In India, one of the predominant things being considered during the purchase of a car is mileage, sometimes even above safety. Consulting major Accenture feels that there is a large opportunity for technology to create a wow-factor in this space.
Imagine an app that does something like this. If someone drives the car for a month, at the end they get the entire driving experience captured on the app saying what kind of roads has the car been taken on, the driving style, and these are the five things one can do to take the mileage up from 8.7 kms to the litre to 11.5 kms on a litre of fuel. Consulting major, Accenture, calls it connected living.
So who provides these services? It could well be a start-up, the automaker itself, or it could be Google, an insurance company, or even a coffee chain that rewards customers based on their driving behavior. “It’s a completely open field. The question is who provides the most relevant services around it are the ones who win,” says Nils Michaelis, managing director, digital and innovation APAC, products operating group, Accenture.
The car has provided a platform, he continues. Since the mid-1990s, cars come with an OBD (on-board diagnostic) device. Now people can connect a dongle to it that will pump that data into an app.
Most companies are going to the connected vehicles space. “Consumers are in much better control than ever before,” adds Saurabh Sahu, managing director, digital customer lead for products operating group at Accenture India.
Sahu says that one of the larger real estate players in Mumbai is looking at not just selling homes but selling the community concept, or the ecosystem that’s digitally enabled and provides for a smart home or even enabling social interaction between various residents.
A year and half back Accenture globally formalised a JV with Fast retailing the parent company of Uniqlo to innovate in a way to engage with customers anytime and anywhere. “That has implications and a company has to transform dramatically with the way it partners in the ecosystem of providers and offerings,” says Michaelis.
This venture had executives from both Accenture and Fast retailing working together to change the way they engage with customers and the back end all the way to the supply chain and demand planning.
However, does all of this assume that there is a part of the customer who shares an affinity with the brand and is happy to share information most of the time? “Some of the loyal customers are connecting in a more intense way than in the past,” said Michaelis about the Uniqlo experience.
Uniqlo has a strong offline footprint. So it has in-store engagement and online engagement.
Sahu says that the concept of living services is based on the fundamental premise – can you enable different components of a consumer’s life by digital means to make the life of a consumer better.