World premiere: Carrefour Hypermarkets have installed large networks of iBeacons to guide and inform in-store customers
The european retail leader Carrefour has recently placed extensive iBeacon networks in all 28 of its hypermarkets in Romania. This is the first project of its kind at global level which passes the tests phase and openly interacts with the public at the level of an entire commercial network. The solution uses 600 Onyx Beacon One devices and delivers to consumers, at the level of an entire national retail network, a guided shopping experience, personalized and enriched by the content delivered to their mobile devices.
The first iBeacon large-scale deployment in retail
Celebrating 14 years of activity in Romania, Carrefour decided to offer to his customers a simple, intuitive, and fun tool for orientation inside hypermarkets from one district to another and to be informed about the products, services and actual special offers from each of the store departments. To do this, in each hypermarket of the network were placed Onyx Beacon One devices, located individually in every department of the store. The retailer created a free mobile application available on Google Play and developed a cloud platform that manages the Beacons fleet, automates the commercial content delivery and collects essential data about in-store consumer behavior.
Onyx Beacon One, placed in a store department in Carrefour
This project of micro-location and proximity marketing is the first implemented in a global retail network, and represents the first visible step in defining and developing a new concept of communication for traditional commerce. Being a premiere, the project has had limited objectives: to provide visitors an experience of indoors navigation within the store sectors and to deliver simple notifications about offers and promotions available in each department of the store.
How does it work?
At the entrance in the supermarket, a few special shopping carts are waiting for the customer. Last generation tablets produced by Samsung are installed on the shopping carts handles. A large sticker placed on the floor invites the visitor to use the Smart Shopping mobile application which can be downloaded and used on any smartphone, if the Bluetooth Low Energy port is opened.
Shopping carts with tablets for Smart Shopping experience in Carrefour store
If you as a visitor think that this experience is interesting, a hostesse located at the entrance of the store is approaching and will explain what is the application about, how can be activated and used and what results to expect. The users’ steps are simple: first select from a predefined list of store departments where do you want to go in this shopping session. You note in the comments field of each chosen department the names or product categories that you have on your shopping list.
After completing the shopping list and the inventory of aisles where you want to go, the application calculates a route, and shows you a path to follow on the store map, in a manner similar to GPS devices that you already have used in your car. As you advance from one area to another, the route is updated and the tablet on the shopping cart or your mobile phone shows your next directions.
The Smart Shopping application, working on a Samsung tablet in a Carrefour hypermarket
At each aisle of the hypermarket where you stop, you’ll get, at the bottom of the screen of your mobile device, two, three or four notifications displayed as overlapping mini-windows. These are the active promotions at the time and at the place where you are at that very moment. Visual details about the products and offer prices can be discovered by simply fingering the window of interest to you.
The experience delivered at this moment for Carrefour visitors it is not very rich and intense, but it represent a relevant and spectacular innovation, and was received with curiosity and openness by many current customers of Carrefour, particularly by young people, the so-called Millenials. Besides the interaction with the consumer, this solution has another important role for the commercial network: the beacons system and the platform that manages the communication can collect a number of important statistics and analytical data that can help the retailer better understand consumer behavior within the store and optimize its routes, merchandise display systems or work program of its own employees.
What is the innovatory input of the iBeacon technology for the retail vertical?
For now, Carrefour uses iBeacon technology in relation with its customers to deliver only two simple benefits: in-store navigation and info about product / price / promotion. It is only a first step, modest but very brave, being the first of this scale, on a road that will offer virtually limitless possibilities for developing personalized relationships and continuous interaction between smart commercial operators and each of their customers.
Using a system composed of hardware iBeacon, mobile applications platform and cloud-based CMS in the conventional retail, an important part of tracking, analysis and digital communication techniques, commonly used in online commerce, are imported and creatively implemented. By doing so, these techniques will be important in the future to improve the consumer shopping experience, but also the retailer ability to deliver relevant commercial messages to well-defined targets, at the perfect place and time and to record significant increases in customer satisfaction and sales volumes.
Carrefour intends to maintain and expand in the future the ibeacons networks located in its hypermarkets in Romania, in order to develop and streamline its communication techniques and digital interaction with customers. Carrefour Group is the second global retailer and number one in Europe, it has 10,100 stores in 34 countries and a daily record number of 10 million customers. In Romania, Carrefour has achieved in 2014 a turnover of one billion euros and has 178 stores, including 28 hypermarkets, 97 supermarkets, 53 convenience stores and an online store.
We can consider that Smart Shopping it is just a starting point, a first section of the foundation of the concept that we, here at Onyx Beacon, use to call ”Rightketing”. This semantic compound created by our team designates the Marketing activities assisted by micro-location and proximity communication technology, and characterized by customization, accuracy, efficiency and contextualization, i.e. a higher stage in the evolution of marketing in the traditional trade. When a company has the ability to communicate the right and personalized message to a well determined target / consumer, at the ideal time and place (exactly when in the store and shopping), it is not just doing marketing, but reaches the Rightketing phase.