Can Technology Save Retail?
Good morning good afternoon. And thank you for joining us here today at diamond webinars. We've got a good show in store for you today. We're going to be looking at the state of retail, during and after the pandemic. And asking the question. Can technology. Save retail. As we get started. Some logistics. We have an asl interpreter, and closed captions. If for some reason the closed captions aren't automatically, enabled. Please go ahead and, turn them on, in your zoom. Controls. We will keep, our asl interpreter, spotlighted. Throughout the, presentation. If for some reason you can't see it. You should be able to highlight that video, from the panelist. Area. Also. You may notice we've disabled, the chat. During the presentation. But we've kept the q a enabled. Please use the q a at any time, when you think of something, our moderators, will be reviewing the questions and passing them along to the panelists. For those of you in the audience who are new to our events. Diamond is a digital agency, built by developers, with a commitment, to well-crafted. Accessible. And inclusive, software. Always built on best practices. For nearly a decade we've supported, media companies. Large brand names. And others who rely on us for product strategy. Experience, design. And full stack development, services. We've become well known for building cloud-based, media systems. Video players, e-commerce. And more. Shifting to today's topic. As stores reopen, and consumers, return to shopping, after months of purchasing, online. The retail, industry, is faced. With a series of challenges. From employee safety, to dramatic, shifts in consumer, behavior. Stores are looking at new technologies. To restore confidence, in both shoppers, and employees. But retailers, and developers, don't want to waste their money on the wrong technology. So which technologies. Are the right ones to invest in. We'd like to present. Chadwick, turner. Who will be leading a panel of experts, discussing. How technology, can save retail. Welcome chadwick. The malls of the 1980s, and 90s are a thing of the past. And the malls of today, are dealing with a global pandemic. They're empty. But consumers, are starting to return to stores, and the question remains. Can tech help save brick and mortar. Whether it's ar experiences. Robots. Artificial, intelligence, that helps consumers, make. Recommendations. And of course contactless, payments. So let's discuss. Welcome to our panelists. We're quite excited about today's, group of experts. That have decided, to join us. If you want, all of our panelists, to turn off your microphones, or turn on your microphones, and you turn on your cameras. We'll uh start the panel. Um. Joining us first today. Amy, hedrick, i've had the the pleasure, of knowing her technology, for quite some time, in the vr space but it's really some groundbreaking. Uh products that will enable. Physical. Um, products, and spaces, to be clean, amy's ceo and co-founder. Of cleanbox, technology. She's a thought leader on providing, solutions, and innovations, in cleantech. She was formerly part of the think tank division, of lee and fung. A leading, global. Consumer, good sourcing, and manufacturing. Company, based in hong kong, so welcome amy. Thanks very much. Uh silke meiksner. Very excited to have her here, uh she is a partner at ibm, she has extensive. Experience, with international. Digital marketing. Sales, brand strategy. In. Fortunately, for us the areas of retail, media, and consumer, goods and services. She has helped ceos, and cmos, define, and operationalize. Their transformation.
Agendas. And this, in turn, empowers, those teams. To better address. Market, shifts. So, where we're currently at in this world, and capture new revenue, opportunities, so, uh silco we're happy to have you today. Thank you very happy to be here. And last but not least. William, kitely. Um thank you for joining us out in the real world today. Um, william, is vp, of visual merchandising. At fendi americas. He has over 15 years, of fashion, retail experience. Including, time at harvey nichols. Jack wills, and all saints. Prior to joining fendi william was director, of visual merchandising. At burberry. For the americas. Overseeing, over 70, freestanding, stores. 400 and 400 points of sales. From canada, to brazil so you can imagine the, the amount of information, he has with how to make a great experience, in the world, and the amount of strategizing. He's had to do in the past three to six months on well how do we, make these, spaces. Safe. Uh while um, also accommodating, the shift to e-commerce, so william, we're, very excited to have you today. Thank you chadwick hi everyone. Cool all right and i'm your moderator, chad mcturner, um i've worked at creative, artist agency. Cognizant, consulting, 21st century fox. And amazon. For the past six years, i've really focused, on virtual, and augmented, reality. And startups, with the primary mission of creating, really cool experiences. Which is why i'm very excited to be at diamond. While at the same time. Trying to take those experiences. And actually turn a profit. So with that in mind. Let's, start, the discussion. And a question that is really top of mind for me and i'll go to silke first. For your clients. Especially, those clients with brick and mortar stores. Has the pandemic. Forced them to speed up. Uh or shift, their innovation. Strategy. Something that potentially, was going to be 18, to 24 months. Now needs to fit in a matter of weeks. And if so, understanding, that all of you somewhat have to anonymize. Data. Is there any examples. Or stories that you can share. Yes, um chadwick, a big yes, um, every, client, and it doesn't matter the industry, that they're in. Um, has to have they had a look at their, digital, roadmap, or their digital transformation. Agenda, and, has it changed, oh yes an acceleration. Is taking place across the board. The decisions. That often, are technology, decisions, that have to be backed by the entire, board, and organization. Have to be accelerated. So the roadmap, itself, has shifted. But also. How important. Uh minimum viable products, become and how quickly you put something into the market that is maybe not fully baked yet, but that you can iterate, on, so two examples, come to mind briefly, perhaps, um, and um.
