Amazon Go accelerates in size and confidence


Amazon Go Grocery, an expanded version of the walk in, select and walk out Amazon Go format, has been open since end February and it is different from the much smaller stores that preceded it and which have been making inroads in cities across the US.

Rather than being sub 2,000 sq ft, this is a 10,400 sq ft concern, putting it firmly in the small neighbourhood supermarket or super-sized convenience store category.

As such, the offer is substantially different from the Amazon Go norm where the focus has been on snacks, prepared and packaged foods and perhaps a cup of coffee from a machine while the shopper is at it. In Amazon Go Grocery there is a much greater fresh offer and it now becomes possible to shop for the evening meal or even to stock the larder. Yet the look and feel of the store is nearly identical to an Amazon Go with the difference being the mechanics of allowing customers to have a ‘bigger’ shop with trolleys, reusable bright green bags and suchlike.

There are also elements of the Amazon-owned Whole Foods Market about what has been done with products from suppliers to that chain being used to boost the Go Grocery offer, although prices are generally lower than in the sister enterprise.
this still doesn’t break even with the economics but they look more and more likely to be able to develop that in the future . There will be a limit to how many they will launch but when they do sort out economics beware 7-11 in USA and TESCO Sainsbury’s in UK.

This may all still represent small change for Amazon, but increasingly the app-based walk in walk out food shop at scale looks a realistic possibility. UK retailers need to take note.

check out other Blogs on Amazon and on creating fast check-outs

1. Bezos masterclass in management through shareholder letters #1 /22

2. Zig while amazon zags

3. Amazon-Go leading the way

4. Robots make stores Better Simpler Cheaper

5. Frictionless C-Stores



The Three Kinds of People You Want on your Next Big Project


The 3 Kinds of People You Want on Your Big New Project

Leadership Tip of the Week #104

adapted from HBR

When you’re building a team for a high-profile project, you want an all-star team.

But it’s not enough to put your high performers on the task.

There are three types of people who should be on the team of any breakthrough initiative.

1. look for people who are comfortable with uncertainty. You need individuals who will remain curious and focused even when the project is far from the end goal.

2. be sure you have people who create structure within chaos and take action. These workers can drive a team forward even when circumstances change.

3. find people who have a combination of three critical traits: divergent thinking (the ability to connect seemingly unrelated information and ideas); convergent action (the ability to execute on ideas and create something tangible); and influential communication (the ability to share knowledge in a coherent, compelling way).

Lots of people have one of these critical traits, but your project team needs employees who have all of them.

Adapted from “If Your Innovation Effort Isn’t Working, Look at Who’s on the Team,” by Nathan Furr et al.

Zippin through the store


A Bay Area startup has launched a small public demo in San Francisco that will grow into a full-sized AI-driven convenience store in the coming months.

A Cooler with soft drinks and sandwiches and a shelf full of crisps is just the beginning for this start-up Cashierless C-store concept by Zippin that launched recently. But the Beta concept will scale rapidly Into a fully fledged C-Store as learnings are applied.

The concept uses relatively inexpensive cameras and weight sensors on shelves. The camera feeds are analyzed by algorithms trained through machine learning to recognize the appearance of each product the store accurately understand when a customer picks up items and puts them in a bag or pocket.

An app is used to sign in and complete the checkout. This also improves the customer experience as customers get used to the technology, and learn how to use it by signing in ( we found that helps customers know that we know they aren’t stealing things ) as well as quick payment.


Amazon-Go is rolling out in further stores in San Francisco and New York as well as rumoured to be looking in London. Walmart has just announced a larger less tech but still cashierless store in Dallas.

Zippin will provide another technology that will allow retailers to compete with Amazon-Go in the Better, Simpler, Cheaper stake.

Seven new realities of retail world

data-driven-marketing-4Consumers have fundamentally changed how they shop and how they buy. This shift has forced retailers to adapt to a new paradigm. Here are the seven realities of the new retail world

  1. A proliferation of new technologies has created substantial new opportunities to understand and serve customers, which means organisations must put forth the effort to integrate new technology into regular processes and procedures. Don’t start with technologies but start with people & processes.
  2. Removal of the Silos of  data and departments must be broken down to enable centralized data.
  3. Retailers must build complete, 360-degree portraits of customers to recognize them as individuals and understand their buying behaviors. Consumer personas are key to relevant and personalized experiences for customers who represent high-value potential for pro tability.
  4. Brands must reach across all channels and devices to provide meaningful experiences based on each consumer’s demonstrated preferences.
  5. The Customer Shopping Experiences across physical and digital channels should be seamless for consumers, while digital and physical measurement and attribution should be seamless for retailers.
  6. Consumers now expect personalised and relevant content that retailers can and must deliver, using data-based insights, to drive the best customer experience.
  7. All data must be handled in a transparent and ethical manner, with retailers accountable for ensuring it is used in ways that bene t consumers and protects them from harm.

Become the Future: know your customer

customer 5


With every new opportunity to engage and serve we are also provided an opportunity to learn. Smart retailers will use all of this to drive singularly and powerfully toward one ultimate goal…

Creating profound, data-informed, connections with your consumer.

We must never lose sight of the big picture to connect with and enrich the lives of each consumer as a unique and recognised individual. In the new world of retail, the future is a seamless and meaningful connection … and the future is here.

As we’ve seen, both from research and in execution, using integrated technology to understand, reach and provide value to your consumer is a strategy that works. But becoming exceptional, when it comes to ethical data gathering and deployment, isn’t just a good idea, it is the fundamental route to survival for modern retailers.

