Microsoft for Startups convened a distinguished assembly of startup founders within the digital solution sphere, fostering a discourse on the latest digitization trends permeating the retail and consumer industry. This engaging dialogue emphasized the strategic utilization of a diverse array of software and hardware solutions, such as AI and computer vision technology, to further digitize the industry.
The discussion took place at the BEYOND Expo in Macao, featuring Christine Fang, Finance VP of Mars & Wrigley, China; Vin Shan, founder and CEO of iCC Grow; Keven Liu, founder and CEO of Skieer; Maggie Li, CMO of MRSTAGE; Claire Chen, founder and CEO of Clobotics; Xuan Zheng, founder and CEO of Chatail.
The conversation is the second panel of Microsoft for Startups’s AI+Retail and Consumer Tech Forum at the BEYOND Expo on May 11, focusing on digital transformation trends on retail and consumer industry. To learn more about Microsoft for Startups, click here or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Vin Shan, founder and CEO of iCC Grow
iCC is a company dedicated to solving brands’ traffic operation needs in private online scenarios using chat technology products. We leverage AI technology to assist brands in China in producing customized greetings and communications at scale. iCC addresses pain points by analyzing data from various scenarios, tracking user interactions and employee performance, and offering a comprehensive solution.
In chat scenarios, we know customer service teams are often busy. So, we provide intelligent chat scripts to help brands’ customer service teams communicate effectively. We have collected and organized a vast amount of chat scripts. Through copilot and AI technology, we provide them with warm and personalized chat scripts, including everyday greetings, which significantly ease their workload.
One of the notable client cases is Banu Hotpot in China. Every loyal customer who visits the chain restaurant is addressed by their specific name, such as “Mr. Zhang, welcome back! Here are the recommendations we have for you today.” These personalized chat interactions help generate additional business for an extra week, resulting in a 20% monthly revenue increase. Customers can get seamless interactions throughout the entire service chain, from pre-appointment reservations to post-visit feedback.
Keven Liu, founder and CEO of Skieer
Skieer is an application server that provides data and AI technology through our products, such as Skieer Octoparse, Skieer CEM, Skieer RPA, and Skieer data services.
It’s worth mentioning that Skieer Octoparse has stood out as one of the most widely used data collection tools worldwide. It assists brands, organizations, and even individual users in obtaining large-scale datas from the internet. As intelligent, user-friendly tools, it requires minimal technical knowledge. With only a web address, users can easily gather the desired data from the internet.
Skieer CEM is a comprehensive omnichannel customer experience management SaaS platform, which helps brands integrate and analyze customer feedback, sentiments, and opinions, compare differences between our brand and competitors to enhance customer satisfaction, improve brand reputation, and increase customer retention. It integrates self-developed NLP index sentiment analysis technology, and applies AI large models to multiple enterprise business scenarios such as product development, service optimization, and marketing.
Claire Chen, co-founder and COO of Clobotics
Clobotics uses computer vision technology and AI to provide software and hardware-integrated solutions. Our hardware component focuses on standardized data collection while leveraging cloud and analytics to deliver value to users in the wind power, and retail industries. In particular, we focus on the ESG wind energy sector and the new retail sector. Since today’s discussion primarily revolves around retail, we will delve more into our retail-related offerings.
Clobotics has conducted extensive machine vision model training for specific scenarios in the fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) industry. We have developed a system that enables retailers to use smartphones to capture images of products on store shelves and receive instant feedback. Leveraging AI, our technology can accurately identify SKU quantities with an impressive precision rate of up to 95%. Additionally, we provide real-time analytics on metrics such as shelf share, out-of-stock rates, and other valuable insights.
For our fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) clients, agility is a key factor. When assessing agility, which key metrics are typically considered? One crucial metric is inventory management. Clients want to know the exact quantity of goods in the display. They need insights about their displays and promotions. Therefore, insights that help them evaluate performance become crucial.
Another critical factor is delivering a “wow moment” to retail customers, demonstrating that our offerings go beyond technology to provide comprehensive solutions. We aim to showcase a deep understanding of our customers’ business scenarios. By leveraging computer vision, we help clients to realize the potential of this technology in their operations. That’s why we focus more on solving business problems rather than offering technology alone.
Jeff Hong, founder and CEO of MRSTAGE
MRSTAGE specializes in providing real-time 3D virtual content and event services. We offer 3D livestream products and services, virtual short video production tools, and other SaaS solutions. We focus mainly on e-commerce, entertainment, online education, and corporate events.
The company leverages AI models and engages in real-time interaction, helping clients to build various virtual 3D live experiences. For example, it helped build a virtual version of Lenovo’s physical exhibition hall in Beijing, allowing users to access across borders and time zones.
Furthermore, MRSTAGE offers customized 3D digital virtual scene solutions, personalized digital avatars, and a range of consulting and scene-building services focused on mixed reality technology.
The company provides convenient and efficient tools for professional broadcasting clients like SMG and Oriental TV, as well as educational institutions and state-owned enterprises. For example, it developed a user-friendly software and hardware product that can help companies to start 3D virtual livestream in five minutes, which disrupts the traditional live broadcasting model and achieves high-quality production results with minimal investment.
Xuan Zheng, founder and CEO of Chatail
Chatail is a SaaS company that specializes in building private livesteam systems for brands, with a particular focus on high-end and luxury brands. The company helps globally renowned brands, including LVMH Group and Kering Group. Its expertise lies in providing professional solutions for private and public-to-private video live shopping, enabling brand clients to incorporate interactive and shopping videos at the core of their retail ecosystem, e-commerce platforms, customer service, and stores.
The brands we serve typically cater to well-off clients in China, and their requirements differ accordingly. Many of our clients place great emphasis on privacy and confidentiality.
We have a product called LIVE Button, which integrates with various entry points such as official websites, mini-programs, product details, nearby stores, and article content on public accounts. This allows customers to proactively schedule video and livestreaming services, offering a more immersive product detail page. For luxury items priced around RMB 20,000 or RMB 30,000 ($2,840 to $4,360), it’s challenging to effectively communicate their beauty and luxury through text and images alone. That’s why we have developed the LIVE Button to address this issue. It allows customers to independently schedule a consultation for a specific product, including the desired time and duration. Additionally, we remind customers that the brand representatives will not be able to see them online, ensuring their privacy is protected.
Christine Fang, the Finance VP of Mars & Wrigley, China, expressed her anticipation during the panel discussion for technology companies to assist users in harnessing the power of AI and ChatGPT-like tech. She highlighted that employees in traditional industries often lack the latest technical expertise, making it crucial for technology companies to help integrate AI into businesses effectively.
Fang emphasized that as a globally leading consumer goods company, particularly renowned for its chewing gum and confectionary products in China, Mars & Wrigley continually strives for digital transformation in response to the rising consumer market. Leveraging AI to empower various application scenarios is a key aspect of this transformation.
During the discussion, representatives from the aforementioned companies described how their products align with Mars & Wrigley’s digital transformation needs from a business perspective. It is evident that these companies possess excellent product portfolios to assist retail brands like Mars & Wrigley in achieving digital marketing success. The convergence of online and offline technologies is also a future trend, along with utilizing AI tools to drive cost reduction and efficiency improvement. It is essential to consider both the technological aspect and the alignment with business objectives to achieve a seamless fit for retail digital transformation.