Just Sharing them for general. Inspiration. Uh, clients, uh have. For a long time thought about the need and the desire, to virtualize. Their, customer, service, aspect so think about the call centers for example, or you know, omni-channel. Interaction, with customers, and clients. That has been along the way for for for four, decades, um. Technology, is accelerating, but through the pandemic, those tough choices, on, how to virtualize, for example an entire, call, center, where the agents had to be physically. In the office location, in order to serve the customers. Had to be, accelerated. Quite dramatically. Because of the pandemic. And the client, and themselves, has really. Been, very good at making decisions, faster. Being comfortable, with a level of an or an element, of still uncertainty. That not every. Every use case was solved for. But to iterate, quickly, so kudos, um for our clients to be ready and then of course for us ibm, to help in that regard. The other part that i've seen so in the b2c, environment, um retail locations, are closing. You have to make these decisions, quickly, um. For the temporary, closure, or the shift that is occurring, that's uh at a larger scale. In the b2b, environment. Um, one of the biggest, uh. Indicators. Of need to accelerate. Was, uh to make sure that a lot of plants that have to do with retail. And supply, chain, and food safety. Have been. Experiencing, a tremendous, shift so here we have a lot of clients. Who use blockchain, technologies. And are just it was a, nice to have or would like to have agenda, item for most of the executives. Now it has, uh become, a critical, element, to ensure success. So we can talk about that later but those are really the shifts and the pandemic, is an absolute, accelerator, for these roadmaps. I i think that that was a. Interesting, story as we had prepped and you had shared, some information, on that that was definitely something that that. I was not surprised, to hear it but when they're companies with tens of thousands of people and they do have to make decisions as if they were a startup. Um, it's it's a dynamic, agile, environment, almost every team has to become agile.
With That said amy, um. As a startup, one thing i would love you to start with is potentially. Describe, what your technology, does. And whether or not as you, um i've known your product in the virtual reality, space, but we have effectively, solved is the ability to clean. Uh pretty much, any, device, or surface. And if you've actually experienced, as you're talking to larger organizations. That they're willing to move faster. Now because of the the need to to effectively, get people back into stores. Yeah i think you're you're right about that i think it's willingness, is um. It's the natural response they have to, in order to survive, i mean sometimes, a, pandemic, like this will force companies, and people, as well of course individuals, to just make choices, that they would, maybe have been more cautious about before and maybe have, followed a longer well thought out path. But, being innovative, means that you need to kind of skip ahead. What my company does is. Address hygiene, and we started in the vr ar space. Because, headsets, are shared by many many people. There are multiple, levels. Layers, surfaces, materials. Etc, and because they're closer to contagion, transfer points, um like your eyes nose and mouth, it's really. Critical, to make sure that you, you're minimizing, your risk, basically. You're making sure that, someone who's sick. Doesn't transfer that sickness to the next person, and of course we started out way pre-covered. And, it's it's unfortunate, that it takes a pandemic, for people to really, um or maybe organizations, to take some of these extra steps. That probably. Uh could have been taken previously. Um. As, a startup or as a young company, um we have already, been. Uh that's kind of how, you know startups work. Um and we've um we're also a remote primarily, remote company we have our base of course, um. But we we a lot of people that work with us are living uh you know all over the united states some in canada, some in the uk. Um so it was a little bit less of a stressor, point for us to be having, to work from home because everybody was really. Self-motivating. Already. Um but that being said it you know it just continued, the the, i think for innovation. An organization, has to be willing to look at a division. That will allow it to become, agile. And to your point chadwick, and silke as well. That's, very interesting, and you actually hit on a topic which is innovation. And william the next one's going to go to you on innovation, because no doubt throughout your career. You've. You've leaned towards innovation. On, the visual merchandising. And how we can we can create an experience, that potentially, had not been seen before. So are you. Recognizing, that that skill set of innovation, and being agile, with. How do we make something great, is, serving, your team and your company well. With now the, vision, of. Merchandising. Potentially, is, heavily on e-commerce, for the time being, and how do we leverage. The artistry, of visual merchandising. To draw folks back into physical retail, and if that's not a good assessment, i would love, for you to clarify, and almost just give us your broad stroke of how you're approaching innovation, in the world of covid. Absolutely. Um i mean for us. Um and i think all of uh fashion retail. Seeing the closed down really brought the full attention, on to online, and how successful. Brands were with their online. Um how interactive, they were the information. That they needed. I mean for my world which is luxury, retail. A lot of it is about that personal, connection, it's, having that one-on-one, conversation. Um so i think it does pull that to the forefront. Of how do you still give that, romancing. Of the product. In an online, environment.
I Think the interesting, thing is as we're starting to reopen. We're learning, every single week every day, as things change. Um. I was saying to you guys, this week, how different, the, customers, are. Since we've reopened. Um, it's much younger, much more male focused. And there doesn't seem to be so much of a concern. About. Safety. I would say. Um but we're not seeing, this kind of older clientele. Or the clientele, that have the larger money so how do we find a way to keep engaging, with them. And so i think for a lot of, luxury, fashion businesses. It's. How do we create these virtual, experiences. That create that safety but still create a moment of intimacy. And that has been the big challenge, so, again i would say we're, learning every day. Seeing what people are responding, to. Um, the other part as well i think is with online. Is seeing how successful, the supply, chain was in handling. Uh. All of those requests. We deal with. Um. Obviously expensive. Items. But with limited availability. And they may be in different parts. Different stores different locations. To where the client, is, so how do we, find that information, how do we transport, it quickly and easily. Uh and then handling, returns, as well so. There's so many facets. To this. Spoiled with good logistics. Yes. Yeah that's a really great question i think what. William what you were hitting on with regards to. Um, in your, business. The the. Shift, in. Which consumers, are coming in store which ones are still online. I'd be curious. Silke, with regards, to patterns and consumer, behavior that you're seeing on a macro. Side of things, um. No doubt a lot of the the transitions, in the past three six months have been, associated, with the pandemic. Do you think they're representative. Of a, permanent, shift. Or are you seeing this more as a uh, once once we solve. Uh for x y and z on the pandemic, front. It'll go back to business as usual. Great question, chadwick, um it's both so i think the immediate. Need for. Safety, and providing. The transparency. Around. Whether it's the sourcing. Where maybe the goods have been handled. And ultimately, bringing them to the end consumer, whether that's you know. Through online, but also then through the um you know uh, retail outlets that are open again. That has been, um and will be i think at the forefront, of our consumers. Um for the next foreseeable, future, and hopefully. We'll wane off a little bit once uh there you know have been.
