The age of Proteus
Proteus could be the name of a new character in a superhero movie or comic book, don’t you think? «Retail world, be prepared for the arrival of Proteus and his superpowers». All right, I will stop goofing around. In this post I want to talk to you about Proteus a new type of display that could become a new role model. Just bear with me and read further.
The main idea: Co-creation
On social media, left and right, I saw different posts about this new smart display. So I jumped on my bicycle to go discover this new concept (the secret layer of this new superhero was actually pretty easy to find). Then I had the opportunity to have a chat with Geert Marivoet and Bram Van Schijndel, the Cofounders of Pure Value. They explained to me the concept of Proteus.
Two minds…and more
So on one side, Geert, used to design displays, and on the other side, Bram is from the logistics world. So their experience was different but very complimentary within this project. Together they could tackle some issues (such as co-packing, design, transport…) and imagine new business models for displays. However, more could be done. So when they created Pure Value, they went to the market to learn about the expectations of every player when it comes to displays. They used the method of co-creation.
An effective and unifying approach
For those who don’t know how co-creation works, actually what Pure Value did is simply go and question all the people concerned in the display value chain. The request was simple: “what do you expect from a display and what are the main features that you expect?” The panel of the professionals approached was composed of marketeers, brand manufacturers, logistics responsible, buyers, storeowners, store staff, etc.; basically anyone involved in the value chain.
Quickly, what came out is that the solution should be standardised, reusable, sustainable, easy to transport (and on wheels preferably), respectful of branding, etc. On top of that, the idea was to make the display ‘smart’ (actually some packagings, pallets or containers already have chips in them, so why not displays? Just a brilliant ideas if you ask me). So after the think-tank finished it’s process, Proteus was born.
My 20/CENT on Proteus: Disruption AT LAST !
So my dear followers, you ask yourself if this approach delivered any results? Well the first one is that you have a new type of display and a new business model. Also I could mention that many distributors in different countries are spreading Proteus. And of course, you will be impressed by the fact that many players participate and buy into the project. Just to name you a few of those I can mention brand manufacturers (AB Inbev, L’Oreal,…), organisations such as GS1 or the BABM, and of course retailers (Plus Retail actually already pledged to only accept Proteus displays in their stores).
But more than that, in my opinion, there are many elements that make Proteus a new superhero with cool superpowers compared to classic displays.
First of all, there is the approach. The advantage of co-creation is that the final product is better perceived and received. The market participated in its conception, so manufacturers and retailers will, and are welcoming the new concept much more easily.
On top of that, you shouldn’t see Proteus as a product, but more like a service. The positioning and how the concept is brought in the market definitely show that Pure Value offers a service rather than simply is producing and selling displays. Let me paint you the picture. You need a display? So you just need to go on a web portal where you can design your own campaign, and your own display configuration (a bit like when you go and design a kitchen at Ikea or something). Then, you put your parameters such as number of sku’s, prices, margins, etc., and the system will give you information on your potential ROI (very useful if you need to (re)negotiate with the trade). Then you just place your order. You can actually order a specific amount of displays (and not a container coming from overseas long in advance just because your finance department says it’s cheaper). Finally, your displays will be delivered and placed in stores. At the end of your promo campaign, as it is a renting service, your displays will be going back and will be reused for another campaign. Therefore, thanks to this one-stop-shopping service, you’ll have less waste and a just price. As I said, it’s a new business model, and a pure service.
Finally, let’s take a look at the “smart” aspect of the project. The chips should allow you to locate your displays (see if they are delivered and placed correctly), and also measure your sales which you will be able to compare with the classic checkout data. Therefore, you will be able to better control and measure your campaign. But that’s not all. Because a lot of data will be collected, from your campaign and from others, the system will keep getting better. On your next campaigns, thanks to the data collected, the configuration portal will suggest you the best setup possible according to your specifics (e.g. your products, your category, your geographical coverage, etc.).
To conclude, I feel like saying that on many tradeshows or on field visits, I meet young start-ups or older companies telling me that I should definitely write about them because their new business idea is “THE idea that will disrupt the market”. Well in many cases I am disappointed and find some claims quite bold. But in the case of Proteus, I see a product conceived with the market, offering less waste and more sustainability, using big data, and offering a totally new business model. Not once during my conversation with Geert or Bram or others at Pure Value, I heard the claim of “disruption”. Well I will do my job here and say that this is disruption at last in the world of displays.
ProteusSmart DisplayPos DisplayGeert MarivoetBram Van SchijndelPure Value