In spite of the state of urgency created by the increasing demands of consumers, many retailers are still behind the curve on both industry adoption and meeting customer expectations.

From seamlessly blended digital and offline worlds to introducing products and ideas that users don’t even know they want yet, today’s leading retailers are those who are setting trends — not merely keeping up with them.

As we look toward the horizon, we will find the brands that embody progress and thrive on the bleeding edge of technology will become the aspirational beacons in their space. The ability to cultivate breakthrough campaigns and captivate both your customers and your competitors’ customers is within your reach.

5 tips for driving (digital) success

5 fingersHere are 5 simple tips will help drive success in your organization and make you a (digital) hero:

1. Identify and understand the problems
This is so trivial but yet incredible important and frequently ignored. Companies, governments and other organizations try to solve problems without understanding them. The first step of solving any challenge, with our without technology, is to identify and understand the problem(s). I use plural because we often jump on the first problem when there are several. There’s a myriad of great tools to identify problems including the 5 Whys, Customer Journey mapping, Customer Research, and more.

2. Be inspired and challenged by great people
The honest truth is that most people are comfortable with what they have and know. The unknown and change is frightening. But to survive in the current competitive, fast-moving world we need to challenge ourselves to consider other points of view, think differently, and to change fundamentals.

These are a few ways you can challenge yourself:

  • Follow people on Twitter and LinkedIn such as Tom Goodwin, Martin Lindstrom and Benedict Evans
  • Meet and hire partners that will challenge you (and don’t always agree)
  • Talk to the competition’s customers

3. Always involve unbiased customers
Another basic mistake too many organizations make is solving problems without involving the people that are intended to use it. For example launching a website without testing the concept, content and final design on the intended target audience or deploying an expense management tool without including employees in the evaluation and implementation process.

Lack of time or cost are common excuses, but how much time and money do you lose when a website or software doesn’t achieve its goals?

Always involve end users at every step of the way. Remember that colleagues or the boss are usually not representative of the end users.

4. Define clear success factors, measure and follow-up
How do we know if we’ve achieved success if we didn’t define it in the first place? Many organizations have too generic or end-goal-centric metrics. The most common measures of success are revenue growth and cost savings. The challenge with these is that it’s usually not possible to measure success until e.g. 3-6 months after the project has been completed.

A better alternative is to include success factors that can be measured throughout the project. For example user task completion rate, satisfaction and sticking to the MVP timeline.

5. Understand why Culture eats Strategy for breakfast
Want to change the business or organization? Think that a new app, knowledge sharing system or HR website will achieve radical change? It won’t unless people want change. Ensure that every initiative to change has a plan to get buy-in from the organization including the grass roots. No. 3 above will help, but is not enough.

Use these 5 tips in whatever you do and I can promise you a greater chance of success. Furthermore there’s a pretty good chance that the organization will consider YOU a digital hero.

Amazon-Go leading the way


Amazon opened a fourth Amazon-Go cashier less convenience store in Chicago, the first location outside Seattle. The new store is at 113S Franklin St in Chicago’s Loop, one block from one of the City’s elevated train routes and within a few blocks of Union Station. Good C-Store location dense with Office workers and on a commenter path.

Amazon-Go using camera technology, scanners and Machine learning algorithms to improve the customer journey.  They may be ahead in technology but they still have a long way to go understanding Food Retailing.

Read here about the first store AMAZON GO-GO

Amazon isn’t the only one chasing a cashier less vision, Frictionless shopping is the goal of many retailers and start-ups.  Companies like Standard Cognition and Zippin have opened their own pilot stores so other retailers can use the technology.

Standard Market based in SanFrancisco is a concept store that users overhead cameras but no sensors to correctly matches items to the right shopper, detects when a shopper returns an item to the shelf or puts it in a bag or a pocket. (View a video HERE) Customers download the STandard Checkout App to shop and checkout. No scanning required for a frictionless experience.  View more detailed story HERE,

Zippin are a startup based in BAy Area of SanFrancisco and have a Beta-Concept store where they are learning fast  READ more HERE

MobyMart in Shanghai is learning fast  ( read story HERE)

and in UK Tesco and Sainsbury’s are trialing stores where customers scan the products themselves and then have a simpler checkout on a phone.

Making it as easy and frictionless as possible is the battleground of retail in the next few years and using data and digital to deliver a Better, Simpler, Cheaper Shopping Experience is the ExamQuestion for many retailers at the moment .





Standard Market – Frictionless Store


Standard Market based in SanFrancisco is a concept store that opened on 7th September located at 1071 Market Street, that allows customers to shop & pay without scanning or stopping to checkout. The Proof-of-concept store uses overhead cameras but no sensors to correctly matches items to the right shopper, detects when a shopper returns an item to the shelf or puts it in a bag or a pocket.

Customers download the Standard Checkout App to shop and checkout. No scanning required for a frictionless experience.


This concept is potentially more scalable in Europe as it has higher levels of privacy with no Biometric information collected from customers including facial recognition, with lightweight installation process with overhead cameras and no sensors.

This is a great example of making the customer experience Better, Simple, Cheaper, with a frictionless experience for customers, simpler stores to run, and lower running costs ongoing. The opportunities around Anonomised shopper analytics in the store are also enormous, allowing continuous improvements.