Successes. In vaccination. Or medical, treatment of the pandemic. That's clearly at the forefront. However, we have also seen. How much of a shift there is with a different kind of consumer, who, clearly, cares, about the origin, of their goods. So that transparency. That helps us in the acute, case of the pandemic. Also, is really important to consumers, who discern. Whether. They know, where goods came from that care about the environment. That might even have the expectation. That you know the product that they are consuming. Is recyclable. Etc. So. What we are being asked to help is our clients. To become better. And well versed in being able to tell that story to the end consumer. And the enabler, for that is. Data, and insights, and also the ability. To analyze. Those patterns, are they. Temporary. Shifts and pattern consumption, patterns, are they more. Long-term. And for our marketers. Product planners, logistic, planners. To use that data to make, really good decisions. On. Their functions. Including, in some cases. Spur of the moment data, so um if it's for example. You know marketing. Uh your product and service, and knowing that the weather pattern, in a geography. You know is about to change. You can do much better marketing. And much better insights, driven marketing, that has a call to action that prompts a lot more response. Than just a general campaign. So, little, proof of concepts, or proof of value, are popping up all over the place. And i would say they are eighty percent, right now. Pandemic, related, um immediate. Shifts in consumption, pattern. But twenty percent and i'll and i'll expect that to become a much larger, percentage, is the long-term. Pattern recognition. Uh predictive, analytics. Cognitive, analytics, that help to really predict, and forecast. Um in a much more precise, fashion, than than we do right now. I i think you hit a nail on a head that i love to emphasize, any client looking to make a decision, especially, a. Very expensive, decision let's make a data-driven, decision. Um speaking of data amy i would be remiss if we didn't highlight. One of the recent, wins with regards to your product, because as silke, mentioned, one of the biggest things for consumers, myself included, is, not you know where it comes, from or like how clean is this i feel like i have to take the task on to myself, to be like okay how much clorox wipes do i have i just got my groceries, what's the how long do i leave it at the front stoop like all these questions that we had at the beginning. So similar to. Um, researching, what food i eat do i go with cage free organic. The products that i receive. Do you foresee a world where, there is a clean box seal of approval, that this has been effectively. You know disinfected. From, covid, or other pieces. Um because i, too that's one question the first one that you might want to start with is also that recent success with regards to covid. And. And how that has kind of ballooned into potentially. Uh ppe, at hospitals. And and, where i could see this specifically. To william, and any of silke's clients. Is if employees, have to wear masks, in retail environments. You don't have to spend. Hundreds of thousands on everybody gets a new mask every day potentially, they can clean the mask on a daily basis, so, broad topic but i would love you to dive a little deeper. Amy with regards to recent. Data, victories, for what you've built. Sure thanks chadwick, um. Yeah so uh and just to clarify. We use uvc. And an led. Our engineering, is very specifically, around. Maximum, efficacy, use of uvc, light, we do it in an led, because it removes, the components, of mercury. Ox, um, mercury, ozone, and heat that are traditional, with other kinds of, bulbs or or or lamps. Of uvc, light, and we do that because of course we start with sensitive and expensive electronics. Um but. But we also need to clean multiple, types of surfaces. And when we first you know when. I guess, mid-march. When a pandemic, was um kind of shutting everything down and grounding all of us wherever we might have been at that particular, time. Um. You know we had some of our clients saying well we know uvc, light is highly effective. Has it been validated, against covid and that was its own.
Project, Because as you can imagine, um. Sarsko, v2 which is coveted 19, um is a biohazard, level three and up, um. As opposed to stars. Stars kobe like merger, or or or. Um, you know other uh level two, um. Labs, that where you can take and, actually validate the efficacy, of a product or a technology. So we were able to, say, so so our clients were saying well listen we know, um there's a shortage in these hospitals we want to be able to donate. Our. Our cx-1, units which are built for hmds, weren't on your face or head. Um, and so we started there and we in 10 days had a, a retrofit, so that you could decontaminate. Masks, um, in hospitals. Um so you know when people were using them they weren't, using the same mask for 17, days and keeping it you know in a paper bag at the end of their shift kind of thing. Um and so we were able to show that in under, uh one minute we can kill, uh stars cov2. On a hard surface and under two minutes we can kill it on an n95, mask. So that's been validated, in a biohazard, level 3 lab, we've done backup validation, with other, types of viruses. Including, h1n1. 2290. And oc43. So we're very very excited about that. And to your point chadwick i mean, the uh ppe, there are some. There are some places that are not you know they're not having a shortage right now. Um but this is you know obviously, as people, it's it's far beyond first responders. It's not just hospitals, or, you know fire departments, or police departments. As you mentioned you know when you go back to even a retail store now if you are in a place where they, are reopened. Uh every employee has to wear a mask. If you walk in as a consumer, you have to wear a mask. And, i said you know i started traveling, again a little bit, traveling, between new york and los angeles. At the airport you have to wear a mask, and i see people with these masks, and, sometimes, they're they're. Fabric, of some kind, or, occasionally, they'll have a, some sort of surgical, mask, but then they don't clean them and then they're still continuing, to, wear them day after day. Um so, uh we do have a product that decontaminates. Masks and you can do it in under two minutes so that's one example of the product. And i would just mention that um. You know, when it comes back to, being safe in a retail environment, and bricks and mortar of any kind to be honest, um there are two components, and one is actually being safe, and knowing that you've provided, the safest experience. And then the second part i think is letting the consumer. Feel that confidence, with you, so showing them that you've gone above and beyond that you have actually, tested and validated, whatever you're using to make them feel safe. That um, you're making that visible kind of to silky's comment on transparency.
