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Barcelona is committed to the digitization of brick and mortar retail businesses

  • The Bcn Retail Lab project has been initiated with Beabloo implementing a pilot test at 4 businesses located in Barcelona: Flores Navarro, Barrabés, Crearte Styling and Crois Croissant Gourmet.

  •  According to Jaume Portell, CEO and co-founder of Beabloo: “The aim of this project is to connect traditional stores with the digital world and begin this technological transformation towards intelligent businesses”.

  • Beabloo has already deployed digital transformation initiatives in business premises of Europe, the United States, Latam and the Middle East to create personalized shopping experiences.

Brick and mortar retail businesses are quickly being transformed. Four benchmark businesses at Eixample de Barcelona have begun their digitization process as part of the BCN Retail Lab project, which aim is to improve the customer experience and personalize the communications that are directed at them. The company in charge of carrying out this project was Beabloo, a pioneer technology company that develops solutions aimed at making physical spaces more intelligent. This project is promoted by the City of Barcelona, CorEixample and CTecno where Beabloo was awarded a contract with international jury to begin a pilot test at 4 brick and mortar retail businesses in the city.

The businesses chosen by CorEixample were Flores Navarro, an iconic flower shop of the city for more than 65 years now; Barrabés Esquí y Montaña, a leading store worldwide that sells mountaineering and outdoor products; Crearte Styling, a comprehensive beauty salon, image workshop, hair dressing and beauty parlor with biological products; and Crois Croissant Gourmet, an Italian style coffee shop specialized in sweet and salty croissants.

These businesses meet the following criteria: they have a high influx of customers from the neighborhood, they work with popular brands, they offer proximity services that represent the environment and are unique establishments that are part of the history and identity of the neighborhood where we have been able to experiment with innovation.

In all four cases, the specific needs of each store have been assessed and a technology project has been carried out in response to their digital transformation needs. Once the first results of the project are evaluated, its scalability to other businesses will be assessed.

Minerva; artificial intelligence at the service of the costumer and the manager

Specifically, at Flores Navarro and Crois Croissant Gourmet, Minerva has been installed, which is an artificial intelligence system that manages the different solutions and learns to personalize the customer’s experience as well as provide daily forecasts and other indicators to business managers.

 “All the information provided by Minerva can be used as a guide to decide what to do at each moment in terms of the internal management of the business. We believe this is a very interesting tool because it meets the objective of accompanying us while it is capable of predicting actions”, says Sylvia Navarro, manager of Flores Navarro.

Another one of the solutions that has been installed is Interaction Care, for the purpose of monitoring and controlling the occupancy and this way minimize COVID-19 risky interactions. Additionally, digital signs with audience analytics have been installed to show content adapted to the customer’s demographic profile, while always respecting their privacy. On the other hand, another type of technology that has been deployed is being used to understand the path traveled by customers inside the store with the aim of optimizing how the space is arranged and improve the service.

The manager of Crois Croissant, Jacopo Talanta, explains: “the Customer Satisfaction Survey gets the customer’s attention and the Digital Signage is an attractive tool for advertising additional products that are apparently offered at Crois. People ask about more products and services”.

Regarding Barrabés Esquí y Montaña, on the one hand, a video wall solution was implemented to enable workers to access information about the product from different areas of the store without needing to leave their work area, and also, interactive digital signage was implemented to bring together the online and offline universe of Barrabés.

Heat maps help us interpret why customers pass by some areas of the store more often than others as well as determine how long customers spend at each location inside the store. Heat maps provide us with very useful information in terms of determining the most effective areas for placing the product that we sell”, says Juan Carlos Gómez, manager of Barrabés. “Each day we obtain data and analyze it to determine what campaigns and promotions are more effective”.

QR Codes have also been implemented in the customer satisfaction measuring system, which customers can use to provide their opinion regarding their shopping experience at the store and post it on the main online search engine.

At Crearte Styling, in addition to digital signage built-in to the furniture as well as audience analysis and occupancy control systems, a Lift&Learn technology system has also been installed that allows to quickly check information about a product through an interactive shelf. A customer satisfaction collection system is also available as well as interactive devices in the waiting areas.

Guillermo García, co-owner of Crearte Styling believes the installation of Beabloo solutions is already providing excellent results: “From the start, customer opinions and reactions have been very positive, due to the quality of the technology. The screens are impressive and capture the customer’s attention. The interaction begins in the waiting room, where the screens provide personalized advice to customers and at the end of their shopping experience, we see that the degree of satisfaction is very positive”.

“The aim of this project was to connect traditional stores with the digital world and begin this technological transformation towards intelligent businesses: in retail businesses of the future, the purchasing process must be a pleasant experience”, explains Jaume Portell, CEO and co-founder of Beabloo.

Digital businesses network

The forecast is that the BCN Retail Lab will expand to 164 businesses in the surrounding area, with the goal of reaching one million people. Currently, the capital city of Catalonia has 25,000 businesses associated with commercial areas; therefore, the aim is to scale it to other districts of Barcelona and revolutionize the traditional commerce of the city.

Another aim is to interconnect and cross-promote businesses by deploying a new digital business network at the neighborhood of l’Eixample. July will be the month when we assess the economic impact of the installation of these digital solutions at businesses and analyze the results in terms of customer experiences.