Tek! Mobile App for Consumption and Purchase Tracking by SocialWell
Tek! mobile app provides urban families with experience of a curated content stream of own or family purchases and consumption.
Consumers are aware of the ill effects on nutrition, waste generation, and sustainability on the products they consume. However, they lack actionable and timely information that enable them to take decisions.
After they make their purchases, it is not practical for the consumers to decide how their purchases impact a low carbon product supply chain. With Tek! consumers will get simulated bills with colors highlighting individual products for easy decision making.
Every family maintain their bills, prescription, and warranties given by providers in printed copies. With Tek! everyone will now have their electronic data related to purchase, consumption, and activities in a single place.
Till date, everyone had to depend on their providers – be it retail store for bill and warranties, manufacturers for product data, health facility for health and diagnosis data – to access electronic copies of their own activities and transactions.
Guidance, information, and messaging through mobile phones are well accepted by users around the globe. If users find that product data available in Tek! is reliable, genuine and good for their overall well-being, they will use the app for product selection based on nutrition, price, brand and other factors.
If more and more Tek! users tend to depend on the information, retail stores are likely to provide stocks and increase sales for the products which are nutritious and low carbon for the consumers.
When millions of Tek! users will use data labels in deciding their purchase of products, it will impact supply chain making products more nutritious and low-carbon.
Reach and impact
By year 3, we expect to reach about 40M users and 1 million retail stores in urban India. The Tek! will provide access to details of 100,000 products, including product ingredient, pricing, packaging, and carbon data.
Is this proposal for a practice or a project?
What actions do you propose?
Define the minimum viable product strategy: Do a market research with select group of consumers, stores, etailers, suppliers, manufacturers, and E-Waste firms to finalize and prioritise minimum functionalities of Tek! beta launch.
- Marketing strategy: Market research will guide us in developing an initial marketing strategy, including validating Tek! value proposition for key consumer segments, trial runs for sales by retail stores and manufacturers, promotion strategy. We shall develop and run quick trials to evaluate the effectiveness of the marketing strategy.
- Technology specification: Based on the current and future requirements develop a scalable and adaptive technology specifications. Analyse procurement, licensing, and tie-up options in developing the product in a cost-effective and sustainable manner.
- Define costing: Based on the guidance on marketing, technology, and staffing strategies, develop unit and total costing for product delivery to target consumers.
- Staffing and compensation: Develop staffing and compensation structure based on guidance developed on the product development and rollout timeline and technology stacks. It will help to screen and make provision offer select candidates to offset time delays in onboarding the recruits before development starts.
- Business risk, mitigation, and continuity plan: Identify and prioritise business risks detailing risks associated with each stakeholder types.
- Operational and Infrastructure set up: Rent an office, procure server and video conferencing equipment, preferably in Bangalore, as we can hire great and experienced talents in the least time.
- Market research: We shall engage a competent and experience market research firm for this.
- System development: Development using an agile process, development and testing of UX components, backend services, APIs, for Android devices using native Android platform. We can accomplish development of alpha version in 2 months and beta version in 3 months from start of the project. In addition to Tek! mobile app, we will also develop retail store ERP app. We need to develop this, as there is no compatible products available in the market. We have budgeted for 6 months for development and product stabilization.
- Content development: In India, there is no database available that gives structure data on products, particularly local and packaged food products. Manage a data entry team to develop product datasheet with images, content, and packaging would be essential. The process can run in parallel to system development.
As a strategy, we shall make records all the products available in stores for sharing product data and generating intelligent purchase guidance. We may need to buy products which we can’t catalogue using data printed on product packaging. Or, we can partner with a store and catalogue all their SKUs and typical stores will have about 25,000 SKUs.
Considering a person can catalogue one SKU in 10 minutes, including documenting packaging details (composition, weight, and disposal guidance), she can enter data of 32 SKU data in a day. For entry of 25,000 SKUs in 50 days (2 months), 16 data entry operators will be required, besides a team leader and a quality inspector.