Um, That's really critically, important. That's that's. Very very, exciting. About, the successes. And i'm looking forward to seeing those when i walk into airports or malls where i can just kind of slide that i put my. Change in my wallet and this one i clean my mask in this one and i move on with my day, um, it's this next question is kind of a question for the entire, group and something i want to say to all of our attendees we actually have. Multiple platforms, where we're monitoring. The questions. If you have any questions for, the folks on the line let us know, please just add it to the chat. And then we will, make sure that, probably. In the next 15 to 20 minutes we'll take a pause, final thoughts and then we'll answer as many questions as we can so. You've got some experts on the line, if you want to ask a question feel free, and we'll, try to answer as many as we can, um, the question for everybody it's a broad question and william, i'm going to put you on the hot seat first so you're, the other two get more time. But, what is the biggest, challenge. So far for yourself, you know this is a topic, during covet 19 you know this is a topic, of. How can technology, save retail and the first instinct, is like brick and mortar retail. We think of the consumer. But for you as someone that's actually, inside. Of a, a, business, a a, a luxury, brand. Um, is there also effects that have occurred with regards, to. Um, the ability to walk to somebody's, desk, and actually, talk through designs, or potentially, next steps what have you, i guess what are the challenges you face not only on the consumer side but are there also challenges you faced, um as a company, and and, what what is some solutions, that you've arrived at. Yeah absolutely, um, i mean i was. Part of the process, of reopening, this office. Um trying to make it a safe environment, to people to come in, um. Again i mean i'll be completely honest it was a lot of like scrabbling, thinking on our feet.
To Try and make that work. Um. First and foremost. The safety, of our employees. Is number one. Especially in the brick and mortar stores. We we have to make sure they feel comfortable, to return, to work. Um, and then that's why i love hearing about your product amy i think it's, incredible, well done. Um i think it has so many applications. Especially, for our world. Some of the challenges. That we were talking about was. If a client wants to try on product. What do we do with that product, we we have product that can't be. Steamed. With. With hot water. Um there's furs, there's, exotic, leathers those kind of things. Um. So what is the solution, so. Maybe we will be having a conversation. After. After this, um. But definitely. It's, it's been and again i was saying earlier, we are learning, as each day goes on we're finding, i would, my personal. I'm seeing around 50. Of people that. Aren't that concerned they'll touch everything, they'll try things on. But there's, the other 50, that are staying away. Um, and so for us again, i think it was really about, making, omnichannel. Um. Much more. Full. Picture to be able to service. The clients, out there, um. I think we're still working on it there's there's applications, like hero, which. Connects you to a sales associate, live and you can do videos, in the store, you can speak. There and then and i think things like that, are going to really help us move forward and other, other brands. Similar to us, that's, that's very, exciting, to hear, um i first and foremost, i think spot on with regards to the first, phase of this is is, the importance of the employees. To hear people that are in senior positions, to make sure that that is the first thing, the best thing we can do is say it and live true to that but also inspire, others to make that decision. Um silica no doubt you have a lot of experience with this as well with regards to. What what are the biggest challenges, you have faced, no doubt it's, verticalized, potentially across clients, some are consistent, and no doubt with an organization. Um as large as yours. Um there is also. Uh, a an, expectation. That with ibm, being a. A legacy company in technology, it's been, generations. Have known of ibm, from going to the moon to now solving problems. What are what are the problems. You guys are effectively, dealing with right now and how are you solving, them. Yeah i'll, i'll give you an example i mean the the case is definitely, as i mentioned earlier, um chadwick, they span.
Um, Utilizing, technologies. To accelerate. Uh what is already disrupted, in the industries. Uh. Whether that is you know in. Manufacturing. Automotive. But specifically. For retail. A lot of the work that has already been. Started, in, and virtualizing. The experience. Um, is now moving, faster. What i mentioned earlier, that use cases have to prove value very quickly. And that, even incremental. Change makes a difference. Those have been the mantra, so a very agile, environment, as we were talking about earlier. Um, i also thought, both, amy, and william you brought up other elements, that sparked my thinking. So my own personal, experience, has been you know we are consultants. And we deliver. Services, to our clients. And lucky for us that you know oftentimes. We uh we would do that virtually, but very often. We found ourselves on the plane so, amy will talk later about, the use case there and i see a lot of application. Possibilities. But nothing. Nothing no travel, right now for many of the teams and so the, you know the employee, safety, first, and client safety first, is a mantra, that ibm, had from the beginning. And it resonates, also. On a human level, i mean we talk about technology. We talk about innovation. We talk about. Bleeding, edge, at the end of the day. We are also. Humans, in this together, right and so the idea. That we virtualized. All our delivery. Um. Through. Video, chats, through, uh. Lots and lots of tools that make collaboration. And interaction. More. Fun, more online. Whether it's, whiteboarding. In a virtual environment. Or. Co-creating. And ideating. Around. Shared documents. It has been a steep learning curve, for our clients, as well as us. What works, i mean we came, up i remember. Very much in march with this. Bucket, load full of ideas, how to ideate, and do the whiteboarding, sessions that normally are you know. Three days of you know, very well facilitated, innovation, and some of our clients said whoa. Calm down we need something, very simple we just have to master, video and chat first and then we'll go from there. So going at the pace, um. With each other has been helpful so the technology, is an enabler. But we also are trying to make that connection. Real. And also that you know we have, i think an awareness, that there is a lot more going on in people's, lives than. What we get to see um in in a little video session so having a bit of empathy. Putting, again the the human experience, at a center, um has been. What we've been working with and it helps to just take it one day at a time as well. So, using the technology, to help us be more connected, more frequently, connected, but also. Adjusting, it uh to. Where the pace feels comfortable. That that i think aligns with a lot of folks where um. People that general, generationally. Maybe didn't, have to know how to work zoom. Um, they have now received. Zoom, microsoft, teams, google meet, and it just you need to learn which one has your virtual background, which one is going to show your hamper. Be prepared for either. Um. Personal story on that one, um, with regards to amy i'm actually curious on that front because no doubt. The selling of your product, the, the value, out of it actually has been. I, make making, assumptions, but it's been an easier, sell during this moment to be like yeah we solved this and this is how it works because originally i was looking at your product for, a virtual reality, arcade. Not that many of those out there so it is a, market, that was smaller and now it's like oh i clean anything, within minutes. Let's talk i the responses, from william, and silke. Kind of prove that point. On your front though with regards, to, the complexities. Of, technology. And, let's say, your your. Product can assist in retail, what are some, what are some. Issues you've faced over the past three months, and maybe what are some solutions, to solve those, in the event that someone's listening. And they have similar problems and they're trying to figure out how to solve it as well. Well i guess i would answer that in two ways i think the first for us as a company, is really, educating, people.
