by September 7, 2010 0 comments

With almost 19 years in the business, Shopper’s Stop is the oldest retail chain in India. Over the last few fears, Shopper’s Stop has implemented a number of innovative systems and applications to improve customer experience. Ranjit Sathyanath, Head IT, of Shoppers Stop affirms Shopper’s stop innovations in IT applications. The 33 branch retail chain has implemented, in the last year, the Wireless Cashing system, the Promotion Integration System and Google Maps Mashup. None of these projects have been officially christened but have been an integral part of the shopping experience.

Wireless Cashing system

Budget: Under 1 lakh

Implementation time: Eight weeks end to end

Vendor: Mobicule

This application is focussed at the privileged high spenders. “The most painful part of the shopping experience is waiting in line to be billed,” explains Sathyanath. The team at Shopper’s Stop decided to build a “bridge to luxury.” The system would be able to bill the customers through a wireless thimble running on Windows Mobile 5. The thimble reads the price through the barcode, and prints a receipt; all of this while the customer sits in a lounge. The thimble, provided by Mobicule, comes equipped with the facility of swiping credit cards.

Promotion Integration with ERP

Budget: Under 1 lakh

Implementation time: Six weeks end to end

Vendor: In House

This application is focussed on increased awareness for both customers and the front-end staff. “A retail chain like ours constantly has some promotion or the other and customers need to be made aware that their favourite brands and what they offer,” says Sathyanath. The in-house developed application uses simple tools to develop an interface, which gives access to the distributor and allows them to control the kind of promotional offer that the customers can access al through a simple table. When a customer gets on the website, they see promotional offers for particular brands. The distributor controls the time and the type of offer. This also gives a chance for the front-end staff to stay abreast with the offers available through the various brands. “This was a very unique concept, where we have given distributors, in a way, control of the website, something which took some time in the ideation phase.”

Google Maps and First Citizen Mashup

Budget: Under 2 lakh

Implementation Time: 6 months

Vendor: Mobicule

First Citizen in Shopper’s Stop is the premium customer card that entitles them to various perks. The mashup of Google Maps with individual customer information aligns customers down to the street number on Google’s Map. “This system helps us make a quick report of our customer base,” he says. The maps lend a visual element to report making. The map shows the spending patterns of the customers walking into the store and it helps establish a target audience for particular type of advertisement. “The mashup helps us establish the spending power so we change the merchandise according to the kind of customers visiting the shop.” The maps have also helped Shopper’s Stop in the establishing new outlets. “The maps helps us establish if our customer base overlaps,” explains Sathyanath.

Sathyanath’s team spent three months learning how to use and establish a link between the database and the maps. “Google maps has a limitation which does not let Maps to be used commercially by limiting the number of hits, “ he said. Sathyanath needed to script in a way that would update and populate the data on the maps with a significant time delay to find the loophole. He also had to figure a way out to integrate location with latitude and longitude.

Patanjali Pahwa

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