Digital Business Strategy, Interviews

Coles Supermarkets Interview: Balancing Innovation Investment with Retail

Ian Burl
General Manager Store Operations Business Unit, Coles Supermarkets Australia

Ian Burl
General Manager Store Operations Business Unit, Coles Supermarkets Australia

Prior to the Rethink! Internet of Retail Minds 2018 we had a chat with Ian Burl, Coles Supermarkets Australia, on new business models enabled by IoT and his presentation during the event.

we.CONECT: Where do you see IoT and its technologies creating the most impact in the retail industry?

Ian Burl: Connecting the existing infrastructure, e.g. trolley, shelf, product and connecting the various channels for the customer to experience integration, e.g. connecting offers and food solutions to locations and individual customer needs.

we.CONECT: What do you consider the biggest challenges in your field at the moment when it comes to the adoption of IoT in retail?

Ian Burl: Firstly, the cost and complexity of integration and secondly the relative low current value.

we.CONECT: Are advances in payments and checkouts the main technologies to watch out for in the next year(s)?

Ian Burl: I think removing the friction as much as possible from the checkout will be the most significant evolution in retail for many years.

we.CONECT: How will/can AI-based logistics changes the retail eco-system?

Ian Burl: Ultimately lower costs to service and more accurate just in time scheduling or less inventory will all lead to lower prices for customers.

we.CONECT: How do you see the next 5 years evolving? What role will IoT play?

Ian Burl: I think the various facets of IOT are developing at different speeds and the interdependency may create some drag, furthermore I don’t think industry has the skills to use it all either. I think retailers all over the world will aim to be better than ever in B+M and enhancing the customer experience with a focus on using data and existing tech eco-systems to tailor the customer experience.

we.CONECT: Will the IoT enable new business models or new business applications? What do you think – how will they look like?

Ian Burl: For sure, but I think the more significant impact will be consolidation of existing retailers and start ups as well as more partnerships between retailers and tech companies.

we.CONECT: In your company, how are you implementing or taking advantage of the IoT?

Ian Burl: We are using it in all kinds of ways, the most practical right now in my opinion is tracking equipment and usage e.g. ovens and fridges enabling us to significantly reduce maintenance costs and expensive equipment down time.

we.CONECT: What expectations do you have regarding the Rethink! Internet of Retail Minds 2018? Which outcomes and benefits do you expect to gain from the exchange with participating companies?

Ian Burl: Keen to gain a deeper understanding of the work retailers around Europe are doing in this space.