- Technical content: Develop and tests algorithms for generating reminders and alerts, such as these:
- Colour coded messages on important reminders, overdue, purchases with higher calorie in the Tek! wall
- Auto-generate simulated bills with products to purchase (based on average consumption) with adverts inserted on offers from local stores & manufacturers & suggestions (Users will be able to use this auto-generated bills to make purchases in retail stores)
- Reminders for re-buy & intake of medicines based on prescription data
- Dashboard and advice on amount of intake of calorie, sugar, salt, calcium, protein, vitamins, fats, minerals based on demography, health goals, purchase and intake pattern (to improve accuracy, consumers answer questions on their eating habits)
- Dashboard and advice on electricity consumption based on electrical equipment and consumption trend
- Dashboard and advice on prevention, generation, reuse, handling, and disposal of product packages
To generate algorithm on medicine dashboard and advice, we shall engage medicine and pharmacist consultants. In area of food intake and its relations to product purchases, we shall engage consultant nutritionist and biotechnologists, and to develop advice and dashboard on electrical appliances, we shall engage an electrical engineer. An environmental engineer can provide guidance on documenting and disposing wastage generated from each product packaging.
The engagement for 2 months can be done after the alpha release to enable the experts develop dashboard using product data. We need to check relevance, validity, and impact of the data on a wide range of consumers through market research during this period.
- Retail store platform: We propose to analyse available platforms and frameworks to customize and develop the platform for the retail store. This is a necessary development to adopt the store owners to show benefits of a connected ERP which would provide seamless connectivity and data sharing with the Tek! app.
- Connecting to manufacturers and utility providers: Partner manufacturers and suppliers will need mechanism to upload or share their product data online. We shall provide those agencies with a log in and online form to upload their product data, along with product bar code, and FASSAI operation and product registration.
We will also need to get data from utility providers including electricity and water boards, cab hailing services, etc. We anticipate that it will be easier for us to get participation of providers in start-up and social enterprise segments.
- FASSAI data sheet: Food business operators submit online application with the details of the product to apply with details of shelf life, serving, pack size, serving details, ingredient details, among others (https://www.indiafilings.com/learn/how-to-get-fssai-product-approval/). Some of the information can be shared by the food business operators till the time we get the data online directly from FASSAI. During development phase, getting FASSAI data in Tek! platform may be difficult.
- Marketing messaging: Design, testing, and finalizing messaging and media for consumers, retail stores, manufacturers, and other stakeholders. Develop training content and curricula for the marketing, sales, and support teams on messaging and technology components. It also includes the typical process of approaching a stakeholder, discussion, and closing the deals. Messaging can be developed by a marketing research team consisting of market research consultant and interns. Messaging can be designed, tested, developed, and finalized over a 2 months’ period, starting from alpha to beta release.
Test online and onsite marketing strategies for 2-4 weeks, in online – social media and popular websites, and onsite through handouts, posters, banners, hoardings, and through seminars in select housing societies.
- Engaging sales team: Engage sales team and team leads with division of locations with viable targets and compensation structure. Each sales team shall consist of one sales consultant and 5 sales persons targeting to acquire consumers and stores in about 10 housing societies and 50 retail stores, during the development phase, starting from alpha to beta release, covering next 3 months’ period.
Implementation: In Tier 1 cities, most purchases are already provided online or through barcoded packages (i.e. vegetable is sold in packages), which would enable the Tek! users to get most of their purchase data automatically in Tek! app. In Tier 2 and 3 cities, consumers tend to purchase both in stores run using an ERP and completely manual stores. Both the scenarios provide us their own sets of challenges and opportunities for us. We will work in both Tier 1 and Tier 2 city types.
- We have envisaged a 3-year product roadmap with the following projections. These initial years will take us to create the market and make the ecosystem players (retail store and manufacturers) fully ready to exchange data seamlessly with consumers. In these 3 years, we will be required to engage marketing and sales strategies, to promote adoption and usage among retail stores and manufacturers.
It will be helpful for the consumers to get the data from utility providers like electricity, LPG providers (meter or cylinder connections), and water boards, as most homes tend to overlook their consumption. Initially, these incoming data streams are meant to inform homes on monthly billings, but it can be helpful for consumers with a simulated annual bill with energy-conserving practices.
Once a critical and sustainable user base is created, we expect that Tek! will grow organically as more and more manufacturers, providers, and stores are incentivized to share their data with their consumers.
Growth rate of app download among Indians is quite high – 6 billion apps in 2016, 71% higher compared to 3.5% in 2015. Our review suggests following year-on-year growth of usage of mobile apps in various categories.
We see that high degree of downloads and usage of Tek! will be driven by
- Mouth of word and localised promotion by the local retail stores
- Promotional campaigns
- Localised content
- Practical and utilitarian benefits for its users
- Year 1: In year 1, we shall design, test, and finalize product and implementation strategies. We shall test effectiveness of adverts through select manufacturers, providers, and stores once we have acquired sizeable user base (that is more than 80,000). Our effort will be to standardize and automate processes of acquiring Tek! users, manufacturers, suppliers, service providers, stores.