7 steps Data-Driven Customer Growth.

seven steps

Accelerating customer growth to drive commercial success through data is challenging and requires commitment and alignment from around all the organisation to be successful, but there are 7 steps that make the journey more successful

  1. Identify the commercial & customer Goals in next 18m-36m
  2. Build a clear vision of a radically different data-driven customer experience, working across digital & bricks & mortar and align across the organisation.
  3. Remove Silos of data use creating a single version of the truth, with a data strategy linked to business goals e.g. Unified View of customer data, GDPR ready and tools developed to meet commercial goals.
  4. Breakdown the institutional fear of data & digital at all levels through training & doing: it’s a tool that anyone can use to do what you have been doing better
  5. Use Data Analytics to Map & Prioritise customer journeys & personalised experiences across human & digital touchpoints and align organisation capability to deliver for customer.
  6. Identify & Build the capabilities (Process, Tools People) that will be required to transform process design from efficiency focused (cheaper) to customer focused (better simpler cheaper) , specifically putting in place an analytics capability to enable data-driven, personalised journeys
  7. Foster stronger bonds between technical and different business people. This is a two-way process to ensure the technical teams understand the commercial imperatives, and customer solutions you would like to build, and the business teams learn to trust the expertise of technical IT teams. It will also allow you to improve data quality through showing the business impact.

Using Data & Advanced Customer Analytics  to put the customer at the heart of an organisation is a transformation that future looking organisations need to start implementing now.

Transformation to ensure data is part of the DNA of an organisation takes time and a holistic approach.

5 ways to compete with Amazon


 5  ways to compete with Amazon

One of the biggest challenges that face retailers at the moment is how to compete with the jugganaut that is amazon. Powered by the profit driver in Amazon Web Services and more recently Amazon Advertising Services the retail industry fears the arrival. But there are ways of defending by attacking

Strategy #1: Own the pre- and post-transaction experience
Amazon are very focused on making the transaction as easy as possible at low cost, but we still have to assemble solutions on our own. If an organisation offers a ready-made solution that saves us time and effort (at a price we can live with), we’re grateful.

  1. Meal delivery companies, for example, have leveraged this basic insight to create a new category. Cooking a meal is time consuming: go to the supermarket, fight through the crowds order to find a few ingredients, wait in a long line, lug your bags home, put everything away, measure and chop the ingredients, and assemble the meal.Meal delivery companies like Gousto, HelloFresh, and simply cook eliminate all of these chores but the last one by shipping pre-made meals that require very little prep. (Amazon launched their own meal kit delivery service in July in order to catch up after falling behind for five years.)
  2. Furniture  or Clothing : Virtual Reality is allowing you to select and choose furniture or clothing that fits your room or you.Once you’ve selected what you want to buy, sometimes extra effort is needed to actually assemble, install, learn how to use it, customize it, and then repair it once it breaks.
  3. Electrical retailers: DixonsCarphone Warehouse are competing vs amazon in electrical by offered get technical support pre and post purchase. Installing Fridge freezers, Kitchen ranges / recycling fridges.
  4. Garden Retailers offering Garden Services
  5. Mothercare offering to come and assemble the cot or bed for you rather than you have to put things all together.
  6. Laura Ashley assembling beds.

Strategy #2: Turn your services into a platform
The fastest-growing companies in history, such as Google, Facebook, Uber, Airbnb, Amazon, and Netflix, are all platforms. The platform business model captures the most profit, builds a moat that is hard for competitors to cross, and scales quickly once it reaches critical mass. While building up a global workforce of employees to offer support services may take massive amounts of time and capital, a platform can get there in a fraction of the time. And, if you don’t do it in your niche, it’s likely that Amazon will — if it hasn’t already.
Amazon Services uses a platform model to deliver hundreds of services at scale including services with and for the home, automotive, electronics, yard and outdoor, assembly, health and wellness, lessons and classes, and pet services. It even has an Uber-like service, Amazon Flex, which has drivers in 30 cities who deliver Amazon products.

You can build a platform by focusing on your niche , playing to your strengths, particularly your unique understanding of your customer, in order to more effectively recruit, vet, train, and manage a network of service professionals and help them solve the specific problems that customers in your niche face. The most successful platforms in the world aren’t ones that offer every service under the sun. They are ones that are the most focused.

  • Uber is a platform that has focused on logistics and transport
  • Netflix is not trying to meet all entertainment needs, but focused on emotional connection

Netflix founder Reed Hastings: “We’re not trying to meet all needs. So, Amazon’s business strategy is super broad. Meet all needs. I mean, the stuff that will be in Prime in five or ten years will be amazing, right? And so we can’t try to be that — we’ll never be as good as them at what they’re trying to be. What we can be is the emotional connection brand, like HBO. So, think of it as they’re trying to be Walmart, we’re trying to be Starbucks. So, super focused on one thing that people are very passionate about.”

Strategy #3: Reduce every point of friction in your customer’s journey until you hit a ‘wow tipping point’
To reduce the friction at every step of your customer’s user journey, leverage your own customer data to uncover friction points and relentlessly remove them. Start by removing glaring problems. Then keep going until you reach the ‘Wow!’ tipping point
A hallmark of many of today’s most successful companies, is that they don’t stop improving their product once it’s good enough. They identify every interaction their brand has with a customer and aim to make it a ‘Wow!’ experience. It’s not just tech firms; retailers are taking note as well.

Strategy #4: Create a must-have brand and then use it as leverage
One of the biggest threats to Amazon is the power of brand. A truly powerful, must-have brand like Apple or Disney doesn’t need Amazon to succeed. They have built a direct relationship with the consumer. As a result, Amazon has lost tens of billions of dollars in potential revenue because people buy Apple products on or in the Apple STore. Furthermore, Amazon’s whole business model is antithetical to people’s innate desire to display their personality and status through what they purchase. There is always going to be a segment of people who value self expression over low prices and convenience. The luxury category is one of Amazon’s Achilles’ heels.
Amazon is confronting the ‘brand’ threat in two ways.

