Scandit’s barcode scanning engine provides the core of the METRO Companion mobile app, enabling customers in-store to get all the relevant information about the product and the individual price that applies to them.
METRO, a leading specialist wholesaler and food retailer in Germany, knows its customers very well, because only commercial traders such as restaurateurs, the self-employed, or associations and institutions can shop at the company’s stores. This close relationship is also the basis of the business model: the company’s national subsidiaries give their customers individual benefits based on individual agreements: special services for example, but also discounts that result in purchase prices specific to the customer.
Until now, these individual prices were not visible right away when shopping in the stores, because – even now – the shelf labels only show the current product retail prices without discounts. If customers did not have their respective buying terms on hand for reference, they did not see their savings compared to the retail prices on the shelf until they went to pay at checkout. Again and again, customers expressed their preference to be able to see the prices that applied to them in real time as they shop at the store. “If we make the individual customer’s price visible, this means we can make a more attractive offer to them,” stresses Jörg Decker, Product Owner for Mobile Commerce at METRONOM, the tech unit of METRO AG.
The wholesaler and food retailer has finally realized the goal of making individual prices visible with the METRO Companion App, or more precisely with the Mobile Computer Vision and Augmented Reality (AR) technology included in the Barcode Scanner SDK from Scandit. The core of this barcode scanning solution is the scan engine. One outstanding feature is the MatrixScan function that allows customers not only to read and decode several barcodes at once, but also to supplement the result of the scan with additional product information using the AR functions.
Fast and reliable barcode capture
Alongside the innovation of the Scandit MatrixScan and the visualization using AR technology, according to Decker the ease of use, reliability, and speed of barcode scanning also played a decisive role in choosing the solution from Scandit. “Scandit’s barcode reader technology recognizes barcodes from any angle. The engine achieves a consistently high level of performance even under adverse conditions, such as poor lighting and light reflections,” he emphasizes.
The barcode scanning and AR function are included in the METRO Companion App, the mobile app that was developed by METRO itself. The app gives customers real-time relevant information about products, prices, and availability, as well as special offers and top deals.
Personal information and personal prices
Once they have scanned a product barcode on a shelf, users receive their personal price and see how much they are saving at the same time. By combining digital and physical worlds, which the Scandit Mobile Computer Vision technology enables, customers benefit from a richer and more attractive retail shopping experience. “Customers using the app have a better level of knowledge at the time of their decision to buy,” Decker explains. “They feel appealed to and looked after personally.” This meets METRO’s objective, because, as Decker says, “Displaying the individual product prices is a very special service we provide for our customers.”
Using the barcode scanning solution, customers are not only given their individual price information; they can also display the total value of their shopping basket at any time. The solution provides them with palpably better customer service.
Customers can also use the app to generate a shopping list at an early stage. For example, at their places of business restaurateurs can scan the barcodes for products they need when stocks are running low. They then go to the nearest METRO store and simply work down the list.
The METRO app optimizes the customer experience
Managers at METRO promise significant benefits as a result of the solution. An improved customer experience will also have an impact in the form of higher customer satisfaction and customer loyalty. In this context, METRO is creating outstanding conditions for winning new customers.
After the successful conclusion of the pilot phase, METRO plans to roll out the solution in several METRO countries in 2019. It can be used on iOS and Android devices and, following extensive tests, it is completely reliable even on older smartphones with low-end cameras.