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When I shop online, I enjoy the price transparency, the infinite range of products, 24×7 availability and no waiting in line. Still, I sometimes miss the human contact of a brick-and-mortar store where employees help create a warm and lively atmosphere
To give customers the best of both worlds, those of us at Groupe Casino believe that traditional stores must incorporate digital innovation. The combination of the physical and digital can deliver a winning social experience while reducing frictions such as checkout lines, payment hassles and out-of-stock merchandise.
That’s the idea behind Le 4 Casino, our new three-story retailing concept near the Champs-Élysées in Paris. It’s a first-of-its-kind connected store that merges the best of digital and human capabilities in a streamlined multichannel approach.
Working with our longtime franchisee Prodistribution and technology partners IBM, Panasonic, SFD Systems and a dozen others, we developed state of the art customer-facing apps that improve the everyday shopping experience. We also leverage the Internet of Things (IoT) to keep things running smoothly. Our people play a prominent role: the store has more employees than other stores the same size because we want to guide and assist our customers.
A seamless experience
Open at all hours seven days a week, Le 4 Casino features a restaurant, a gourmet and organic grocery aisle, a stock of Casino food items, exclusive products from guest brands and chefs, a wine cellar, and a discount showroom with a free co-working space. Customers can enjoy a seamless and comfortable experience as they test and taste products before they buy, do their shopping, relax over food and drink and even get some work done.
On the digital side, an augmented reality display visible from the street creates a sharp impression. Once inside, shoppers can tap on a giant digital Picking Wall to select items from our online catalog for home delivery that evening. They also benefit from in-store product mapping, shopping route management, searchable product details, and a scan-and-go app with online payment. If they like, shoppers can serve themselves and move through the store without stopping at checkout.
IoT—helping optimize and differentiate
There’s more digital innovation behind the scenes. An AI-powered visual recognition system can check the aisles for theft and detect breakage, and IoT analytical technology can help to optimize operational systems.
As an example, we deployed the IBM Watson IoT Platform delivered from the IBM Cloud to monitor refrigeration. IoT sensors positioned on refrigeration shelves generate readings that, when analyzed, can alert store managers to a door left open and other anomalies. This helps ensure that produce stays fresh and reduces cooling costs.
We will continue to work with IBM to apply AI and machine learning to Le 4 Casino’s IoT data models. The insights, we expect, will improve inventory management, increase energy efficiency and help us perfect connected systems that will power the stores of tomorrow.
Want to learn more about how tech is transforming retail?
Watch Cyril Bourgois discuss hybrid concept in food retailing: