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Massmart buckles up as it accelerates on its digital journey

| Innovation and technology

The landscape of retail is transforming faster than ever before. Every day there are new smart ideas that are raising the bar for retail excellence. From innovative tailor-made apps for employees to personalised customer welcoming technology, Massmart’s first-ever Digital Bootcamp gave a glimpse at the technological innovations redefining retail.

Six individuals, six weeks, two hours of training, one goal and zero app-making experience. Not having known each other beforehand, six hand-picked thought leaders scattered throughout Massmart worked together in an intense six-week programme that lead to incredible results. The MVP (Minimum Viable Product) challenge given to the team was to use digitisation to standardise compliance and eliminate risk emanating from the current paper system. Gordon Mathee, Massmart Business Relationship Executive, was one of the six on the MVP team. “Digital isn’t just about technology; it’s about thinking,” said Mathee. “The objective was not to build something bespoke, but rather tap into the Walmart team with all their innovation hubs and global expertise.” Through agile thinking, a user-centric approach and the advantage that Massmart has of harnessing cutting-edge retail technology, the team developed an app that was so successful it has the potential to change the way Massmart’s risk and compliance teams work across the business.

The MVP project is just one example of what attendees of the Massmart Digital Bootcamp saw at the two-day event held on 24 and 25 June 2019 at Vodaworld, Midrand. Guests were given a glimpse of the retail future with interactive labels on shelf strips and fridges, augmented reality devices and a mobile based scan-and-go checkout facility at the Massmart Popup Store. The bootcamp excited, educated and challenged leaders and change agents throughout Massmart, tapping into their digital mindsets. During the MVP ‘Hackathon’, attendees were divided into teams and given only two hours to conceptualise their own app solution, with the winning team’s solution being transformed from an idea to an app overnight.

The Massmart Popup Store

In between exploring the digital exhibition stands, Massmart employees heard from guest speakers about where the digital revolution is taking retail. From Professor Dan O’Connor from the Harvard Business School, to Massmart CIO, Supply Chain and Logistics Executive Richard Inskip, guest speakers spoke about how augmented reality, artificial intelligence and facial recognition is shaping the future of commerce. Speaking on Massmart’s digital journey, Inskip said: “At Massmart, we see the digital revolution as an opportunity to better serve our customers and make our employee experience as efficient as possible. We are investing in our business to ensure that we meet our customers’ expectations of a seamless omnichannel experience. We have already seen the benefits of developing apps that are customer centric, like Builders on Demand, helping our customers step into the future with virtual showrooms.”

One of the digital exhibition stands at the Massmart Digital Bootcamp

Massmart values smart ideas that inspire everyday excellence. That is why we are accelerating on our digital journey to ensure that we are at the forefront of the digital revolution in African retail. The Massmart Digital Bootcamp was only a sneak-peek into how we are embracing digitally innovative solutions that delight our customers, enable our suppliers, empower our employees and enrich our business. Digital transformation isn’t coming; it’s already here and Massmart is moving forward fast.

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