Belgian supermarket chain Colruyt has given each employee a smartphone to use at work, trying to become a fully ‘connected store’. The eponymous group's other chains, like Dreamland and BioPlanet, will follow suit later.
The 12,000 Samsung Galaxy XCover 4s devices that Colruyt Group has already bought for a total cost of seventeen million euros will contribute to increasing employee connectivity, improving communication with customers, and enabling a more efficient organisation of work. If all goes well, the group's other chains will follow Colruyt's example and give an additional 4,000 smartphones to their staff as well.
The current first phase will see the smartphones used for specific tasks that were done on a PDA beforehand, like requesting article information. Later on, they will also be used to chat or call with colleagues. The ultimate stage is encouraging employees to install the groups apps (like Collect&Go, MyColruyt, Xtra or SmartWithFood), so they can help customers as well as possible with the diverse possibilities of all those apps.
Step by step
Sales director Christophe Dehandschutter is the driving force behind the project: "This will enable us to increase a sense of togetherness, reducing the distance between employees. In the future, they should also be able to reach their colleagues in services like stock management, enabling a more efficient collaboration."
"We will approach this project step by step, learning as we go. The goal is really creating a 'Colruyt Group App Store', allowing each employee to download the apps that can help him or her in the best way possible."
Colruyt is working hard on its digital transformation: the austere retailer did already invest a lot in electronic price tags in all its stores and tested automatic product recognition for fruit and veg at its check-out scales.