Um, On, on what, um. You know what what our product does and how it does it and what are the differences, i think, you know two years ago when i was on speaker, circuits i would talk about why it was so important, to, have, some process, in place i don't have to talk about that anymore. And now just helping people understand, you know what. I don't want to say what you should be afraid of versus what you shouldn't. But helping i mean the more you're educated, and the more informed, a customer, is, regardless, of what type of customer they are the more confident they'll be in whatever the process, is, and so for me on the on the business side i think it's educating, people. Specifically, about uvc, light versus uva, versus uvb. Um how do you use it when is it effective, what can it you know when is it safe is it ever not safe and those are my those have been my biggest challenges in the last. Um few months, number one and then number two just um. You know help, there's there's a shift, of pace in terms of adoption, right so both william and silky had had have mentioned how. Um, there there's a there's a change you guys you're with big companies, well established, for a very long time. Um and and and, large ships are hard to, to uh shift around aren't they, um but being able to, um. Think about how to help consumers, respond, to that, you know as a as a company that is already. Uh very agile. Uh by nature. Um it's easier, for us to understand, how to be agile. Um so trying to help our customers. Because we, we're just not we're not just entertainment, centers. Um, even in the xr space the vr and ar space, we have clients across the board from government, to healthcare, to. Enterprise. Um large very large global companies. Um and so just being able to, um, take that, uh information. And think about it in a broader. Perspective, i know i'm not answering it directly i'm more broad strokes, right now, um but i think that you know those have been both the challenges. Um, you know and i suppose, opportunity.
Um, Kind of i know this isn't quite your question but, but i was thinking about this earlier when you're talking about. Um innovation, and and shifting and having to make quick decisions. Nobody, ever really likes, change. Um. Corporations. Especially, don't like change. And if something is working you really don't change it until, it's not working any longer. And i think what it's doing though is you know when you, have a global pandemic, such as sausage, this that we're in now. Um, we all get the opportunity, if you will to say okay now we can actually take all of these amazing. Technological. Advances. And we can think about those applications, in a new and exciting way, and i see great opportunity, um in retail with that. Yeah that's that's. Really well well said, i a question i have i guess to the whole group. Is um. We have a couple questions coming in that i don't even want to wait until the end i think that they're relevant, to, little pieces that people have recently, said on the panel. Um, broad strokes. Um how is retail and technology, currently working together. For consumers, to visit stores again that that is an example that you really, lean into and go like we just need more of that for example, um. How i'm interpreting, this question. Big data is enabling, um contract, tracing, systems. Or. Retailers. Are. Able to potentially, put, a clean box style device. And enable folks to have. Uh their personal ppe, be clean, on site, within two minutes, similar to. Going to the vending machine and taking your time to pick between, mountain dew or a water, like. With these technologies, what are the ones that you're currently, looking, at, or are aware of. That. Make you, look at how, retail. And technology, are eventual, effectively, going to. Work together, to save. The in-person, experience, because i think with william, highlighted. And i'm a vr advocate. If you look at my linkedin, it's all over like let's go virtual let's go virtual but there is something that is going to take, years if not decades to replicate. Which is the in-person. Communication. The eye contact, that, yes avatars, are getting better at that. But. The flow of apparel. Is one of the hardest things to get right in a virtual environment, how it truly fits on one's person. So i guess the question broad strokes. Retail and technology, are there certain examples, that get you excited. Um and things that you think we need to lean into uh more more so than just let them be, one, one feature of a product. Yeah i mean i can, start, i mean. I think through this, as we've been exploring. What competitors, are doing, i've seen a couple of great examples. Of, virtual, flagships. So. Especially, in my world when we have stores in different locations.