We seek seed stage funding that will cover our efforts and operational costs towards design, development, and test Tek! product in Year 1.
- Year 2: In year 2, we shall formally start operationalizing our advertising strategy, targeting at manufacturers, providers, suppliers, and stores. We shall use some of the lessons learnt on experimenting with advertising strategies in the first year.
Year 3: In this year, we are looking at importing more than 90% of user transactional data in the app, including the public and private utility services. We also aim to automate quantified and structure data on raw food items (e.g. vegetables and fruits). We also aim to import calorific intakes through analysing images of food uploaded by users, instead of deriving those averages from user questionnaire alone.
Risks and mitigation
(Section added based on Judges' Review)
1. Business risk: Tek! aims to connect consumers in middle and lower middle economic classes in India, to improve their purchase and consumption. Bulk of their purchase happens in shops with no adoption of PoS/ connectivity, preventing auto data transfer to Tek! app.
Mitigation: Low cost hardware and free software can nudge new shops to adopt technology, however, we find it will be difficult to adopt older shops.
2. Economic risk: We have proposed advertising as the key revenue model. However, this is a revenue model that is untested with retail shops. Suppliers and manufacturers are giving advertisements in consumer apps. It may take us longer than projected to see the revenue.
Mitigation: We have undertaken initial market research over this and we think that it will be possible to engage the retail store through incentives and points to try out paid advertising.
Who will take these actions?
- We propose to form a new company to develop and rollout the product.
- We intend to induct Directors with acumen in a) product strategies, b) marketing and sales, c) information technologies, and d) finance.
- Role of CEO will be to provide broad direction and guidance for the team on product vision and impact we want to achieve, review the key outputs from team on technology (UX, features, test results), marketing strategies including key messaging and customer segmentation, sales strategies, training, content development, partner acquisition, and roll out.
- Engage a full-time Product Director to oversee management of various processes and ensure we achieve results in time, with 6-8 years of technology sales and management experience.
Where will these actions be taken?
- In first year, we shall operationalize Tek! with all elements of the products including its revenue model tested, refined, and finalized in three different categories of cities. in india In second and third year, we shall build upon the first years’ experience and take the product to other large and medium sized cities as well.
- For Tek! three years is good enough time for ecosystem to evolve to develop and share data in a structured manner in India and globally. We intend to rely our growth strategy on evolving maturity and adoption of digital technologies by retail stores and manufacturers. Consumers will be able to get 80% of data once ecosystem players are ready.
- We shall study viability and method to enter markets in US and Europe where products and stakeholders are participating in a mature ecosystem to share their data.
In addition, specify the country or countries where these actions will be taken.
What impact will these actions have on greenhouse gas emissions and/or adapting to climate change?
Individual and families don’t have actionable information in managing their purchases and consumption to minimize GHG generation. Living a low carbon purchase and consumption lifestyle is not only good for environment, but also for family health.
Tek! shall include a grade based on their contribution to GHG shown in live product bills, so that consumers become aware in their purchase. It will include an option for consumers share their feedbacks to manufacturers. It will also come with in-app advice on prevention and management of wastes from products.
Tek! also provides guidance to homes in saving water and energy, based on the usage pattern and devices families list, as well as auto-imported meter reading and bills from utility providers.
Tek! is a globally scalable solution, with adoption of connected point of sales in retail stores.
What are other key benefits?
1. Healthy food intake and habits
2. To medicine through medicine reminders
3. Improved packaging manufacturers to prevent waste generation (as SumP users will see a rating for amount & type of packaging done)
4. Of good practices in waste disposal among consumers
Connection to E-Waste firms for disposal of E-Waste
What are the proposal’s projected costs?
Advertising and promotion $35,019.00
Travel & conveyance $5,400.00
Website Expenses $3,964.00
Total Employment Expenses $159,074.00
Occupancy Costs $8,184.00
Other Expenses $58,958.00
Total expenses $270,599.00
- Market research findings
- Presentation on App User Interface
- Interviewing for recruitments
- Product launches in 3 cities
- Promotional campaign
- 40,000 users & 1,000 stores, and 100 mfg
- Tek! app tested with 1000 first movers
- Connected to online startups
- Product SKU content digitized
- Add product features
- 80,000 users, 10,000 stores, & 300 mfg.
- Promotional campaigns
About the author(s)
14 years’ experience in system design and implementation, eGovernance in EPFL
20 years’ experience in technology and product development, Engineering from BITS Pilani
MEAN stack, engineers