Vodafone Romania and Romanian supermarket chain Mega Image have launched what they call the first Smart Supermarket in Romania, located in Bucharest, the capital city. The shop has nine fully-functional IoT retail products that help Mega Image identify customers’ needs and understand their behavior in order to increase efficiency and customer satisfaction and to improve the shopping experience.
Vodafone Romania IoT specialists, together with Mega Image, implemented digital smart products which can help the supermarket respond more actively to customers’ needs. The various products provide customer statistics, stock monitoring, digital media signage for personalized advertising, promotional targeting that displays relevant information to shopper, queue management, Wi-Fi for customers, shoppers feedback system and a customer service assistant. The system uses smart sensors to monitor the routes most frequently used by visitors.
As we have written frequently in this space, IoT is growing very aggressively all over the world and promises great utility and revenue opportunities for many kinds of businesses. Fixed and mobile operators, of course, benefit in that they provide the means of connectivity to operate IoT systems. But these companies naturally want to benefit in a richer way than simply to function as providers of connectivity. Partnering with other businesses to create tailor-made, proprietary IoT applications is one way in which this can happen.
IoT can enable the remote operation of industrial devices and of smaller-scale devices for consumers within the home. There are huge revenue opportunities in such applications. However, the Mega Image–Vodafone Romania deal points in a different direction. In addition to remote control, the IoT ecosystem in the supermarket has a strong digital advertising component, and this is what makes it particularly interesting to us. Wit IoT applied in this innovative way, not only can the customer experience be improved, thus stimulating sales, but key data can be collected from customers and then dynamically responded to. In this fashion, IoT becomes an active stimulator of revenue.
Vodafone, by lending its IoT expertise to Mega Image, not only makes revenue from the project costs but also associates its brand with a popular consumer destination, which helps with loyalty and retention. Further, it burnishes its brand by publicizing the depth of its knowledge of this cutting-edge technology. And finally, it actively participates in the large-scale, ongoing project of developing big consumer data, which can be monetized in in many, often unexpected ways.