Um. 90. Of them aren't the flagship, they have limited. Product, compared to the flagship, and they always. Tell me oh i wish i had this product i wish i had that. Um. And with these virtual, flagships, it doesn't really matter then, you can work with your, customer, wherever you are you can. Visit this site together, you can, shop the space so you can still have that experience, of, walking, through, the store. Walking up the stairs, discovering, different areas, and still building that excitement. Um. And i think. Again it's just a great way to. Give that. That customer experience, even if they're sat at home you can send them a link you can, be with them. On that walk through if you want to to help, that selling experience, and i think. Um, the fact that most people. Now feel freer, to move away from a big city. Location. And, live. In a nice countryside. Area not having to commute, into a city. This does bring, a lot of opportunity, i think. Yeah i'd love to build on that william that is very true and yes virtualization. All the rage, um and so much more to to be enabled. To make it. Be more tactile, to make it again, feel. Like a like a tangible, experience. The other point that i was. Talking about earlier. An underpinning, is also that that, data and analytics, capabilities. Right i mean if i am able, as you know. A company, that provides, a product or a service if i'm able to better predict, um what might be the surge in demand, for a specific. Item, or. Since william, you and your friends are moving to the countryside. You know maybe store locations, that haven't carried, a certain, product before. Now would benefit from that what are new retail, models. So the underpinning. Of big data and data and analytics, um both in the in the, big sense you know more connected. Data. Uh, and insights, opportunities. Are at the forefront, of our thinking and our clients, thinking. And then more, in the moment, um, opportunities. Right so if i am. More relevant, because i have data about. Um your preferences, as a consumer. About, your. Likes in the past, and what you might actually enjoy that you don't know even, now, if i preempt, that, shopping, experience. Through outreach, and communication, beforehand. Based on good data and insights. You have a happier, consumer. Who finds. Um. The information, is relevant, to them. More willing to engage, becomes part of a of a positive, brand engagement. And then all the way through to that data on at the point of sale um if it's you know in a, non-virtual, environment. Um that the right product is there at the right time so the the analytics, capabilities. And the connectivity. Between the disparate, data sources. And maybe even artificial, intelligence. And cognitive, overlays. Are, the topics that we look at all the time. Get us excited, and get gets our clients, um. Engaged. As well i see a lot of potential, in that regard. While we're on this topic, so for those of you that are, attendees. Um i know i mentioned earlier we were going to wait, for the end for q a but we've had some, q a that actually is relevant, throughout this discussion, so we're just going to sprinkle it in, and end the conversation, about 15 minutes with final thoughts. With regards to what you said. Uh regarding, artificial, intelligence, and big data to define, like, what the user, potentially, wants. The question goes back to an earlier discussion, with regards to supply, chain. And if we actually think there's going to be a major, change a change in the upstream, supply, chain, to be more local. Because of potential. Limitations, that occurred at the start of this, uh. I think the golden standard is products. Disappearing, from shelves whether that was just a computer psychological, rush, but the questions immediately popped up of. Should we be making things more local. And if the answer is yes, uh, do you, see that change happening, fast, slow. Or kind of the normal pace. Yeah it's it's a good question the the the localization. And also, what consumers. Wanting more locally, sourced, is is clearly a preference, that uh has been around. Long before pandemic. The shortages, in certain, goods. And supply chain. Toilet paper to name one of them hand sanitizer. Has clearly shown us where the vulnerabilities. Are in the supply, chain. And it goes well beyond what is local versus, comes from further afar, but also the sourcing, of the materials, already right.
So, Um, our. Big belief, is that. Blockchain, technology, i mentioned it earlier. Can be such a conduit. To help. For the full transparency. Of that supply, chain from sourcing, the material, all the way to, where ultimately, the goods are logistically. Uh. Being transported. And it can be local as well as well beyond. We believe, that, the data, and the availability. Of, having that ledger based on blockchain. Approach. Is instrumental. In. The safety. Of the supply chain and the availability. Of product. And then to innovate, on top of that so, it's not only local, although that is certainly a trend but it goes well beyond that and really looks at it as an end-to-end. Opportunity. To solve for. Yeah william i'd be curious your thoughts on this with regards, to no doubt. Um, as new products develop, or new styles. Come into play, the opportunity, on the visual merchandising. Side is, lean into special features of that product. With regards. To. Local, and supply, chain. Are you noticing that these conversations. Potentially, no doubt have always been a part of the conversation. But are more so now, due to the current, situation. Or, what are your thoughts on the topic. Um. The supply chain is a difficult, thing for us because one of our selling points is that it's italian, and everything is made in italy it, has to come from there so, um, it's very. Difficult for us to be local. Um, i think, the the big question, is how. Quickly, and seamlessly. We can get the item. Into the customer's, hands, we're finding that. The the patience, level is shortening. Obviously, and, people walk into a location. They see something they want to buy it there and then. And, that instant, gratification. Is the challenge. In my industry. I mean you look at some players out there they can, offer that 24-hour. Shipping. Directly, to your home, i think, that just gonna get bigger and bigger, and more important. Just because i don't think and instant gratification. Is just going to keep growing. I don't think there is much patience, to wait. One week two weeks even longer. For the item that you're expecting. Yeah that that makes a lot of sense as someone that was i was on the business development, side of amazon mostly, digital, but one of the ethos, of that company. You you just look at the flywheel, which is online. It's. Uh, increase customer, selection. Reduce, prices, and it's just this flywheel, of sorts, right, so as consumers, get trained on that, a question to the group we've talked a lot about, safety, if we can accommodate. Safety. Um. That maybe that, that, adds one leg to the stool, of people returning, to retail. But the other piece is. As, people. Sat on their couch ordered their goods. Potentially. As retailers, as brick and mortar locations, as malls become, campuses, with events. What. How hard will retailers, have to try. To also, be more of an event. An experience. Of sorts. And this is the question, no doubt to the entire group and i'd be curious. Um will you no doubt you have some insights with regards to how fendi is approaching this or how you're thinking about this, silica no doubt your clients. Sometimes we all have to wear multiple hats as consultants, you, the scope is this, and then they go yeah but how would you implement. And no doubt amy. When. Your technology, is deployed, they're asking, hey so now that we have it how would you recommend, we, we tell people about this is this is this so special that we should do pr, around it so i guess broad question to everybody, on that front, um. William if you'd like to go first. Yeah i mean. Say looking at 2019. Every, conversation, we had was about driving, foot traffic, how do we get people to return, to brick and mortar stores, it was about, creating, experiential. Retail. Creating, an exciting, environment, pop-ups. Pop-ins. Special, special collaborations. To drive.
