Proof of concept

Orange shows how GDPR could create new business models

These days the drive is for everything digital, but physical stores are equally important – Orange’s research has confirmed that the company generates more revenue from customers who come into its stores, and that these customers are more loyal to the company.

Along with partners and through a TM Forum Catalyst project, Orange has been exploring how to capitalize on this trend and make in-store trips even more rewarding. Phygital Store is the second phase of the Catalyst project – building on the first which demonstrated how customers can have a seamless, omnichannel interaction with Orange, whereby a customer can start a journey online, update their basket via a mobile app and complete the transaction when they go to collect their purchase in-store. It was demonstrated in May at Digital Transformation World.

The team looked at how to make the in-store experience more fun, and how to use the EU’s GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) to enable new data-driven business models and revenues.

The proposed solution used the example of a theoretical Orange customer – a parent whose teenage son or daughter has broken his or her smartphone. It demonstrated the customer journey from filing the insurance claim to collecting the replacement phone in-store. This included allowing the parent to manage the whole process on behalf of the child, with the correct privacy and access permissions in place.

Introducing AI

This iteration of the Catalyst introduced AI-assisted tools. When the customer arrives in store to collect the replacement phone, they are met by a robot assistant which serves as a welcoming agent in the store. The robot talks to the customers and invites them to interact. Using chatbot technology, the robotic assistant asks for the customer’s name, the purpose of their shop visit and finally assigns them to the correct queue. The goal is to handle waiting times efficiently, and at the same time create a unique, personal customer experience. Thanks to the information the robot has collected, the sales agent has a full overview of the customer and can provide them with personalized offers.

Not only does the robot assess the customers’ needs, but also offers gamification through a quiz – for example, the robot might ask what the customer’s weekend plans are or what kind of music they like.

GDPR: Turning a challenge into an opportunity

Customers are asked whether they consent to the quiz results being used to build a marketing profile – this consent is an essential aspect of the new GDPR legislation which comes into force this month. The regulation aims to create more transparency and clarity around the collection, use and retention of personal data.

Although the new rules usher in much harsher penalties for non-compliance, they also offer opportunities for smart companies to use data more effectively. Succeeding with data is about building trust with the customer – showing them what they get in return for sharing their data, being clear and open about how data will be used, and enabling consent management. This Catalyst demonstrates this, and the processes and IT systems required to achieve it.

In this case, if the customer approves, the robot creates the profile and provides a personalized reward offer. For example, based on answers to the questions from the robot, the offer could be a six-month subscription to Netflix, a music site such as Deezer or a sports channel.

“This could open new business models for companies like Orange — for example, between Orange and the sports channel or other content provider, as well as for the suppliers behind the scenes helping to power the service,” explains Nathalie Gouedard, IT Architect at Orange.

Customer in control

Customers manage their personal data consent via an online dashboard or app. They can see who they have given their consent to, the reason the consent was given, and how long for. AI helps to personalize customer profiles further, and this is likely an area the Catalyst team will pursue in more depth in future iterations of the project.

A team effort

There are two key roles in Catalyst projects. The Catalyst champion is the company seeking a solution to a business problem – in this case it’s Orange. Participants contribute to solving it, each bringing their expertise to a particular piece of the puzzle.

In the Phygital Store Catalyst, BearingPoint provided the customer relationship management (CRM) system and product catalog through its Infonova Digital Business Platform. This tool helped the team describe and manage the various partnerships in terms of service fulfillment, settlement and billing, to ensure everyone was paid.

NTS Retail provided the digital customer engagement solutions to increase the level of service experience and sales performance. Applications, including those used in-store, show how voice-based and AI-enabled assistants can be integrated into the customer journey.

Globetom brought the technology to manage the reward and loyalty aspect of the solution, including using the quiz results to create the customer profile and calculate the personalized reward. And Qualycloud provided the digital vault which holds customer profile information and enables privacy management.

The team’s proposed solution uses TM Forum Open APIs, including the Privacy API, as well as customer experience metrics. Watch the team discuss the project in the video below:


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    Freelance Writer and Editor

    Sarah is a freelance writer and editor with an interest in new technologies and how they impact our everyday lives.

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