Enterprise hits and misses - shoppers hit the grocery stores, AI gets an ROI check, and the metaverse hype machine refuels

Jon Reed Profile picture for user jreed June 20, 2022
Summary:
This week - shoppers return to grocery stores - are retailers ready for the hybrid consumer? Events season rolls on; Oracle offers tech earnings hope. Transformation turns into lessons learned, and, just in time for the whiffs section - the metaverse gets a $5 trillion hype projection.

King Checkmate

Lead story - As shoppers hit the grocery stores, what's the relevance of a digital strategy?

MyPOV: With shoppers returning to grocery stores, coupons in hand (or on phone), it begs the question: what do consumers want from digital now? And can stores deliver on that? Stuart examines Kroger's outlook in Digital dips for Kroger as shoppers get back behind their real world shopping carts:

Digital sales have declined six percent year-on-year as shoppers returned to the grocery store,  but US giant Kroger’s focus on its Accelerating with Digital strategy is paying off.

How? Start with using analytics to track product freshness. Stuart quotes Kroger's CEO:

We continue to increase our use of forecasting and analytical tools, specifically leveraging [retail data science specialist] 84.51 to improve our ability to maintain fresh products in stock, both in store and online.

Data science -> personalized experiences? Kroger says its working well - look no further than record floral sales on Valentine's Day.

Our broad-based data science approach helps us determine how to best implement price, promotion, and display.

Loyalty programs and fuel rewards - another growth area. As for digital, it's the fusion of online and in-store that looks to be the big payoff:

In pick-up, we unveiled new technology that improved wait times 20% and expanded capacity based on customer needs. In delivery, we continue to introduce key initiatives that expand our reach and shorten delivery times.

Of course, that's the hard part also - where the friction pops up for customers. It's the "elegant" fusing of digital and store that I believe will define the winners and losers when we look back - be it groceries or almost any other consumer staple. One thing I found very interesting: the "employee experience" focus. Yes, lip service is always a danger here - but the implementation of Microsoft Teams Rooms for most Kroger locations is intriguing. I'll be curious to know if that has a morale or service impact. For now, Stuart concludes:

Kroger didn’t get the pummeling that Walmart did when it announced its latest numbers last month. The firm was a playbook in how to strike the elusive omni-channel balance during the height of the COVID crisis. How it plays out in the Vaccine Economy may yet be another template for good practice.

Diginomica picks - my top stories on diginomica this week

Vendor analysis, diginomica style. Here's my three top choices from our vendor coverage:

Salesforce World Tour hits London - use cases and analysis. Salesforce has been everywhere, really, including Salesforce Connections Chicago. The diginomica team was out in strength for the London event. Here's some Salesforce highlights across events:

Samsara Beyond 2022 user conference, with Derek on the ground in San Francisco:

A few more vendor picks, without the quotables:

Best of the enterprise web

Waiter suggesting a bottle of wine to a customer

My top eight

Capture a digital transformation's value today - I'm about to give McKinsey a hard time in the whiffs section, but they've earned their spot in the picks session also. Viva la paradox. Their insights on top-performing transformation projects versus the underperformers are sticky-note-worthy:

  • The use of digital tech to achieve strategic differentiation on customer engagement and innovation rather than cost efficiencies—and bolder digital strategies that are more likely to be successful than more incremental ones
  •  The development of proprietary assets, such as AI, data, and software, rather than a reliance on off-the-shelf tools
  •  A focus on attracting and developing tech-savvy executives and on better overall integration of tech talent into the organization rather than just getting new tech talent in the door.

Not a bad roadmap, eh?

Overworked businessman

Whiffs

So US TikTok User Data Has Been Repeatedly Accessed From China, Leaked Audio Shows (supposedly, TikTok will be countering this report). All I know is if you use these "free" mega-services and expect your data won't be passed around like a Netflix log-in leaked/swapped/surveilled/sold, you're cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs. Meanwhile, this was a tad underwhelming:

As for McKinsey:

Did the metaverse really need another shameless plug? This doesn't even seem like the same McKinsey that offered us such a sober/helpful view of digital transformation lessons above. I guess McKinsey doesn't want to miss out on the metaverse consulting bucks Accenture is lining up for. But those who consult (and build metaverse infrastructure) don't have to worry about one wee thing end-customers do: ROI. Serious firms should be helping customers:

  • Separate the metaverse hype from reality - which tech is ready and which isn't, and so on.
  • Define what the metaverse is or isn't, and which subsets of the metaverse we are talking about (big difference between alternate reality personas,  augmented reality for real estate or medical appointments, Facebook selling ridiculous hipster metaverse clothing, and digital twins).
  • Understand the industry-specific use cases.
  • Help customers prioritize metaverse investments versus other pressing issues, like fixing their supply chains, coping with the fact that no one wants to work in their massive real estate holdings, and, as per the retail example, getting an omni-channel lock-in on customers before their competitors do.

Hyping up a $5 trillion amorphous "don't miss out on this action!" supposed market coming in eight years doesn't help anyone get good projects over the finish line. Funny me, I thought that was the goal. Finally, my own dose of humble pie:

If you find an #ensw piece that qualifies for hits and misses - in a good or bad way - let me know in the comments as Clive (almost) always does. Most Enterprise hits and misses articles are selected from my curated @jonerpnewsfeed.

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