Foot Traffic. And now, that conversation, isn't on the table. So, it's a massive, pivot. Um i don't know if i have the answer yet and i. I'm absolutely. Open. Uh to suggestions, and feedback. Um, like i said i think it's. How are we engaging. Our clients. Um, on a virtual, level and still giving them these special. Moments. That they feel engaged. So. Um. Definitely, for you william, is that it sounds like you probably have a lot of good ideas once the world turns back to normal. Yes i have a whole folder, of ideas. That we can action, when we feel more comfortable. We'll get there, very good, very good. Silke, amy any thoughts. Yeah, um, and you know feeding off what uh what william, started allude to so. Much more of an experience. And an engaging. Experience, is what our consumers, and customers. Want, it's it's no longer. The differentiator. But it becomes a table stake and people expect, that and you know chadwick, in your prior life and the standards, that you know you said. I. There's so many clients, of ours who say we want an amazon, like experience. Because that is the expectation, that consumers, have and so. Um, even before, pandemic. A lot of the, design, work the technology, innovation, design work had to put the consumer, at the core and while that is a you know non-shocking. Truth. It is how do you. Have the right level of technology, support, across an omni-channel. Experience. That you, really hit those moments, that matter. And they're not all created equal, they there are some that of course you know i want a good search experience, i want to be able to, do this on any device, and when i walk into the store or when i actually decide to purchase. You better know me um. That's kind of an expectation, so that that's that's table stakes as well but, how do you then become. Helpful. And um. Yeah, supportive. Of the con, consumers. Experience. Um is at the core of, all our technology. Enablement. So. We are. Able to, um develop, a lot, um as you know for our clients, ourselves, on, what is technically. Feasible. But where does it really make a difference, where do i maybe, help you as the consumer. Not have to. Punch in your you know, sizing, information, again or your color preference, or your dietary, restrictions. But i can transport, that into another environment, so it's, little but very meaningful, moments, like that we call them moments, of truth. That matter in that shopping experience, and we have, now made it a habit, and. To always think of it as an experience, journey. And not only one moment in time because. What you read in content, maybe. Next week. Is in the back of your mind as you go online and browse and research, is something that you might then also want to have as a brand experience, in the store, so thinking about it as a consumer.
And Empathy-led. Journey, with. Very specific moments of truth that matter and oftentimes, are also very brand related. Is uh it has been key and it has been very very, uh. Enjoyable. To make that even more important. Through the pandemic, but well beyond, as well i think that's a trend. That you design, and innovate, uh. As an end-to-end, perspective, that's from the consumer, vantage point is uh, what what i place my bet on. Well, i think chadwick, to your, original, question, i think that immersive. Experience, has been the goal for a long time. From retail, to many many other industries, and in fact if you you know you go back to talking about vr and ar. Which is how you and i originally, had connected. Um that is of course the goal of those immersive technologies, how can we better engage, and this really though, speaks to both the point that everyone's brought up this morning. Um is that personalization. Because, um, you know some of these things that these immersive technologies, do is help that personalization. Process. You talk about. Data points and moments of truth, and, and uh william you're talking about you know very specific, catering, to specific demographics. And, and how and when you make those choices. Uh you know a lot of it's based on um, what that person is expecting, what that end consumer. Is used to or what they see out there as a vision for the future. You know so i think um. Hopefully. Uh there will be more experiences. You know in retail, um brick and mortar, as people are able to reopen. But also just implementing. Um technology, across the board. And on to that point i think there's is, there's a difference in technology, i mean not everything is equal. So thinking about what something is particularly. Good at, and not trying to make it fit a different foot for example. Um, you know vr. Is very good at this particular, thing ar is very good at this, um you know you've got your, your, your screen your zoom calls.
Uh Such as this or versus, you know an alt space or something else so using technology. Specifically, to what those technology. Uh, capabilities, are good at. I think that's uh that's a great, great question william go ahead please. Sorry it's just something to add and just something i'm thinking about. Is. From a personal, level, the amount of kind of email, communication. I got from, companies, brands. To the point it's overwhelming, and i don't open anything. And. With, press and marketing, budgets, going down i think there's really something, about. Technology. And marketing. And really getting smarter, and clever, about it as silky, mentioned. Making it more personal. Knowing. What i will open, as an email and make me, interested, whether it's through instagram, or all these other platforms. I think this is where technology. Can really help drive, engagement. All right so we're actually so we're i've been sprinkling, in the questions from the qa i'm going to add one more, to the end but what i want to on this last question. Which i will give you now and then i'll give you instructions, so you can think about it, um, william you brought up a specific technologist, now where where instead of just email blasts, which i'm sure we all know, we've started, the stage one is you you go to one of my folders, i don't want to unsubscribe, from you just yet but, we're just going to put you in a folder and stage two is too many too many, unless you're providing value, right and value is different for everybody. Um and i always i see all those posts about emails are the most important one because we all have one or the majority of folks have one and if you actually get read. That is that is that is the the golden circle of trust between you and a brand. So with regards to technologies. What gets you excited, what is what is, what is. The technology, or. One of the top ones. That you think is going to enable, the customer, experience. To justify, folks, to come, back. Into brick and mortar what what is the. The true north, for you when you speak to your clients. Hey i'm a big. Uh, developer, i'm a i'm a retail, brand. Um, i have x budget. And i need whatever i determine, my. My kpi, of success to be i need it to work. And you are going to recommend. A singular, technology, or you're going to at least proselytize, one, if you were to pick one for example mine is smart glasses i'm very excited i don't think they're happening this year, probably not next, but you just look at all of the leaks, from apple, and, version two of google glass when, instead of looking at our our phones in our prayer position, potentially. The virtual and augmented, reality, experiences. We've created can be superimposed. On the real world, and hopefully. Folks like william. Uh, can can make sure that that experience, feels natural and customized, to me and silke can make sure she, she proselytizes, that across all of her clients. Um so the question to you is what technologies, get you excited, about the future. And if you don't mind, if, folks that are are, watching the recorded, version or are, in our attendees. Room. Let them know where they can follow you or learn more about, um get in touch. Or uh, where they can at least um learn more about what you're up to.
