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Methodologies Innovative Businesses Use to Get Closer to Customers

Supplier: Cincom Systems of Australia By: Nadine Taffard
03 March, 2015

In our last blog we discussed 6 business methodologies that were born in manufacturing and now have been applied across a variety of industries that are looking for innovation and productivity.

While these top 6 consider business at an operational level, in recent years, with the increasing power of the consumer, new trends and technologies have emerged that focus on sales and optimum customer experience.

eCommerce has existed in various forms for over 30 years, in its current form it represents the commercial transactions conducted electronically online. Today we see tightly integrated systems that are responsive to changing customer demand and capture information about customers to provide a tailored experience. eCommerce and the digital revolution in general have had the most likely impact on the Retail sector as well as the banking sector.

Nowadays, a world without internet banking, electronic bill payments and online credit/debit card purchases is inconceivable.

Self-Serve – When the concept of Super Markets arrived in Australia in the late 1950's it brought a whole new experience that provided customer choice and efficiency whilst enhancing the consumer experience. Customer participation allows for labour cost reductions as well as a different customer engagement in the buying process.

Self-serve is part of our daily lives, from filling up the car at the petrol station, to checking-in our luggage. In manufacturing these same techniques have empowered customers to select their product by category or requirement and chose various options and features to meet their needs, something increasingly seen in with building products, for home renovations or construction using interactive 3D modelling and pre-fabricated components.

RFID / NFC (Near Field Communication). RFID was born in the 1950's in the form of transponders for airliners. Thanks to smaller electronic chips, power sources and better affordability, we started to see their presence in retail, where higher value items would have a RFID label stuck on them. Since 2010 the lower cost, smaller size, and increased versatility of the technology means that RFID is widely used in managing and tracking assets, providing chain of custody, Just-in-time delivery and Kanban systems in Lean Manufacturing, and in flexible manufacturing. RFID tags have provided significant benefits, because unlike bar-codes they do not require line-of-sight with the reader; they can handle tough environments and several tags can be read simultaneously and carry large amount of data.

They've also provided increased security because not only they are hard to counterfeit but their size allows them to be applied discreetly, e.g. in passports. Near Field Communication (NFC), is a subset of the RFID family but are designed to be a secure form of data exchange, in that they are capable to being both a reader and a tag.

This allows NFC devices to communicate peer-to-peer. Such devices need to be at close proximity of each other to communicate, hence their application in smart devices such as mobile phones. Because of the NFC capability to communicate with RFID tags, there is increasing usage in areas such as advertising[i], where the close presence of an NFC device can trigger a specific display on a digital advertising display, or launch an app or alert on the smartphone bringing brands closer to their customers than ever.