Anybody watch the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games from London?
I don’t know about you, but I rather enjoyed them, in a British humor sort of way.
The testament to the National Health Service was a bit out of left field, but Danny Boyles made even that fun.
As for the image of the Queen skydiving with James Bond (aka Daniel Craig) into Olympic Stadium…well, cue the Bond theme, and shake up a martini, please, Miss Moneypenny, as that was a surprise indeed!
Across the English Channel and a bit further east, IBM recently partnered with major German retail hypermarket chain, REAL, to bring about its own recent surprise.
IBM and REAL have partnered to launch a new electronic coupon system throughout REAL’s 320 German stores, a first-of-its-kind digital coupon system developed with IBM Research to enable consumers to use their mobile phones to find and redeem e-coupons as they shop in stores.
This new capability delivers a convenient and personalized service to shoppers, even if they forgot their paper coupons back at home.
The REAL Deal
REAL hypermarkets sell about 80,000 different items, from food to electrical appliances to clothing, and already were conducting the largest coupon program in Germany through the company’s “Payback” program.
In fact, REAL cites customer loyalty programs like Payback as an important part of their business strategy in the highly competitive German retail market.
The REAL coupon program enables in-store Payback members to use their mobile phones to browse online coupons as they walk through the aisles. Shoppers can choose their favorite coupons from the REAL homepage or a Payback app on their smartphones.
In a maximum of 500 milliseconds, the system confirms their choice and transfers an eCoupon to the store’s “3V – Value Voucher Validation” coupon system in real time.
To redeem the eCoupon, customers then display their Payback membership card upon check-out and the transaction is automatically processed.
For REAL, this new electronic system offers a more personalized view of customers and the option to change coupon distribution in real time. Promotions can respond more flexibly to seasonal changes or fashion fads to appeal to ever-changing consumer tastes.
“In essence, we are simplifying and improving the coupon redemption process,” explained Bernd Hasenbank, Head of Point of Sale Solutions at REAL.
REAL expects that it will be receiving several hundred thousand eCoupon queries and eCoupon redemptions per day at the cash registers of it 320 stores. That is not an easy task for the underlying information technology (IT) architecture with a central server.
The new 3V coupon system at REAL is based on existing IBM solutions at METRO Group, which are compliant with the EPC Information Services Standard (EPCIS) of EPCglobal. The system is based on IBM InfoSphere Traceability Server, a high-performance data storage device, that is able to manage and analyze large amounts of data, integrate master data systems and provide data in real-time for internal and external applications.
If you’d like to learn more about IBM Smarter Commerce solutions, go here, and don’t forget the upcoming Smarter Commerce Summit to be held in Orlando, Florida, September 5-7. You can learn more about and register for that event here.