So Whoever wants to start um silke if you don't mind. Yep um, i will go first and i'll go fast. So, i. Believe that, uh, the. The use of headsets, and you know virtual glasses, um has been around for some time they're getting better. Uh, the question i often get asked as well when is it finally critical, mass when do we go from. Developers. Getting really excited, to the broad, consumer. Groups, and i. Do not believe that it is um. As imminent as next year it's all of a sudden, we will tilt and it will be mass adoption, we are certainly headed in that direction. I think augmented, reality, and what i can do on my mobile phone. And overlay. Information, that is relevant, to me at the moment. Is quite the key so a lot of the cases, that we help clients, with is, what type of data do i want to see on my mobile device. When i'm walking down the street or that reminds, me and proactively. Pings me that there is a sale going on at my favorite retailer. And that you know very importantly. At that luxury, italian, brand that i'm so devoted, to. Um that they are having a you know sneak preview, or a vip, event that i didn't know so mobile phones are with us. At all times, uh for the better or worse. How do i get the mobile, experience, to become. More organic, and more seamless, is is where we are at and that includes, the augmented, reality, version, so as i maybe then walk into. That store, i'm also able to scan. Um what i want to see in terms of information. And that can go all the way back to you know the origin, this was truly sourced in italy. This comes from a craftsman, in venice. As a con as a discerning, consumer, i would want to see that so, we are advising, and we're banking, a lot of the augmented, reality, version, data as well as the interaction, with the with the merchandise, itself. Fantastic, and soco where can folks. Learn more about your practice. Um, or the ibm, group that you're with or potentially even follow your updates. Absolutely, yeah so ibm.com. Is a great resource. Because, there are. Different, links also. Into the topics, i talked about big data, virtualization. Blockchain, so dig around, look there's a lot of free information, actually great research. And then. You have my name here on the screen. You can find me on linkedin, i'm absolutely, delighted, to continue the dialogue. And uh yeah very happy that you had me on today. Thank you very much uh william, do you want to go next. Sure, um. Yes so i mean i i mentioned it briefly, earlier, there's, there's several companies, that do this but, for us um. It's called hero, but there's other brands. Um other companies, that have it so you're looking online you see the little pop-up in the corner. It's a client advisor, that can help you. However i think the difference, is it's not a, chat bot. It's actually someone human in a store. And for us as a business i think that's great there's that real personal, level and they can tell you those stories. And it's also a great way of kind of giving us access to someone that was an online shopper, that didn't normally come to a physical brick and mortar store, there's an opportunity. There for us to, start a conversation, and build a relationship. Um outside, of then that online, shop so, i i think there's a lot of potential, there something super simple. Uh but i think can bring, a lot of good. Um. Yeah also you can, you can find out more about. Fendi on fendi.com. Please do some browsing, have a shop, um, and if you need, any further information, or want to chat further, you can also find me, under my name on linkedin. Thank you very much thank you, all right amy you're, up. I'm going to have to say i would recommend, everyone having a cling box. Um as a technology, that i'm personally very excited about. And i am a big fan of virtual and augmented reality, obviously in every other tech that we've talked about and i think that there's a place for all of it, um and i you know but i i think as a consumer, myself. I mean i want to go back to the shops um even though i purchased a lot online mostly because i travel, but it's exciting there's something that you do get in person. That you get virtually, and i i think that that's, that's something that people will continue, to value. So if you come into a store and you know that you can, bring your cell phone and just leave it at the front and have it cleaned while you're doing your shopping experience, that's as important, as knowing.
That That same, brand did that for you, with either their products or or anything, else to mitigate, that risk it could be you know you used a clean box to decontaminate. The all the employees, masks or you're coming in and you get to decontaminate. Your own, so having a clean box in every store. And. Having a visual, of that, um. Because we do provide, some visual. Guides for that 60 second process, it makes it interesting. Gives people something to look at, um, so i'm excited about that, um you can find me of course on linkedin amy hedrick. My name is spelled correctly here thank you very much chadwick. There is no in in the last name just for clarity. Um and then my company is cleanboxtech.com. So please do take a look at some of the products that we offer, and i'd love to hear from you and thank you again. Thank you thank you to all of our panelists. I was uh the first person, on my block with an oculus, rift dev kit, i hope to be the first with a clean box. Um, so i will ping you for that so thank you all um, we have a lot of questions still remaining, i want to be mindful of all of our panelists, time so, uh panelists. Don't be surprised, if you get a lot of folks reaching out questions range from, diving deeper into certain technologies, and potential practical, use cases, to the efficacy. And the ability, in certain, regions. On personalized, data what is the balance of anonymizing. Data. Versus enabling, folks. To say hey. You're doing a great job please provide me my recommendations. So, don't be surprised, if you get a lot of inbounds, and for those of you that are watching. Um these webinars are hosted monthly, feel free to, follow diamond on all of the social platforms, including linkedin. And be sure to sign up for getting notifications. At diamond.la. Webinars. So with that thank you all of our panelists. Thank you to our asl, interpreter. Shout out. And, again diamond's all about accessibility. Let's build tech that's for everyone. And, we'll see you next month. Bye-bye. Thanks. Everybody.