  1.  First, amazon has shown that it’s not afraid to build or acquire its own brands (19 in total). Amazon also leverages its data on which products sell best in each category to launch its own generic brand, Amazon Basics, which now has over 3,000 products. In each category these products appear in, they are featured.
  2. commodifying brands by forced discounting, using its direct relationship with customers and audio purchasing to push competing commodity brands. With Amazon Alexa, customers can say, “Buy toothpaste,” and Amazon will send its recommended toothpaste rather than the toothpaste with the best brand, for example.

Make no mistake, Amazon is trying to destroy the value of branding overall and learn from your customers in order to compete with your most profitable products. Bezos’ famous saying, “your margin is my opportunity,” is particularly relevant here. Branding creates a perception that facilitates charging a higher price. Bezos is attacking that pillar of higher prices.
By having a must-have or a luxury product, you give yourself choices on how to leverage your brand:

  1. using an embargo period Netflix keeps its original content exclusive to Netflix for a certain number of days and then sells it on iTunes and other platforms. The other platforms are not only sources of cash, they are also marketing.
  2. allowing just some products to be sold on Amazon (sell some brands on Amazon and others only on your own site),
  3. not selling on Amazon at all (Birkenstock, for example, prohibits its sellers from selling on Amazon. Sales tripled to $800 million last year),
  4. partnering exclusively with one brand. (Martha Stewart has a multi-year exclusive agreement with Macy’s).

Strategy #5: Defining the problem & Extreme Experimentation

Amazon really understands the problem that they are trying to solve. and works hard to clarity the brief for any new innovation, making it crystal clear what the customer problem is they are trying to solve and then how they will develop a proposition to solve that problem .

This, more than any other strategy, is why Amazon is so successful: Amazon is not a traditional business. If you think it is you have already lost. You are competing against an economy.

Part of what makes the Economy Pyramid Model so successful is the sheer quantity of experimentation. Amazon’s culture of listening to customers , defining the problem & experimentation is so deeply ingrained that Bezos has repeatedly gone on record saying that Amazon’s success is directly correlated with the number of experiments it performs.

Amazon isn’t just experimenting internally with new platforms like Alexa, Kindle, Flex, Marketplaces, and dozens of others. Each of those platforms then empowers an economy of producers to create millions of experiments. In so doing, Amazon passes the cost of experimentation on to producers, receives income for each experiment, and then doubles down on the blockbusters by creating their own competing brand. It’s a brutally effective strategy. Amazon aggregates producer experiment data to launch its own competing products.
In a world that is rapidly changing, the companies that succeed will be those who increase their rate of experimentation faster than the environment changes. And Amazon is a core part of that environment.

If you need help in defining the problem and creating experiments contact me.


Zara’s Click & Collect Robots

zara C&C

As much as a third of Zara’s online sales are picked up in one of their stores. This in turn has led to a problem for the retailer, with long queues of disgruntled customers at the Click & Collect desk.

In an attempt to make the customer experience better-simpler-cheaper, Zara has developed a robotic service that involves fetching ordered items from the back of the store and bringing them to a drop box where the customer can collect them. Customers now only need to enter a collection code when they arrive in a store which activates this process.

Better-Simple-cheaper example of using Customer Data & Robotics to improve the Customer Experience

Alexa I’ll have a skinny decaf latte

starbucks-korea (1)

Starbucks have always been leaders in mobile technology to improve the customer experience, with leadership in mobile order & pay technology.

In an initiative designed to simplify ordering even more consumers in Korea can now remotely voice activate a Starbucks order using Samsung’s digital assistant Bixby. They can also pay for it at the same time in advance of picking it up . Starbucks led in South Korea ( a digitally leading culture) to be the first to leverage the technology to improve the customer experience

Frictionless C-Stores

Creating a seamless frictionless shopping experience is the goal of physical/ digital retail.

Amazon-Go has made the headlines ,Tesco have just announced the launch of a store with no checkouts,  and Sainsbury’s have a trial store in Clapham North but there are other examples around the world where retailers are learning fast:

The Moby Mart, based in Shanghai created by Wheelys, Hefei University of Technology and tech firm Himalafy, has been dubbed ‘the supermarket that comes to you’.

The Moby convenience store is a prototype C-Store that features no staff, no cash registers and runs on wheels, which means it can deliver orders or take itself off to a warehouse for restocking

To enter the C-Store customers download an app and register. They scan any item they wish to purchase or add it to a smart basket which tracks what they are buying. The customers card is automatically charged on leaving the store.

Moby uses advanced analytics and clever use of data and digital to create the new store

Forward-thinking Retailers will continue to use data and digital tech to create a friction-less customer experience that is better, simpler and cheaper for their customers in a relentless drive to meet their needs. The checkout / basket will be the biggest focus of development for retailers as it has one of the highest costs to serve, and the biggest opportunity to improve the customer experience.

