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Inverview with Bic Camera
Inverview with Bic Camera
Electronic Shelf Label (InforTab)
Next generation store environment through improved store work efficiency and new shopping experience.
“Bic Camera’s store concept is a collection of “specialized” specialty stores that continue to evolve and offer a richer shopping experience with professionalism and advancement,” and has expanded its business by developing large-scale stores in front of Japanese metropolitan transportation stations. Recently, we have been working on introducing electronic price tags to all stores with the goal of improving work efficiency and providing customers with a new purchasing experience while a large amount of products’ price control is required.
In the fall of 2018, we began to consider the introduction of Electronic Shelf Labels, and introduced InforTab in accordance with the new opening of small stores at the end of that year. In August 2020, the introduction was completed at all BicCamera stores (about 50 stores), and it is still in stable operation. The introduction of electronic price tags has been going on in the face of various challenges in the field. I inquired about the idea for the expansion of all stores to General Manager Tanaka.
Electronic Shelf Labels are indispensable for the operation of next-generation store environments.
Bic Camera has been working hard to become a store that can provide customers with a new purchasing experience compared to its competitors and provide customers with the right product at the appropriate selling price. Before the introduction of ESLs, when headquarters decided to change a price, the store printed the price tag and cut it to the specified size and exchanged it on the shelf. In addition to home appliances, we carry a variety of products related to daily life, such as pharmaceuticals, sporting goods, toys, alcoholic beverages, and bedding. Exchanging the price tags required a lot of time, and customer service, which the salesperson had to put the most effort into, was weak.
As a countermeasure to these problems, we decided that the ESL system, which enables changing the store price from headquarters without going through a salesperson, is the best solution directly or indirectly connected to store efficiency, so we started reviewing the solution.
As a result of the empirical experiment, a corresponding effect was confirmed in increasing the efficiency of store operations.
ESL vendor’s attitude toward flexible enhancements was reliable.
In selecting vendors, we requested information from about 10 companies that deal with domestic ESL solution proposals and evaluated them. After that, we narrowed it down to a few companies, and as a result of the final selection based on the proposal request, the proposal of the Miralite Technologies Group* was finally adopted.
As a company that puts customer satisfaction and trust first, we particularly requested functions to use ESL as a communication tool with customers.
For example, if you touch the ESL with a smartphone, you are connected to product specification information, and store stock confirmation via NFC taging (businesss patent pending), and the LED flashing function on the ESL is provided to increase the efficiency of product pick-up. By quickly addressing our needs in real stores, they allow Bic Camera to gain media attention as a store that does more.
In addition, Bic Camera has many large stores in front of the station and displays a variety of electronic devices. However, introducing a large amount of ESL in a difficult environment where there are many radio waves as both customers and salespeople carry smartphones. Can we communicate?’, ‘Is it stable without being affected by radio waves from other devices?’, and ‘Is the sales price updated in a short time without slowing down?’ As a result of empirical tests at the Ikebukuro headquarters with Light Technologies, it was confirmed that all ESLs were operating stably, and through this, we were able to be sure that RAINUS products have strengths in information and communication technology.
It operates stably even in a difficult radio wave environment, and at the same time, it is evaluated by the vendor as “very satisfactory and reliable” as ESL is gradually evolving in line with the changes and needs of customers’ purchasing styles.
※ Milight Technologies Group’s proposal: ESL consulting, project management, and system integration are handled by its subsidiary CREiST, Environmental surveys, access point installation work, and ESL installation are handled by Miralite Technologies, and the ESL company is RAINUS.”
Providing a new shopping experience as a communication tool with customers.
Regarding the innovation of Bic Camera using ESL, Mr. Tanaka expresses his ambition as follows.
In August 2020, the introduction of all branches was completed and stable operation was too. But, there is still a long way to go in terms of using ESL more effectively as well as focusing on new projects more than now. As ESL and key systems are linked and information is shared in real time, many ideas for using ESL are still coming up in each store or department. By actively introducing these new ideas and proposals, we will evolve our company into an independent next-generation store.
In the future, in addition to efficient store management, I would like to further enhance the customer’s purchasing experience as a “purchasing agent” for customers, and strengthen the provision of a system that allows them to enjoy and be more satisfied with their actual stores.