DyDx partner Templar Wales appeared on The Big Small Business Show on Business TV, where he unpacked some of the basics that go into HCD thinking, and how businesses could be looking to innovate with this approach.
The Big Small Business Show aims to give viewers practical and down-to-earth business advice. The programme is tailor-made for entrepreneurs, giving great insight and tips to those who want to grow their ventures, as well as those who want to take the step towards entrepreneurship.
Earlier this month Google signalled that it has surrendered a key front in the secret and massively complicated nerd-war being waged by Apple and others in the name of user privacy and security.
Google quietly announced via its developer platform that it will be phasing out the manner in which it collects, stores and sells consumer information gathered by its super-dominant Chrome browser. Unsurprisingly, given that this information is the lifeblood of its advertising business it is committing to an awfully long sunset period of two years with lots of income-statement covering caveats.
According to Geoff Cohen, partner at DYDX and former CEO of 24.com, in theory, this is a win for consumers. “It can’t really be argued that removing weaponised data from the hands of increasingly intrusive, unequally regulated, marketing superpowers is at face value a bad thing,” says Cohen.
But like the introduction of GDPR in Europe the way this particular retreat plays out may have some significant collateral damage impacting marketers, media owners and oddly further consolidating power in the hands of established platforms.
Cohen explains the winners and losers of these changes:
Consumers, kind of. Anything that protects consumers from needless exploitation is a good thing, but a large part of the functionality and frictionless when expect from our digital products is derived from the gathering of relevant data and behaviour.
Facebook, Amazon and Google will be able to increase the amount they charge marketers to access their logged in, permissioned walled gardens in social, commerce and search. Other channels that have sizeable user data/registered consumers will have a marginally stronger hand, but not nearly as strong as the platforms.
Adtech/Martech vendors clamouring to design, market and sell the latest technology suite and attendant three-letter acronym to increasingly swamped and confused marketers.
Prospecting over remarketing. Without tracking and granular analytics, marketers will be forced to review their strategies, increasingly focusing on building top-funnel acquisition and brand building rather than aggressive remarketing and follow me everywhere ads.
CRM and owned audiences. Registrations and utilizing every single available data stream will become, quite rightly, the norm. Direct communication, bypassing the platforms, will become the single largest potential for marketers in an anonymous world.
Media owners who relied on user data to package and sell their readers in Google and Facebooks marketplace. Unless there is a concerted effort to form login, partnerships providing a scaled audience the media owners will again be forced to accept lower prices.
Google, despite the long lead time it has given itself, the business is under significant regulatory pressure with competition complaints about market dominance being registered across the world. This is going to be a tricky time for them and could lead to some messy commercial outcomes.
Digital analytics software is going to see a large drop in accuracy and granularity. For years business owners have relied on the insights provided by user data and behavioural tracking but in an anonymous world, these changes and we can expect to see a lot more “sample” data than the granularity we have come to expect.
Overall, these changes are overdue. The pendulum in digital marketing and user experience has swung all the way to creepy from contextually relevant and this is the impact of the broader market pushing back. Asking for a bit more respect and duty of care. “We should enjoy while it lasts before the pendulum swings back again as it inevitably will,” concludes Cohen.
Retail innovation can increase revenue, reduce plastic and serve consumers’ unmet needs.
Leading international retail solutions company Smollan and dY/dX, a global product and service design practice, partnered to deliver an innovative solution for the informal market that could both change how FMCG products are sold and reduce the use of single-use plastics.
The combined informal market represents 35% of all retail sales in SA. This market, however, is notoriously difficult for brands, as the unstructured distribution channels mean very little effective data can be gathered. Furthermore, due to low levels of affordability, brands have resorted to smaller packaged units to reach this market, mostly single-use plastics. This has created a gap between affordability for customers and brands’ responsibility to the environment.
The Gcwalisa dispensers, created by Smollan and dY/dX, allow customers to purchase food and home care products in values from as little as R1. Spaza owners can provide the amount requested by customers quickly, thanks to onboard computers with IoT sensors measuring volume while dispensing.
Goods are dispensed into reusable containers, allowing brands to deliver bulk into the informal channel and for the shop-owners to distribute in micro sizes without single-use plastics. This takes significant costs out of the channel and creates new opportunities for consumers to purchase their preferred brands, even at very low volumes.
The dispensers are connected IoT devices, providing brands with detailed sales data from each shop, giving data granularity and insight that could revolutionise distribution, understanding of buying patterns and price points.
Using a structured design thinking and innovation process, the joint team, headed by Rudi Nienaber, Innovation Executive at Smollan, supported by dY/dX, created a new way to sell products through the informal channels. “Innovation requires asking different questions and lots of on-the-ground research and prototyping.” said Nienaber, “Our starting point was to turn products into services which led to a series of new ideas, of which Gcwalisa was the best one.”
“We know that people have real affordability challenges, and price is often linked to distribution constraints of minimum-sized packaging. We wanted to change how pricing worked, allowing people to purchase FMCG products like they do airtime.
Another key factor is a positive social impact. By eradicating single-use plastic and packaging, we not only save brands and consumers money but also benefit the environment, which is critical. With major brands looking to reduce plastic usage but not impact sales this approach makes perfect sense,” says Mike Smollan, Chief Growth & Innovation Officer at Smollan.
Revealed at Smollan’s Inspire Evolve event, the project already has interest from a number of brands. “Distribution into informal markets is not a “one size fits all” approach. While we can re-use the technology and approach, we are working with brands to understand both the unique dynamics of their market and the technical properties of their products to optimise the solution for them.” says Nevo Hadas, Managing Partner at dY/dX.
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