Robots make stores Better Simpler Cheaper

Robotics driving acceleration in Better Simpler Cheaper

Walmart Bossanova Robot

Retailers are increasingly using Robotics to perform simple tasks and make the customer experience Better, Simpler, Cheaper for their customers

Walmart is using Robots from Bossanova in 50 of its USA stores to autonomously move around the aisles and, using a combination of image recognition and RFID to check inventory labels, enabling planogram compliance across the store. The robots can also read labels, detect if they are in the right position, as well as check they are showing the correct price. This is a bold move to remove tedious tasks for colleagues, replacing them to do more added value activity.

ocado warehouse

Ocado is continuing to invest in Robotics in its warehousing capability. The fleet of robots in its new  distribution site can now put together a 50 item order in 5 minutes, compared with the two hours that it previously took. The robotics have also increased the capacity fulfilling as many orders per hour as a warehouse three times the size, increase the range , reduce the waste levels to less than 1% vs industry average 4-5%.

These innovations mean that customers get a better service, it’s Simpler for colleagues and it’s Cheaper for the retailer which means they can make products cheaper for customers.

A Win-Win.

Don’t say change is hard when talking to colours

changeLeadership Tip of the Week #92

Adapted from HBR

When a change initiative hits a roadblock, leaders often remind people that “change is hard.” But that old saw can become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Momentary setbacks or delays can be viewed as the dead canary in the coal mine, and suddenly, employees disengage en mass.

Instead, try flipping the script, and recognise that adaptation is a golden rule of human existence, not an exception and we have been doing it for Millions of years.  In a University of Chicago study, researchers were able to change participants’ mindsets by reminding them that most people improve with a little bit of effort.

The results?

Study participants were quicker to identify the upsides of change than the downsides.

Instead of accepting that initiatives rarely succeed, remind yourself and your team that you’ve all been learning new skills and adapting to new environments for your entire lives.

And every time you feel the impulse to say “Change is hard,” make a different claim, one that is every bit as accurate:

Adaptation is the rule of human existence, not the exception.”

Adapted from “Stop Using the Excuse ‘Organizational Change Is Hard,’” by Nick Tasler

Uber focused on data


Uber use data to deliver against their core purpose: Travel & Logistics.

What’s Uber’s next move? Planes? Rockets? Hovercrafts? Nope, it’s bikes.

Uber has just paid $200m for Jump, a dockless bike share service that charges just $2 for a 30 min ride. The bikes are integrated with GPS, locks & a payment system so you just find one and pedal. Boris Bikes I hear you say ?

The bike-sharing market is only going one way: Up. It’s growing at 20% a year and set to be worth up to £4.6bn in 2020. Jump’s stats mirror this, with customers using their bikes 6-7 times a day and travelling 2.6 miles each trip.

With this, Uber’s bike stock rockets up to 12,000 across 40 cities and 6 countries. Their cash can help grow Jump worldwide, and quickly, but their poor reputation may also bring scrutiny to an industry which has had a few problems in the past…

Less than a decade after launching, Uber is no longer just cars. Recently they’ve launched a shipping service, food delivery, and now bikes. They’re also trialing car rental and the ability to buy public transport tickets. This appears to mark a new strategy: to own every part of the urban transport system.

Why now? 3 reasons:

  1. Uber has changed how people think about sharing
  2. Smartphone GPS services have made it easier than ever to get around
  3. Uber has the cash, brand & user base to make it happen

Uber envision a world where mum bikes to work, dad rents a van to pick up a new TV, the teenager gets her food delivered, and the family books their train tickets to see their cousins. We could even see an Amazon Prime-like model whereby you pay a blanket fee for unlimited usage.

But what if you don’t like cycling:

Don’t you worry, here’s a couple ways startups are reinventing travel:

  1. Citymapper: They’re using years of travel data from their app to create a ‘social hyper-local multi-passenger pooled vehicle’ i.e. a bus. It serves an optimised route, has USB chargers & you even get a ‘Busmoji’ when you get oncitymapper busmoji
  2. Touriocity: Bespoke walking guides given by expertstouriocity
  3. Kompas : using AI recomendations based on who you are and where you are to provide travel recommendationsKompas 2
  4. Bird: Taking it even further, by making dock-less electric Scooters




bird scooters



Never Stop Listening

produce shotNever stop Listening

As she’s scanning organic bananas or buckwheat kernels at the checkout the assistant at local health food store strikes up a conversation. She’s curious to know if the bananas are just for making smoothies and what the customer uses the buckwheat for. These seemingly insignificant interactions are hardly worth remembering and yet over time they spark ideas for new menu items to be introduced at the in-store cafe and give rise to opportunities to better serve her community of customers.

Good marketing starts with the customer’s needs and wants, not with the company’s emergency.

A great marketing strategy is geared towards creating lasting connections instead of simply being focused on reaching short term targets.

The gifted marketer doesn’t simply try to sell what’s in stock today. She strives to understand what her customer will want tomorrow and then creates the culture and momentum to deliver that.

If your success and profits are by-product of satisfied customers, it stands to reason that your priority is to matter, not simply to make and sell.

The challenge that many organisations have is understanding what matters to customers, and rapidly transferring that understanding into developing products and services that matter to customers.  Don’t get me wrong, being on the shop floor and interacting with customers is a critical part of marketers and leaders’ role. Good retailers still spend a day or two a week out in shops, and Terry Leahey in Tesco formalized this with every leader spending a week in store: TWIST, Tesco Week In Store Together, starting with himself.

Using Data-driven technology can harness the power of your colleagues and customers to listen intensively to customers and anticipate their needs at even more scale.

At Coop we starting a Listen Act and Fix programme where we gathered ideas from colleagues and used these to understand and prioritise problems to fix.

At Sainsbury’s “Tell Justin” was a colleague crowdsourced ideas generation programme where 150,000 colleagues could write to Justin King the CEO with ideas. He saw every idea and they were passed to senior managers to review. Every Idea earned a certificate for the colleagues and a simple thank you from Justin. The best ideas when they were implemented were celebrated through the company.

