Decathlon, a leading sports retailer, is putting digital innovation at the head of their priority list to help transform their customer experience and internal efficiency. The worldwide chain has adopted an efficient IoT Entrance Monitoring solution in Belgium to make sure their stores don’t exceed the number of people recommended by health authorities during Covid times.
Decathlon’s stores in Belgium felt the need to evolve during these pandemic times to offer a safer and more gratifying customer experience. 25 of their stores out of 37 in Belgium can now detect when maximum capacity is being reached and movement maps have been developed throughout the shop, also making it possible to visualize traffic in different areas through heat maps and differentiate most used routes and even potential cross selling between departments. This automated solution is provided by Proximus, and based on its LoRaWAN network, powered by Actility.
On a display, visitors can see how many people are in the store. Some stores choose a color code and work with green, orange or red to give an overview of the busy periods of the previous week. This way the customer sees at once how busy it is at any time of the day or week. As an extra option, it is even possible to analyze how long an average store visit lasts, using Wi-Fi sensors.
A low-cost solution offering high-value advantages
The Entrance Monitoring Solution is based on the automatic monitorization of the flow of visitors to a store. Through a multidirectional IoT sensor placed at the entrance or exit of the store, connected to a LoRaWAN network, the IoT device can detect people entering or leaving, bearing in mind an authorized maximum of 600 people for every 8.000 m2 is allowed in shops in this country, and can indicate if the next customer can enter or not through a screen displayed at the entrance of the store. Without this technology, it is very difficult for large retail operators like Decathlon to know if security measures are being respected.
Decathlon now monitors the flow of visitors in store depending on a maximum authorized number that is calculated based on sales areas. Decathlon stores know that, for example, the average store visit time is 31 minutes, leading to the need to optimize the presence of employees in different areas.
This solution not only helps maintain covid risk at a minimum, but also allows large retail operators like Decathlon to know if health security measures are being respected at each store, with the option to check past data.
LoRaWAN® is a widely used wireless protocol that allows battery-operated devices to communicate with IoT applications via long-range, wireless connections, allowing longer battery life, thus lowering the cost of device ownership. LoRaWAN® is especially useful in large-scale deployments because of its availability, cost, and reach, due to its use of unlicensed spectrum, the availability of standardized, low-cost modules with long battery life. Actility provides the LoRaWAN® network server and a highly reliable and advanced IoT platform for network management – ThingPark™, already powering the vast majority (over 50) of public nationwide LoRaWAN® deployments and hundreds of companies worldwide.
The power of data
For a leading company like Decathlon, information is crucial to define their strategy, logistics, take care of their environmental responsibility, and to offer the best service to their customers.
Dealing with a high-demand industry, where new players appear constantly, generates the need in already consolidated brands to get better prepared and develop new areas of their business, like Decathlon’s latest “Click & Collect” or their previously mentioned IoT solutions.
The chain has also developed other solutions to collect different types of data through IoT sensors, like a movement detector which allows to visualize traffic in different areas of the store through heat maps. A good example of IoT being put to work for the benefit of consumers, as it allows store managers to simplify store routes, and make their site easier for their clients.
Future is already here
Decathlon is currently working on new advances for their stores in Belgium like electronic self-labeling, to simplify price changes, allowing information to be centralized, managed, and sent to digital labels in stores, or their latest DX Store, Decathlon’s concept store, which is being developed in France, and will be a mix between a boutique and a showroom where all technological innovations will be tested and improved.
Decathlon’s is just one of many examples of how brands are moving forward through the data offered by their stores and shows how this high value information can be recollected and used through minimal costs and operational changes.