Unilever’s new vision for omnichannel retail

Unilever’s new vision for omnichannel retail

Avanade is using Microsoft technology to help Unilever Brazil stay ahead of the competition

Rebecca Gibson |

This article first appeared in the Winter issue of The Record.

Unilever, one of the world’s largest consumer goods companies, owns more than 400 household brands and employs 173,000 people – 13,000 of which work from its Brazilian operations centre.

Every year, Unilever Brazil hosts the Joint Business Plan (JBP) event at its customer innovation centre, enabling its biggest clients to participate in one-to-one exploration sessions. At the 2016 event, Unilever wanted to show clients the possibilities of omnichannel retail, mobile apps, payments made by near-field communication (NFC) technology, and artificial intelligence.

To help it outline its vision for the connected supermarket, Unilever contracted Avanade to build an interactive Customer Journey solution experience at the customer innovation centre. Avanade used Microsoft technologies to develop the solution, which incorporated mobile apps, NFC payment devices, expansive interactive displays and beacons.

This solution experience enabled Unilever to showcase a new smartphone app that allows users to create and share shopping lists, as well as a beacon app that guides customers around supermarkets so they can easily find the items on their list. The app also uses advanced analytics to deliver relevant real-time offers to customers.

Avanade also developed ‘Grab and Go’ digital displays, which leverage facial recognition software to advertise products most suited to the customer’s age and gender. Customers can use the NFC-enabled mobile app to order the on-screen products.

In addition, the Customer Journey solution experience demonstrated how Unilever’s clients could use strategically placed beacons in their retail stores, or in locations like gyms, to deliver discount coupons for specific products.

Using Avanade’s immersive Customer Journey solution, Unilever successfully demonstrated how the technologies could enable its clients to better understand their customers’ preferences and uses analytics to enhance the shopping experience at their stores.

In addition, Unilever was able to validate its vision for the smart supermarket and start building a new solution to completely transform the shopping journey. For example, the shopping list app is being customised and branded for specific Unilever clients.

“The JBP for 2016 was a huge success,” says Conrado Tadeu, former digital marketing manager at Unilever, who was responsible for the 2016 JBP event. “We achieved our goal of presenting a new approach to Brazilian retailers for the shopper experience. We saw a general acceptance on everything presented there.”


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