At Starbucks in USA they have taken this idea further to crowdsource ideas from customers. My Starbucks Idea created a digital portal and crowdsources suggestions to improve service/experience and lets users vote for their favourite ideas. Every idea is responded to by management and customers are kept involved in development, through digital media or you-tube style updates.  Ideas such as writing name on the cup, or even suggesting baristas taught the basics in sign language are being seriously reviewed.

Clever Cars

clever cars 2

What can your driving habits tell us? A lot is the answer. In fact, where people drive can reveal a lot more than Google searches and this is what advertisers, startups, and car-makers are quickly realising.

For years car companies have been installing software and sensors that collect driving behaviour and location data from our cars. This is invaluable to advertisers & car companies alike.


Car companies argue this data will enhance the driving experience CX.  It could help to predict flat tires, find parking spaces or charging spots, alert authorities to dangerous crossings & even track criminals fleeing from crime-scenes.

Advertisers are even more excited. Israeli startup, Otonomo, cleans up and organises data for carmakers. They let drivers select the information they’re willing to share with companies in exchange for rewards & discounts – imagine leaving work late and a £5 Dominos discount coming up on your display 🍕

This is only the start. Ford estimates that by 2020 their vehicles will have 100m lines of code and Gartner estimates 98% of new cars in the US & Europe will have an embedded cyber connection.

clever cars

What about BIG data?

The real interesting part is when all this data is aggregated. With all this data, companies can see trends that are linked to other events. For instance:

  1. Hedge funds could use boot sensor data to see how much people bought when they went shopping which would show consumer spending
  2. Banks could see how many people had stopped driving to work, thus suggesting they’ve lost their jobs, and if this number began to rise they could anticipate an economic downturn
  3. 3rd parties could track trips to the police station, domestic violence shelters, STI/HIV testing centres and infer sensitive information about drivers’ health and relationships.

Autonomous cars won’t stop us… 

One of the most important big-picture outcomes here is that car manufacturers are not only hardware companies now, they’re also software companies. It’s often been suggested that traditional companies will die off with the coming of autonomous cars, but this shows they’re using tech themselves to find new sources of revenue.

People need to be aware of the level of privacy they’ll be giving away. Soon your car could know more about you than your family…

Starbucks data driven coffee

starbucks cup

Starbucks have adopted a data driven mobile first approach to making the customer journey simpler and easier in its coffee shops world-wide.

Innovating and transforming the Customer experience by leveraging data-driven analytics and technology is critical for success in a 21st Century convenient foodservice retailer. 21% of Starbucks transactions are now completed via mobile … in store at the till using Apple Pay via app or using Starbucks Mobile Order and Pay . What’s more is Starbucks processes more than 6million Mobile Order and Pay transactions a month globally.

Mobile Order & Pay is available on iOS and Android . It’s an established of the popular Starbucks mobile app that allows customers to place and pay for an order in advance of their visits and pick it up at a participating Starbucks location. Mobile ordering is emerging as the fastest and easiest way for Starbucks customers to order ahead , then pay and pick up their purchases, providing on-the-go customers a simple and quick alternative to get their favourite coffee.

The Mobile Order and Pay feature allows customers to choose a store from a (Google) map view , browse , select and customise drinks, view the estimated time the order will be ready and pre-pay the order. All within the Starbucks app, and integrated into the existing Starbucks app, and my-Starbucks Rewards loyalty programme. A simple easy way to sign up and earn Stars

PROBLEM: It’s Too popular….

The Mobile Order & pay is creating some problems, that Starbucks are working hard to fix. Customers expect not to wait at all, but at busy times the queue is building up and customers are waiting and creating a headache. Starbucks being Starbucks though is working it through operationally and using data driven technology ahead of its rivals to improve the customer experience

They have launched an AI driven Starbucks Barista where customers can text through their orders: Check out below



Starbucks are leading the way as Tech leaders in convenience foodservice, using data and technology in a way that McDonald’s , are starting to respond but need to respond rapidly if they want to meet customer needs.


Cashless Starbucks

starbucks shop

Starbucks is experimenting with cashless restaurants at a posh location in downtown Seattle. Since January, your money is no good at the cafe inside the Russell Investments Center unless it’s in the form of plastic.

There is no sign announcing the policy, but a barista on Wednesday declined to take a $20 bill in payment for a short latte and a piece of lemon cake, explaining that the store is not accepting cash.

The test will help Starbucks  understand how cashless forms of payment may impact our customer experience,

Starbucks says its mobile payment and ordering app is a fast-growing success — to the point that last year it blamed slow sales growth a stores on crowding by people who had ordered from their phones.

The second-floor Russell Center cafe, dominated by armchairs, couches and at least one chaise longue, is reached from the lobby of the 42-story building, which is the corporate home of the online real-estate company Zillow as well as Russell, an international financial firm.

The cashless test is an opportunity to make Starbucks Better Simpler Cheaper, by removing the need to keep Cash in the Till, speeding up transactions,  removing a hygiene issue and removing the need to go to the bank to cash & change.

Employee theft is also less of a concern in a cashless system,  And the move may help in “positioning themselves as a very innovative company.”

“If we can shave another 10 seconds per order, over a day or over a year, that’s a lot of savings.

A box at the sales register made clear, however, that tips are still accepted in cash.

starbucks tip jat

Amazon Go-Go

amazon go

In January in Seattle, queues formed around the block for the first glimpse inside Amazon’s latest retail offering – Amazon Go.

