PepsiCo gave audiences a glimpse of its potential foray into a futuristic AI-driven world with the Pepsi Smart Supermarket, a cardless cashless pop-up, and the Pepsi BOT’ler, a smart butler that took drink orders from users’ smartphones. We caught up with Dani Afiouni, head of consumer engagement and media MENA at PepsiCo to know more about integrating digital and preparing for the future.
On new tech
“We’re always experimenting disruptive technologies,” either on digital platforms or at an in-store level, says Afiouni. “Disruptive tech is making people lives’ easier by adding value to it, saving time and creating a lot of solutions that consumers need, and we want to be at the forefront of that,” he adds.
Basically, PepsiCo looks to add value to users’ lives by simplifying them through technology, from consumer-facing communications all the way to the shopper experience whether that’s virtual or real.
Look at the brand’s partnership with Souq.com. It started off with Souq’s White Friday concept roughly three years back. “We’ve tried to capture the experience,” says Afiouni, by offering curated bundles. “Great bundles have been offered from a flavor perspective on foods; there was a party snack mix, for example, for consumers who are looking for snacking, and e-commerce has given us both the tech and the platform to give consumers those options while they’re sitting in a convenient place ordering right from their home using mobile or desktop,” he adds.
It’s important to remember that e-commerce isn’t a channel for impulsive buys – in PepsiCo’s case, at least. Based on user behavior, the brand realized that people shop online for groceries and/or monthly hold supplies, which is where PepsiCo’s bundle offers fit in.
Speaking of the Pepsi BOT’ler, which was at STEP and Fashion Forward, Afiouni says, “Imagine you’re interacting with your mobile device on social media or going about your business instead of waiting in a queue. It’s important for us to experiment with these new technologies because later down the line once we do concept validation, it will be important in the in-store environment.”
On measuring success
Success on Souq.com is measured through both attribution and sales. On one hand, “when we look at all the data coming in from an engagement perspective on e-commerce, we are able to track the eyeballs and how people have interacted with our banners and what led them to purchase what products so that’s great insights in terms of attribution,” says Afiouni. On the other hand, the brand also analyzes the sales, what people are purchasing and what’s leading them to do it.
On the future
The aspiration is to implement new technologies at a store level – or at least on a consumer-facing level – but for now the brand is experimenting and isn’t clear on how or when that implementation will happen