How digital transformation helping ITC grow
Mumbai: Various initiatives of digitalisation and implementation of Industry 4.0 technologies has enabled ITC Paperboards and Specialty Paper Business to expand margin by 230 basis points over last two years.
In line with its aspiration to be a 'FutureTech' enterprise, ITC continues to deploy cutting-edge digital technologies across its systems, processes and operations to strengthen business competitiveness.
ITC remains focused on building purpose-led brands powered by agile innovation and anchored on larger consumer needs. The businesses continue to leverage digital technologies and platforms towards enhancing consumer experience. Strategic interventions in this area are aimed at delivering delightful brand experiences seamlessly across touchpoints through personalised journeys mapped to individual's needs, preferences and context. The businesses continue to increasingly leverage 'sixth sense', the marketing command centre and consumer data hub – an AI-powered hyper-personalised platform backed by a robust partner ecosystem for content and data - to gain insights on market trends and consumer behaviour, and synthesise the same to craft contextual and hyper-personalised brand communication and product development. Over 3,000 content assets have been deployed leveraging this capability within a relatively short span of time at significantly lower cost, the company's annual report says. Strategic investments are also being made towards enhancing value creation leveraging data and analytics. Key interventions include augmenting ITC's NextGen data architecture powered by Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning (AI/ML), identifying and prioritising use cases for impactful outcomes and setting up a data science academy comprising data scientists and engineers to strengthen data and analytics programmes, it adds. The business continued to strengthen its presence in the premium skincare space through its digital-first brand, 'Dermafique'.
Leveraging the capabilities of ITC's life sciences and technology centre, the business launched 'engage fragrance finder', an AI-powered, technology-enabled experience that aids the selection of fragrances based on the consumer's preferences and occasion of usage.
In line with its vision to enable the pursuit of devotion for every consumer, Mangaldeep focused its brand interventions on digital media to reach out to devotees who were unable to visit places of worship during the pandemic. Interventions such as 'live pujas' initiated during the first wave of the pandemic were further scaled up during the year, thereby deepening engagement with devotees. The Mangaldeep app, which has garnered over 1 million downloads, continues to play a key role in the devotional journey of consumers.
Consumer engagement was further enhanced through Classmateshop.com, a D2C platform, which facilitates brand affinity through creative product personalisations. TM&D continues to leverage cutting-edge digital technologies to drive productivity, improve market servicing, draw actionable insights for sharp-focused interventions, augment sales force capability and deepen connect with retailers. Technology enablement in the form of customised mobility and routing solutions, machine learning algorithms, data science models, data analytics comprising insightful visualisation tools and predictive analysis is being increasingly leveraged to enable speedy and accurate data capture, enable real-time informed decisions and aid in scientific design of trade inputs to drive sales.
In line with its multi-channel strategy, ITC continued to invest in strengthening traditional trade by leveraging digital technology. Continuing its focus on automation, data-led insighting and machine-learning enabled solutions, ITC has implemented a slew of innovations to drive field-force productivity and performance in urban markets.
ITC was amongst the frontrunners in the industry to launch an app-based anytime ordering system for retailers – UNNATI. The digitally powered eB2B platform was rapidly scaled up during the year covering nearly 3 lakh outlets within a short span of time since national launch facilitating sharp and direct engagement with retailers, superior analytics, personalised recommendations of hyperlocal baskets based on consumer purchase insights, and deeper brand engagement. ITC also scaled up VIRU (Virtual Salesman), a technology solution to enable contactless ordering by retailers and direct communication with trade, especially during times of limited mobility or absence of salesforce, using machine learning for hyper-personalisation. Further, the presence of ITC's brands in health and hygiene space was strengthened on e-commerce channel with the addition of new partners. Sales through the e-commerce channel stood at 3x over FY 2019-20 levels, taking the channel salience to 7 per cent.
'ITC e-store', ITC's exclusive D2C platform, is now operational in 15 cities and continues to receive excellent consumer response. Powered by state-of-the-art digital technology and robust fulfilment infrastructure, the platform offers consumers on-demand access to a wide range of ITC's FMCG products across 45+ categories and over 700 products under one roof.