Luckily, I had a colleague in Seattle checkout what it looked like on launch day  to see what the future of retail (might) look like; overall impression was that it was remarkable at how unremarkable it was…

Inside, the atmosphere was  calm – erring on the “good side” of downright boring, in fact, given the ease of the experience.

Before entering, everyone is required to download the Amazon Go app, the digital counterpart to the physical shopping experience. Downloaded over a phone network on the walk to the store, the app provides a short animation on how to navigate Amazon Go, followed by a QR code to identify yourself at the entrance. For a digital-first company such as Amazon, it was curious to see the digital elements function largely as invisible enablers of the physical experience.

There is no interaction with the app required while you shop, and a fully itemised receipt appeared as a push notification upon departure several minutes after leaving.

There is a “Discover” section on the app, where you can browse products by category, but this is the extent of its intersection with the physical experience.

The store itself was small, reflective of the limited selection of products – largely a curated, premium selection of pre-prepared healthy fare, perfectly placed to meet the needs of time-poor Seattle office workers. Interesting to see how that can be scaled….

However, the limited space posed a problem for the few store employees tasked with re-stocking; the crates were unwieldy and large enough to block some of the shelves and were a noticeable inconvenience. This though may have been due to the anticipation of higher demand on the first day or the fact that amazon don’t ( YET) understand retail operations

Purchases are tracked by an impressive, dense array of cameras mounted on the ceiling that follow your journey around the store. While the cameras don’t use facial recognition, there were rumours that the original launch was delayed as the tech couldn’t distinguish between shoppers with similar body shapes  – suggesting there’s a certain level of personal, visual data that customers are handing over.

It seems likely they’ll be comfortable doing so, however, as it’s this “computer vision” which enables customers to ‘Just Walk Out’, without having to go through a traditional check-out.

It’s savvy too – despite various attempts by my colleague to fool the system, it was able to correctly identify who should pay for what.

This was the case when comparing products as well; while in the store, I tested it by continually picking up and replacing two different products and was pleasantly surprised to find my final choice was indeed the one on my receipt.

Known online for its relevant and contextual suggestions, Amazon’s Go has rudimentarily translated this digital capability into the offline world with signs in the wine section with suggestions based on your previous purchases (“If you bought X, you’ll like Y”).

It’s easy to see how they could quickly expand this using their wider digital infrastructure, perhaps with decisions or indecisions in Amazon Go showing up on Amazon next time you log into your account.

The “computer vision” element of the cameras is another indication of how Amazon could potentially layer this real-world data onto the digital profiles of customers. In the near future, we’ll see the computers in these cameras not just process information but also react to the world around them.

With facial recognition software in a retail context approaching, it’s not a stretch to imagine that soon these cameras could react to our disappointment at limited stock, for example, and serve us a prompt to purchase the missing item through Amazon Fresh.

It feels unquestionably odd to simply walk out with the items you’ve picked up – it truly felt like shoplifting.

Once outside though, this feeling swiftly fades into the realisation that this store has undoubtedly set a new bar for consumer expectations at retail.

As we now jump out of Lyfts and Ubers without paying, or giving it a second thought, it’s quite easy to see this retail model becoming the norm as well.

Amazon Go is certainly a glimpse into the future of retail, and the focus on eliminating queues does not do justice to the scope of change this store could usher in.

More than convenience, the store has fundamentally altered the emotional experience of shopping. For retail incumbents, it’s a look at a new way of doing things – and they’ll have to quickly decide whether their service should adapt, or remain differentiated to survive.


Check Out the Amazon Go YouTube Film :



Data driven Easyjet flys easy

easyjet4Data Pulse # 434

Removing Friction in the customer journey to make it easier is critical for future success, and is important as a way of telling your Brand story , particularly if you are called EasyJet. Digital transformation can accelerate this change if applied with a clear focus on the commercial goals combined with deep understanding of the customer journey .

Carolyn McColl at Easyjet made great strides at using digital technology to transform the organisation making it easier for their customers to travel, simpler for their colleagues and cheaper for the organisation. They started with a clear understanding of the commercial goal: More customers flying more often on Easyjet, and developed a series of customer propositions that made it easier to fly driven around the key hardware that most travellers provide themselves: The Smartphone.

Easyjet app developed with key functionality

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1) Book Flight

2) My Flights Booked

3) My Flights Tracked

4) Mobile Check-in and Mobile Boarding Passes.

5) Option to book HireCare & Hotel.

All personalised through MyEasyjet traveller registration , that uses customer data held, (including passport, address credit card details ) geolocation of all data, previous flights searched and taken to make it easier for booking.

I have just headed off skiing flying Easyjet:

  1. The email alerts prior to travelled felt timely & relevant: adding personal information, and checking.
  2. The mobile boarding pass removes friction in finding a printer to print a boarding pass and then not losing the boarding pass as you travel through the airport .
  3. The Flight Status monitor is an easy way of seeing ahead of leaving for the airport if flights are delayed or reassurance.

Easier Self Serve Baggage Drop.

Easyjet now have self serve baggage drop in Manchester as well as Gatwick , which makes it easier and quicker to drop off baggage rather than queuing

What Friction Points Next?


I would appreciate Easyjet helping me get to the airport and then to my onwards destination. It would be easy to partner / connect with Google or Citymapper to provide live travel options on drive times, Trains/ buses to catch, or even a link to Uber to get a ride to and from the airport.


