The consumer electronics and smartphone brand Samsung concluded the fifth edition of its India campus programme – Samsung E.D.G.E. recently. Over 5,200 students from 20 institutions across India participated in the competition.
Team Secret Society from IIT Madras (IITM), comprising Guhan Narayanan, Mukund Khandelwal, and Rishbha Jain emerged winners in the finale for presenting a customer-centric, innovative solution to reach out to potential consumers in a contact-less way during Covid-19. The team Pravega from FMS Delhi came second followed by team Mafia from XLRI Jamshedpur.
The finale was attended by Ken Kang, President and Chief Executive, Samsung, SWA (South West Asia), and other senior leaders of Samsung India. Kang congratulated all the participants and said that 2020 will be remembered for innovative thinking in challenging times, a testimony to the unwavering human spirit.
On how their ideas were received by the Samsung jury, Rishbha Jain from the winning team, said, “The Samsung team was particularly impressed by our AR-related ideas and thought it was feasible. What set us apart from other B-Schools was our creativity coupled with the feasibility. And our presentation was simple and easily-comprehensible.”
The winning team was awarded a flagship smartphone along with a cash prize of ₹400,000. The trio of final-year mechanical engineering students from IITM shared their winning solution to the business case study challenge in an interview with BusinessLine on Campus.
In the discovery stage, the consumer is essentially looking for a product to buy. The IITM team had suggested introducing product placements in OTT platforms, the most-preferred entertainment medium during the Covid induced lockdowns. “This would act as a 'nudge campaign' to subconsciously convince the customers to buy a product through positive reinforcements,” said Guhan Narayanan.
The team proposed an Augmented Reality-based app to simulate products in real size in the customer’s environment. It is designed to replicate the touch-and-feel of walking into a showroom. Through the app, the shoppers try products at home in real size and buy with confidence directly from the e-commerce platform of the retailer.
For instance, if the buyer intends to purchase a Samsung washing machine, the shopper needs to aim their mobile devices at the floor and tap on the screen to place the product in the right dimensions. This simulated experience allows the customer to check if the product fits well and matches the aesthetics of their house.
Through research surveys conducted, the team found out that customers value transparency the most in the delivery process during Covid-19. The suggestions urged Samsung to include maximum transparency in the procedure, such as notifying the temperature of the delivery personnel, the route they opt to take, and so on, to assure the customer that the highest safety standards are maintained.
Through an AR-enhanced after services application, the team recommended simplifying the installation and product service process, and minimising the number of people involved. For instance, if the customer intends to install a Samsung TV, they need to simply point the camera at the TV and the app will offer step-by-step directions for installation using arrows.
Few additional ideas
Samsung can consider using special particles that have properties to kill germs, and coat their products with it. Moreover, making products ‘smart’ to be able to carry out self-diagnosis when it malfunctions, and alert the authorities at the nearest Samsung service centre, could really help. The automation of the complaint-filing mechanism saves users' time and reduces the number of home visits made by the service personnel.