The industrial sector is the heart of a country’s economy. One of the significances of the industrial sector is to develop advanced technology to enhance efficiency and reduce production cost. Also, it needs to increase product quality to match consumer demand. Today, in-depth research to uncover consumer insight and their true needs is an important process that drives the industrial sector and businesses. Interestingly, such a process can weaken business capabilities. This is true with conventional surveys with questionnaires or focus groups wherein results are often biased. There are also problems of sample selection or factors from the surroundings that can give inaccurate data. Moreover, data collecting relies on human labor instead of digital technology which can make the data imprecise and incomplete. All of this can lead to products that don’t represent consumer needs and harm the industry and economy in the long term.
This has originated the idea to improve new consumer insight research. This is done by using Deep Tech wherein each industry can use Deep Tech to solve pain points with better precision. Let’s first take a look at three industries, the retail, food and beverages, and advertising led by EATLAB, TinyEpicBrains, and Xplorer, finalists from U.REKA. They will share new solutions for consumer insight research that can help marketing or product development teams to work with better efficiency. Also, they will talk about challenges in building and using the innovation.
- Gather precise insights without interviews or surveys, the next step for F&B.
Let’s begin with the Food and Beverage industry as Thailand is attempting to become the kitchen of the world. An example comes from the EATLAB team who saw the opportunity to increase value to the Thai food industry via improving consumer insight research. In the past, consumer insight research is imprecise and lack the ability to turn data into solutions that large food industries can truly apply, implement, or adjust to truly solve problems. Thus, product development doesn’t follow the existing trend. Moreover, many players in the Thai food industries lack the data gathering process, thus, cost control becomes inefficient.
Advanced technologies for consumer insight are as follow:
– Satisfactory evaluation while dining. The behavior tracking technology using sensors and AI to assess consumer satisfaction while dining and summarize results based on standard research criteria. This can provide consumer satisfaction data that is 70% more precise than from questionnaires. This innovation can help make product development or menu selection better coincide with the trend and demand.
– Evaluate popularity from sales. Today, most restaurants have food ordering technologies that deliver digital data. Thus, we are able to use data such as sales and sales by item to analyze and enhance raw material management as well as for marketing such as launching promotions that fit the sales trend.
Although technology can help uncover insights, the challenge is the adaptation to the technology for the players in each sector in the food industry, especially in the production and marketing sector which needs tools and processes that are more precise. If EATLAB can drive this solution, better research and consumer insights can enhance Thailand’s food industry to become exporters of high-value products.
- Understanding media and owned content to better reach consumers, an option to acquire insights in the media industry.
The media business has a high potential for growth, especially with innovation. TinyEpicBrains is another team who is preparing to develop a media technology that has several applications. The team began with an idea from a simple problem that they uncover from observing media. The problem is that viewers can’t scan QR codes in VDO clips in time.
Stemming from the problem, they found that it is a major problem which, more or less, effects the efficiency of the media industry. It affects consumer insight acquisition, thus, leading to low efficiency and less precision. They seek to solve the problem by using the technology to embed the QR code in every part of the VDO. As a result, viewers can scan at any time while watching the VDO and at the same time, the technology can gather information to help enhance the media tool.
TinyEpicBrains chose a computer vision which uses deep learning. They embed the QR code in a VDO wherein the QR code is encoded while the VDO is playing. Thus, media producers don’t need to show the QR code to the viewers, so it doesn’t limit the production process. Moreover, scanning codes can provide data regarding media efficiency such as the time that viewers scan. This way, media producers can tell which part of the VDO is interesting or which influencer creates a call-to-action. Furthermore, producers can acquire better consumer insights and adjust the content to match the demand.
Nevertheless, this technology is still very new and will require adaptation. We believe that this innovation has potentials and can be applied to several industries such as e-commerce that can show the URL for ordering or promotions on the advertisements.
- Get to know walk-in customers a little more, insights in retail for better experience and outcomes.
The retail business is another important sector in Thailand that connects with other businesses and grow together. The Xplorer team, researches of Indoor Location Tracking, shares that in analyzing customer behavior, they found a problem regarding service in retail. This is because customer insight data is limited to large scopes and are only available at the end-point of the sales process. This innovation will allow retail business operators to identify customer positioning from the customer’s smartphone inside the building. It uses an Indoor Location Tracking technology which applies Wi-Fi location tracking, Bluetooth beacon, and CCTV camera technologies. This is coupled with movement behavior tracking and analytics using Artificial Intelligence and machine learning that turns customer journey and their interest into visible data. It tells the area they visit or the minutes they spend in each spot. This is different from previous methods such as thermal sensors that can only tell that there are people in the area but aren’t able to show the true customer experience and call-to-action. We believe that Xplorer’s innovation can be applied to various platforms.
Nevertheless, the use of Indoor Location Tracking and Customer Insight Analytics is still at an early stage both in Thailand and abroad. Therefore, more development is needed to increase precision and to support large-scale usage. This solution is not only limited to department stores but can be used in events or large tradeshows. Such events are another opportunity that can help promote tourism and retail which is one of Thailand’s core industry.
The three teams who have introduced how Deep Tech can be used in Marketing and R&D are part of the U.REKA project. It is undeniable that using Deep Tech to improve consumer insight data can create change in the industrial sector. This is another emphasis for the development towards a knowledge-based economy which is also the main objective of U.REKA. Nevertheless, their success partly depends on different departments and private sectors to learn, be open-minded, and support the teams with opportunities to continue their research. Also, they would need a chance to experiment in the real market and explore actual applications. Follow Digital Ventures for more updates about Deep Tech and the business sector.