CUE Group: Empowering Brands and Retailers to Navigate Consumer Market Shifts

Human Capability Stands at the Heart of Technology.

The use of e-commerce has skyrocketed in the past two years. Whilst businesses welcome this positive development, the trend has also brought with it the challenge of more demanding shoppers who require better, faster, and more convenient services from online marketplaces and sellers. 

In Southeast Asia, 82% of shoppers cited online platforms as their preferred channel (video, messaging, and e-commerce platforms) to browse and discover items, Bain & Company and Meta revealed in a survey. 

“The pandemic has conditioned consumers to complete more online transactions than ever before,” said Shi Kan, group CEO of CUE Group, a full-service digital technology company that offers marketing, technology, and IP services. “They have a higher appetite for online shopping and are less reliant on traditional brick-and-mortar stores.” 

The survey also reported that 41% of shoppers prefer a hybrid approach--essentially being able to shop both online and in physical stores.

“The biggest pain point we have observed is the increased expectations and demands from consumers to ensure their experiences online and offline are integrated, personalised, and efficient. This is heavily reliant on data and technology, which many businesses have not prepared adequately for,” Shi Kan added.

To fully realise their growth potential, brands need to obtain digital capabilities based on an omnichannel strategy, which will allow them to build a stronger customer experience (CX), and achieve customer acquisition and retention goals.

Talent Dilemma 

But that is easier said than done. As digital marketing expertise becomes a necessity if brands and retailers want to succeed in their omnichannel goals, labor shortages have impacted nearly every industry.

According to Forrester’s 2022 Marketing Survey, businesses face the challenge of finding and hiring experienced talent with more sophisticated and specialised skills such as content marketers, data analysts, or advertising experts. Without the right talent, businesses will be unable to meet consumers’ demands for an integrated experience, which in turn would limit growth.

“The talent pool has been challenging across Southeast Asia since 2019,” said Daniel Posavac, managing director for CUE Southeast Asia. “We are now seeing a strong shift in the types of talent coming into the industry, particularly with a focus on new technology, data, and AI. 

“We believe that this is critically important as today’s technology is only as good as the humans who analyse the data, validate the insights and implement the strategic actions that come from the data. 

Technology and Talent

Currently, many brands and retail businesses have yet to fulfill their growth potential in e-commerce, restricted by both a lack of technological capabilities and talent. 

In response to these challenges, digital marketing companies have emerged to offer their knowledge, skills, and expertise.

CUE has been working hard to integrate real-world data, via their own visual AI technology, with the digital data owned by their clients in order to have a more unified view of the customer journey between offline and online. CUE believes this is critical for traditional businesses to deliver against the new expectations consumers are placing on them. For businesses to be truly data-driven in their marketing and business decisions, they need a single source of data truth, which enables them to make effective decisions. 

Established in 2017, CUE offers integrated online marketing services, including branding, digital public relations, content creation, social media, user acquisition, app distribution, targeted marketing, SEO, video production, and data analytics, tools that enable its team of experts to design effective campaign strategies.

Having digital tools and human expertise under a single roof, CUE is able to support enterprises in their end-to-end business growth and streamline operations for quicker turnaround. It also gives clients the convenience of one entry point to experience a spectrum of services they need. 

Recently, the group expanded its digital services to include RetailX, a solution that combines AI, hardware, and software to support clients’ offline channels. This solution aims to give brands and businesses a deeper understanding of consumer practices through real-time analytics at all levels of operations and marketing.

“Our Smart Retail technology is designed to help retail companies to digitise the data they collect from the physical environment,” explained Daniel. The underlying technology is artificial intelligence and analytics in video security systems at the physical stores, which capture customer behavior data in real-time. This data is then transformed into actionable insights.

Shi Kan revealed that the company plans to further develop RetailX to help retailers further improve the efficiency of their store operations, and enhance the overall shopper experience. 

“We are committed to further developing our Smart Retail solutions to be the key tool in enabling unmanned store operations and understanding customer sentiment throughout their shopper experience.”

CUE also recently introduced an Intellectual Property (IP) service to attract more fans, increase influence, and eventually monetise the IP.

Through all these services, Shi Kan underscores the importance of its team at the core of the business. “We believe technology and data are two key business growth drivers,” he said, “but at the heart of their success are our people, who operate within each client's business context and with the cultural understanding of their local markets.”

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