Infosys is positioning ShoppingTrip360, a platform based on a network of tiny wireless devices, as a way to answer questions retailers and consumer packaged goods companies have about in-store activities.
The business solutions provider announced ShoppingTrip360 July 31.
"There was a lack of granular visibility into what goes on inside the store," said Sandeep Dadlani, global head of sales, retail, CPG and logistics for Infosys. "You couldn't see how products and shoppers behave, or how shoppers behave with products. Point solutions solved parts of the puzzle using technologies of all kinds but were limited by factors such as cost and disruptive technology infrastructures."
Dadlani said ShoppingTrip360 provides granular insight into shopper and shelf activity, creating what he termed an "Internet for the store." He said the store is the best place for retailers and CPG companies to collaborate, and in-store network sensors enable applications to solve various problems.
"You can solve out-of-stocks with a cost-effective approach as they happen, without having to have an army of associates checking the shelves," he said.
Girish Ramachandra, head of innovations practice, retail, CPG and logistics for Infosys, said CPG companies can obtain greater control over-and better insight into-their promotional activities using intelligent shelf pads that are part of the ShoppingTrip360 platform. Unlike RFID-based tracking systems, he said ShoppingTrip360 requires no tagging of products or shelves.
"There are no wires and no external energy source," said Ramachandra. "The pads work off the ambient light in the store."
Furthermore, he said sensors placed on shopping carts provide a complete view of customer activity.
"You know where the shoppers are and what they do before checkout," he said. "You can find out when to open new checkout lanes and how to optimize store layout. It's similar to the extreme analysis you can do online."
Customers can receive benefits from ShoppingTrip360 as well, according to Ramachandra.
"Shoppers can sign in to get information sent to their cell phones," he said. "An application installs on the phone like a ring tone."
He said customers can then perform tasks such as matching a wine to the food they buy, getting recipes and locating products.
Dadlani said CPG companies can use this opt-in shopper feature to communicate with customers in a nonintrusive way.
"You can communicate with the customer at the moment of truth," he stated. "Seventy percent of all purchase decisions are impulses made in the store."
ShoppingTrip360 is a fully managed, plug-and-play solution, according to Dadlani.
"We invest everything upfront and take on the risk ourselves," he said.
A 2006 Aberdeen Group research report suggests that retailers can obtain significant advantages from ShoppingTrip360's ability to provide real-time visibility into out-of-stocks. The report states that out-of-stocks are the "single greatest pressure that retailers face," with lengthening supply cycles and shortening demand cycles as concurrent pressures.
"Retailers and their merchandise trading partners must find ways to shorten and tighten supply cycles," concludes the report. "Rapid reaction time is the order of the day: The retail ecosystem has the need for speed and accuracy."
Dan Berthiaume covers the retail space for eWEEK. For more industry news, check out eWEEK.com's Retail Site.