the company to become a leader in the engagement and commerce space in Asia. He offers consultation to leading brands across Asia in building their Customer Engagement and Digital transformation journey and also leads some of the large global relationships for Capillary
Are there reasons to believe that omnichannel retailing is here to stay?
Absolutely! Omnichannel retailing in India is no more a hypothesis but a reality. With time, more and more retailers are realizing the importance of being omnipresent to serve an omnipresent consumer. With customers getting hooked to hyperlocal deliveries, every physical store is being turned into a distribution center. As of today, 2% of all retail is powered by omnichannel. This number is expected to reach 8-10% by 2020.
How has the retail ecosystem changed in the last one year when a lot of consolidation happened in the online/offline space?
It has come out quite strong. The retail market has never been as volatile as it is right now, and retailers are slowly realizing that to be connected with the consumer requires an omnichannel strategy.
Now we see more and more tech investments happening to keep up with consumer needs and to be able to serve them better- whenever they want and whatever they want. And it seems to be working because there is a decreasing trend of discounts, which signifies increased customer loyalty.
India is still far from using AI in retail. Do you think that will create significant limitations for brands and retailers?
I don’t think that’s true. The Indian retail scenario is very open to the idea of AI & AI-based systems. AI is next-gen technology. You’ll soon be seeing it get integrated with everything; from a fan in your room to the way analytical reports and dashboards are done today.
At Capillary, we work on the belief that retail will be transformed with the advent of AI. So much so that we are currently working on AI-based systems for intelligent insight reporting.
The next phase of the technological revolution in the customer experience front will be that of chatbots. Chatbots are intelligent chat agents coupled with AI to engage the consumer in a much meaningful and engaging way mapping the exact customer needs.
When would India see technology- enabled shopping minus any handsets or physical presence around the stores?
Any adoption of a new idea has never been so quick in India. For example, India is now the largest Facebook user base. It is the number 1 country in terms of play store downloads.
Newer touch points for consumers other than a laptop/ tablet/smartphone are Smartwatch, Xbox, TV, Google Home, Amazon Echo, Amazon Dash.
You can book a cab even today with Google Assist. For the non-smartphone interface to work, there are a couple of things needed. Availability of device, for instance, is primary. According to International Data Corporation (IDC), though the wearables market in India is still at a nascent stage, over 5.67 lakh units were shipped in the second quarter of 2016, which is up by 42% in the first quarter. During the same period, India also accounted for about 1% of the global share of the smartwatch market as reported by IDC.
Even supply-side growth comprising sellers and marketplaces building an interface on top of infrastructure is picking up very well with the likes of HDFC ergo building an iWatch app for purchasing insurance, leading cab company enabling booking of cabs through iWatch. In the next 18 months, a chunk of early adopters will embrace non-smartphone based shopping in India.