This is how Saturn digitizes its PoS

“Hello, I’m Paul, can I help you?” In the entrance area of ​​the Saturn market in the Ingolstadt industrial park Am Westpark, a slender, white robot rolls with friendly digital eyes in the round display to a customer. “Looking for a specific product?” The addressed customer chuckles and tells Paul that she is looking for a surround system. “Okay, so you’re looking for a solar system,” Paul replies. “Did I get that right?” The customer takes that Lapsus with humor and after some back and forth from Paul can be led into the TV department, although she does not even look for a TV – as if she could not bring her heart to simply let the servile robot stand still.

Dirk Huffert, Managing Director of Saturn in Ingolstadt, observes scenes like these almost daily since Paul has been one of his employees. “Our customers, from child to pensioner, stay with him and interact with him, some for up to half an hour,” he says. “Some people even come specifically to the store to introduce Paul to their friends.”

Digital PoS technologies

The elegant robot, a converted care robot that is constantly being further developed by the Fraunhofer Institute for Point-of-Sale (PoS) operation, is first and foremost an eye-catcher that triggers positive emotions among its customers. He is still a long way from being of real help in sales – and not only because of the rather poor speech recognition. So far, he has been able to lead customers into the various departments without colliding with shelves or people, giving hints on different products along the way. On site, he calls on request via VoIP a consultant to himself, who then takes over the customer.

“In the long term, a needs analysis is conceivable,” says Huffert. “Then Paul could tap into classic introductory questions in a conversation with the customer and thereby make a pre-selection of suitable products – and then pass this information on to a human consultant.” However, he is not supposed to replace human sales consultants, emphasizes the market leader. “Counseling is a matter of human nature.”

Paul is just one of many innovative PoS approaches that Saturn is testing in the Ingolstadt market. Some are rather unspectacular, but bring a lot in terms of efficiency, such as the electronic price tags. As a result, employees no longer have to walk through the market with scissors and paper and have more time for advice.

The smart home studio

Other initiatives overshadow Saturn’s classic sales concept. For example, the smart home studio: In one corner of the market, a cozy living room is set up, which is fully networked from the music system to the roller shutters. At the touch of a button, the customer can try out what makes a smart house from the order “party mood” or “Longer absence”. Which products are installed here, the customer learns only in the second step.

“The complex new issues are changing the way we sell,” says Huffert. “Away from the product to the solution, there is no standard sales solution here, so we’re developing it ourselves.”

Shopping experience

Another focus for the use of new PoS technologies is the topic of experience shopping. New gadgets and technologies should become tangible for the customer. For example, in the drone flight cage, visitors are allowed to take control and test the maneuverability of the small quadcopter under the guidance of an employee. In the Samsung area all current smartphones of the manufacturer are fully furnished and networked.

And four different VR glasses models can be tried live: With the Samsung Gear and a matching experience chair a virtual roller coaster awaits the customers, with the Oculus Rift or the Sony PS4 they experience the encounter with a Tyrannosaurus Rex and with the HTC Vive and a suitable controller, they can prove their skill with the virtual sword as “Fruit Ninja”.

Also in the department for white goods experience is announced, for example in the show kitchen or at the Nespresso bar. “The experience with the product is in the foreground,” says Huffert, “not necessarily the product itself.”

Of course, there is a lot going on in these adventure centers, especially on weekends. In front of the VR stations, the young people are queuing up, an employee tells us. Competent technical support is indispensable; After all, customers with VR glasses on their nose can not simply be tripped unsupervised by the market.

External partners

Nevertheless, the additional effort for the digital services and gimmicks is limited, says the market leader. “We work with many external partners who take over the maintenance of the equipment – partly by remote maintenance,” says Huffert. “It’s all about a good and tight organization.” And he also answers the same question asked by all his colleagues who come to Ingolstadt to see Saturn’s own showroom for PoS technologies: “In relation to sales, we do not have significantly more employees than other markets Given the emotions that trigger our digitization issues at the customer, the cost-benefit effort is definitely right. “

This is how Saturn digitizes its PoS

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