I would really appreciate being walked through the airport with digital alerts that help me understand which gate to go to , the time to gate, and alerts on how busy it is at anyone time.  This technology is available and has been piloted in London City Airport by Dan Byles and the team at PlanetIT. So watch out for a digital concierge helping you through the airport and ensuring you have enough time and and not be rushed.

Eat, Drink and Shop at your pace.

I’ll even be able to order ahead and have my Starbucks coffee and porridge waiting for me as I arrive through security !

I am a demanding customer but I am really just like everyone else just more vocal.

Good Luck to Johan Lundgren , new CEO easyjet in accelerating the use of data even further to make easyjet even easier.

7 steps to data-driven customer obsession

seven steps

As we break for Christmas I have just had a great morning with DataIQ Leaders discussing how data can transform CX.

I led a discussion with a group of Analytical leaders with seven simple steps on the road to build advanced Customer Analytics. It’s challenging and requires commitment and alignment from around all the organisation to be successful

  1. Identify the commercial & customer Goals in next 18m-36m
  2. Build a clear vision of a radically different data-driven customer experience, working across digital & bricks & mortar and align across the organisation.
  3. Remove Silos of data use creating a single version of the truth, with a data strategy linked to business goals e.g. Unified View of customer data, GDPR ready and tools developed to meet commercial goals.
  4. Breakdown the institutional fear of data & digital at all levels through training & doing: it’s a tool that anyone can use to do what you have been doing better
  5. Use Data Analytics to Map & Prioritise customer journeys & personalised experiences across human & digital touchpoints and align organisation capability to deliver for customer.
  6. Identify & Build the capabilities (Process, Tools People) that will be required to transform process design from efficiency focused (cheaper) to customer focused (better simpler cheaper) , specifically putting in place an analytics capability to enable data-driven, personalised journeys
  7. Foster stronger bonds between technical and different business people. This is a two-way process to ensure the technical teams understand the commercial imperatives, and customer solutions you would like to build, and the business teams learn to trust the expertise of technical IT teams. It will also allow you to improve data quality through showing the business impact.

Using Data & Advanced Customer Analytics  to put the customer at the heart of an organisation is a transformation that future looking organisations need to start implementing now.

Don’t be a Grinch this Christmas


data pulse #33

Don’t be a Grinch this Christmas , Customer data needs to be lovingly tended and developed.

It’s tempting to think of customer data as the new oil , freely flowing and always available.Combined with advanced analytics, it offers the promise of creating strategic advance. By perfectly profiling an individual customer, marketing can be truly personalized, improving a customer’s experience, and eliminating waste.

But customer data isn’t a natural resource. It’s generated by people. And as our connectivity increases, so does our awareness of the data being collected and the erosion of our privacy.

With customers increasingly seeking more control over the data they share and with whom, access to customer data will become increasingly valuable, a source of competitive advantage, and a privilege to be earned. Brands will need to demonstrate to customers that they can be trusted with their data.

There are a number of practical steps that should be taken now:

  1. Make sure you are using the data you already have to improve the customer experience, so it’s clear to customers what value they are receiving in return. This may seem obvious, yet I’m still struck by how infrequently the data I’ve shared is used to improve my experience. My inbox, for example, is still full of mass rather than personalized emails. Why not let customers feel the benefit of their data?
    1. Mothercare have a personal email programme linked to explaining what you need to do and how they can help you through weeks of pregnancy & in the first few weeks after your baby is born.
    2. Asda emails are linked to promotions in your favourite store on things we think you would like to buy based on previous shopping.
    3. Starbucks use location data to prompt offers on the phone when you are near a starbucks
  2. Give your customers more control over their data. Let them opt-in, for example, rather than have to opt-out, and be very clear what they are opting into. Be upfront about your cookie policy, and its implications. And give customers options over such questions as frequency and method of contact.  Why not work with customers to figure out ways that you can turn data they could generate into something of value to them? Nike has done this to great effect, helping customers generate data to help with their own fitness, and in the process deepening their connection with the brand.
  3. Only collect the data that’s essential to deliver the benefit to customers, rather than everything you can. And be clear about what data you need to collect, the reason why you need it, and what benefit they will get in return.

While data security is certainly a complex technical and legal challenge, it’s underpinned by a question of brand mind set.

If customer data is viewed internally as a commodity, then it’s something to be extracted from customers and traded…and customers will be wary, as behaviours will give the brand away.

But if access to customer data is viewed internally as a privilege, where we don’t own a customers data it’s their data we are only curating it and looking after it to improve our customers experience then it’s something precious that has to be protected…and the resulting behaviours will inspire more trust among customers.


7-11 crawl walk run

7-11 digital transformation using agile crawl- walk-run methodology to develop relevant data driven CX

Data Pulse #711

7-11 seized an opportunity to use the existing technology that most of its shoppers already had in their hands as they entered the store, and it did it from a standing start using AGILE methodology like a baby learning to CRAWL, WALK, RUN

 7-11 can now push real-time, rules-driven offers to customers through the 7-11 app.

The decision was made to launch a mobile app in efforts to deliver what the customer wants, when they want it, where they want it. Offers take account of rich data about the customer, both live and historic:

Real-time transactional: current basket, comms received, channel, geofencing

Real-time contextual: location, location temperature, time of day.

Historic modelling: transaction data, profile data, modelling scores.

Insights gained from feedback to offers over time is incorporated into business rules in a process of continuous refinement.

So, for example, on a cold morning, 7-Eleven might push hot drinks offers. At midday, some customers might receive offers for packaged lunches while others receive promotions on fresh foods. In the evening, lifestyle insights might be used to determine that some customers might be tempted by pizza and a DVD rental.

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