A personal decision coach with you 24/7.
CINDE (acronym for Conversational INsights and Decision Engine) is a game-changer for retailers and CPGs. You can think of it like having a personal analyst and coach next to you all the time. CINDE can get very deep, very fast. Ask her “Where do people buy beer?’ She’ll tell you where beer is purchased (in whatever country you’re in), but like a great analyst, she won’t stop there. She’ll continue to add value by telling you, for example, that more price-sensitive customers are driving the sales of beer, and that craft beer is driving sales more than economy beer, but only in small packs, and only in stores with a manager who has been in post for more than one year, and mostly between five o’clock and seven on Wednesdays. CINDE shows you what’s meaningful to you and coach you on what to do next. She understands that you’re the category manager for a specific category and that that category is your focus to enable understanding in seconds – exponentially faster actually than a human analyst could get back to the category manager. There’s simply no one in FMCG that has this capability besides Symphony RetailAI.
Where do you see CINDE expanding over the next few years?
CINDE can provide a step change for many parts of both retailers and CPG manufacturers. From the very top of the organization to the important frontline of one store. We’ve seen interest in this from corporate board members who want to, for example, understand how sales are behaving across the whole company but also have a series of other questions around specific performance in certain regions or individual stores etc. CINDE can very easily move from the macro right down to the micro, so she can go down to an individual store or an individual item and an individual day or even hour, and then zoom right back up to year, retailer, total product. There’s huge advantage there.
Although we started in the category management space, it’s got a great application for board members and senior executives. We’ve got a lot of people very interested in having this type of information and a digital coach at the individual store manager’s fingertips. CINDE will play a big role in our solutions going forward.
Why is the time so right now for artificial intelligence in retail in general?
We all know there’s been an explosion of data and that trend is just growing exponentially in terms volume of data that can be analyzed. The technology and the algorithms and the performance have now all come together, we’ve now got the interfaces, the algorithms and the databases that can actually deliver the data fast enough for the algorithms to use and for the front ends to consume in a really easy way for people to understand. CINDE isn’t just one thing; she’s not just AI, she’s not just UI, she’s not just a super-fast database, she’s all that combined. So, AI is key and CINDE helps retailers and CPG manufacturers do their jobs faster and better, giving a major competitive advantage to companies that use CINDE.
Why is Symphony RetailAI so ahead of everybody else in terms of AI in the grocery industry?
One of the things I love about working at Symphony RetailAI is that we have people that have been hungry for this type of system and these types of insights for many years. We’ve been in the industry a long time, but there’s such a passion to get these problems solved. We’ve got experts on the data tier, experts in AI, experts on user experience, and people with extensive experience in the grocery industry. We’re not misbalanced in terms of either understanding just the need, or being able to create just the solution.
To really serve our customers, you have to have both. I always enjoy it when we first show customer a system like CINDE and end users are so keen to push away their keyboard because they already see real insights that either are shown in seconds rather than hours or even days, or they see insights that they have never seen before.
Is there anything about AI that you find particularly intriguing?
There’s something really powerful in the truth of AI. You start to see yourself in the insights it provides. You recognize your own purchasing patterns. You connect with others in what you see in the data. We’re not just analyzing others, we’re analyzing human behavior and finding very interesting trends. We may even find things that shock us. There’s a real “frontier” element to it…and there likely always will be.
Interview conducted by Paul Hoffman, Marketing Content & Communications Director at Symphony RetailAI.