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L. Nitin Chordia : Google I/O conference in San Francisco - Retail Implications
Posted On: 22-05-2013 17:00:00 PM

L Nitin Chordia is a Retail Business Sparring Partner with 10+ years of experience in the Retail Industry. L Nitin Chordia has travelled and worked extensively for top 20 retailers across the globe (including UK, USA & India). L Nitin Chordia is based out of Chennai, India and believes that "Customers are no longer interested in what you want to sell them. They are far more interested in how you fulfill whatever need they require to be fulfilled"

Google recently unveiled some important changes at the Annual Google I/O conference in San Francisco, which, I believe, can potentially have a positive impact on most Brick & Mortar retailers. Retailers please listen up! Please find below a few scenario’s that apply to a retailer.

New Features / Introductions

Google Maps
Google proudly introduces that it has built the maps experience “ground up” while focusing on social discovery.

Here’s what I Think
With stunning Google imagery, as well as user-generated photos that can be uploaded and submitted to Google Maps, it certainly aids discovery at the retail level. Retailers need to integrate with and update information in real time.

Relevant Scenario/Application for Retail
A shopper sees a summary of reviews of the retailer A on maps and relevant offers/promotions while searching for a competitor on the map and gets influenced to visit a competitors business. The shopper can also check for availability of seats at a restaurant and book a few seats directly from google maps without having to navigate away.

Android and Chrome
Google announced there have been a total of 900 million Android activations and its Chrome browser now has 750 million active users.

Here’s what I Think
With these numbers, it became clear that these 2 cannot be ignored and should form integral part of a retailers strategy going forward. The popularity of Android and Chrome clearly opens up large opportunities for retailers to integrate online and offline experiences.

Relevant Scenario/Application for Retail
Retailer B now provides a seamless user experience to the shopper who starts his shopping discovery on a smart phone, further research on his office computer and may finally ‘group’ shop with his family/friends on a tablet before deciding to buy at the store! The experience is carried over across android/chrome devices and based on the physical location of the shopper using his mobile phone location and browsing history across devices, specific features of a product can be highlighted to the shopper and help in the shopping process.

Google Cloud Improvements
Google Cloud Messaging just got a big revamp and promises to be a whole lot faster. Currently, only 1 way communication is allowed and the connection is not persistent.

Here’s what I Think
To me this is the most exciting of the changes we have seen from a user engagement perspective.

Relevant Scenario/Application for Retail
Retailers can now use the super efficient and lightning fast communication backbone from Google cloud messaging and save themselves from building another communication pipeline from the mobile app to their server for simple and quick tasks and can now use the upstream functionality to let users communicate with the retailer in real time. Retailer C can use this communication pipeline to get quick feedback from users about their experience without having to move away from the current screen!

I am tempted to point out to another use case where the user is within a geolocation and the user can ask for assistance. The retailer knows exactly where the user is located within a store and can attend to him instantly (even better- the retailer can engage keep the user further engaged until he is attended to)

And another one – a user is browsing for a product and cant find the specific size of jeans he is looking for. He can use the upstream notification feature to notify the retailer about this in real time. On receiving this communication, the retailer can let the user know when the product is back in stock or availability at an alternate location.

Chrome Voice Commands
Google is also adding voice commands to Chrome. By saying "Okay, Google" and then asking a question. Google will then speak back to you.

Here’s what I Think
Voice will continue to play a major role in assisting in the shopping experience. Retailers should include voice appropriately in their implementations and bridge the divide between offline and online interactions.

Relevant Scenario/Application for Retail
Retailer D can now provide a more intuitive user experience by integrating voice discovery on its mobile app or desktop/mobile site. A user can say, “where is the closest store location” or “take me to the laptops page”. Or a user can also say, what is the price of a levis jeans and the user navigates through the search using voice navigation where the system speaks back and interacts with the user.

Location-Based Services
Google announced some interesting enhancements to its Android location services. It will now take advantage of all the sensors available on Android devices.

Here’s what I Think
This enhancement has the most impact on retail and retailers should put their creative hats on to ensure that they integrate technology with the shopper’soffline shopping experience.

Relevant Scenario/Application for Retail
Retailer E locates a specific shopper within a designated location within the store, which is geo fenced (using the new Geofencing API) and is able to send personalized offers based on his historical or current location or context and lets the store manager know that a specific loyal customer is within the store! No Kidding, Yes, you are permitted to let your imagination go wild!

New Gaming APIs

Here’s what I Think
Google announced tools to help developers make their Android games more social and available across devices simultaneously. These are exciting times for a retailer to engage with shoppers and include social shopping and discovery.

Relevant Scenario/Application for Retail
Retailer F holds a contest where users/shoppers are asked to build a recipe using ingredients available in the store and in the process help them discover the application of various ingredients and merchandise. Fellow shoppers can then order all the ingredients that make a recipe, must more quickly using the new google wallet fast checkout feature.



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