IBM is working with Revive Vending on London-based cafés that use Watson analytics to help improve customer service and form a better understanding of its customers.
The ‘Honest Café’ – there are three in London, with four more planned – are all unmanned; instead, the company deploys high-end vending machines at each location, which all serve a mix of health-conscious snacks, juices, food and beverages.
The company is using Watson analytics to compensate for the lack of wait staff, with the cognitive compute platform being deployed to troll through sales data in a bid to unearth buying patterns and improve its marketing effectiveness.
“Because Honest is unmanned, it’s tough going observing what our customers are saying and doing in our cafes,” said Mark Summerill, head of product development at Honest Café. “We don’t know what our customers are into or what they look like. And as a start-up it’s crucial we know what sells and what areas we should push into.”
“We lacked an effective way of analyzing the data,” Summerill said. “We don’t have dedicated people on this and the data is sometimes hard pull to together to form a picture.”
“Watson Analytics could help us make sure we offer the right customers the right drink, possibly their favorite drink,” he said.
It can leverage the buying patterns by launching promotional offers on various goods to help improve sales, and it can also correlate the data with social media information to better inform its understanding of Honest Café customers.
“We identified that people who buy as a social experience have different reasons than those who dash in and out grabbing just the one drink,” Summerill said. “They also have a different payment method, the time of the day differs and the day of the week. Knowing this, we can now correctly time promotions and give them an offer or introduce a product that is actually relevant to them.”
“Having direct access to Twitter data for insights into what our buyers are talking about is going to help augment our view and understanding of our customers even further,” he added.