Panasonic FamilyMart store: Solutions in the store

Author – Sean Taylor, Business Development Manager, Panasonic UK

You may have seen my previous article about the convenience store opened by Panasonic. Since publishing that article, I have been asked why we have done this. So, why did we open our own store? First and foremost, this is the place to learn and create solutions that embody the next generation convenience store format with FamilyMart through a real life operation.

In this article, I will take a closer look at the kind of solutions being tested there and the benefits they can bring to retailers and their customers.

-IoT Data Marketing

Knowing your customer is absolutely key to providing the service they expect. In the FamilyMart store we can gain valuable insight into instore behaviour.  By combining conventional POS data with dwell time heatmaps created from instore cameras and sensors, along with smartphone questionnaire responses, the store can gather valuable intelligence. They can then use this intelligence to manage the store more effectively. It leads to the best store layouts and selection of goods that are more convenient for shoppers.

      

- Electronic Shelf Label

Electronic Shelf Labels (ESL) have been installed in our store for a number of reasons. They are more aesthetically pleasing which in itself, makes the store look and feel tidier to the customer.  Not only can prices be managed centrally and instantly, the technology can be linked to promotions and product information. Plus, staff no longer have spent hours of their time printing and changing paper labels around the store. Feedback from our employees is very positive about this.

- Automated Shelf Monitoring

When items are out of stock, customers are not happy and revenue is lost.

Automatic shelf monitoring has been implemented in the store to detect low stock/out of stock items automatically. The system then sends alerts to the staff, in this case via the work assist solution (details below), to notify them which items need replenishing.  This process enhances instore stock management efficiency, prevents loss of revenue through out of stock items and customers leave happy with all the items they wanted.

- Work assist

As with any store, we need to maximise the effectiveness of our staff, where possible, using tools that are already familiar to them.  Employees receive a to-do list via wearable devices. The action required and timing are given in order of priority allowing the staff to focus on the right things at the right times. The to-do list includes items such as stock replenishment (from the ASM solution), check out support and cleaning. This process is creating a consistent, best practice approach to instore operations.

- Self check-out powered by Face recognition and object detection

Speed and ease of check out has frequently been identified as a key issue for customers instore.  To eliminate this issue, we have created and installed a self check-out process powered by AI.  The solution combines objection detection and awarding winning facial recognition technology to create a fast and pain-free check-out process.


Once the customer has opted in to use this service by registering their face and credit card information in the app or on a tablet in the store, there are 5 simple steps to check out:

1. Go to the store and select the items for purchase
2. Take them to the checkout and put them on the table. The system then detects these items

3. All detected items are displayed with associated prices automatically and the system proceeds to payment.

4. The system recognises the customer’s face using the camera at the check-out and confirms the payment

5. Check out is now complete and the customer can leave the store.


All data collected in the process is carefully managed in secure environment.
In addition to providing a new and improved customer experience, it allows store staff to focus on helping customers around the store rather than being limited to a manned check-out.

* Only available to Panasonic employees at the initial phase

 - Mobile ordering and delivering

Click and collect ordering is a service customers now expect. In our store we have adopted this approach to allow customers to order and pay for meals via a smartphone app; the orders will then be put together and delivered.
It is getting very positive feedback from users because it is super convenient.
Customer feedback shows that this service is key to their shopping experience and satisfaction levels.  Due to its success, we are expanding our trading area for meals.

* Only available to Panasonic employees at the initial phase

- Self-Service Counter

In a Japanese convenience store, a counter has various roles, not only as a check out, but also handling utility bill payments, cleaning services, e-commerce parcels, amusement park tickets and more.  Due to these complex tasks, we have increased the self-service element in the store.  Not only designing counters specifically for this purpose, but adding self-service for the coffee cups and food service. The number of self-service options available to the customer is something we will look to increase in the future.

- Creating a comfortable atmosphere instore

For us, it is absolutely key to create a comfortable atmosphere in the store for customers. We wanted to create a welcoming environment but also needed to ensure any important information is communicated clearly and in the right place.  We have done this by using our expertise in projection solutions, to ensure we provide what is needed without intruding on their journey through the store.

- CCTV

We have a responsibility to ensure our customers have a safe and secure environment in the store. To help to this, we are using our CCTV installation for more than just traditional surveillance usage. We are using it for multiple purposes including out of stock detection, heatmapping etc.  Using all the data to generate actionable insight that we can use to enhance operations and customer experience in the store.

Using these technology based solutions, we are able to continually learn and evolve the instore experience to match and hopefully exceed our customer expectations in a way that benefits both us, as a retailer and solution provider, and the customer.

If you’d like to know more about the solutions above, please feel free to contact us.

Also you can check our website.