This Thursday (18th), Casas Bahia opened its newest megastore with technologies and innovations. The retailer’s new establishment, whose parent company is Via, which also owns Ponto (formerly Ponto Frio), has personalized service from technology “gurus”, who will offer consultancy and courses on gadgets, connectivity and even solve problems like transferring data and use features of popular apps.
Tech Gurus to Offer Electronics Consulting
Tailor-made service in technology at the new Casas Bahia megastore, on the marginal Tietê, in São Paulo, will be provided by “personal techs”. They will not be sellers, but technology “gurus” willing to assist the consumer with any queries related to devices, operating systems, application settings, among other technological issues.
The Casas Bahia megastore will have, in all, five of these gurus. One of them told the Techblog that personal techs will, for example, teach customers to use popular apps and features such as WhatsApp Pay. Furthermore, you can expect to resolve queries on how to transfer data from one device to another, including from an iOS device to Android, or vice versa. Another very common issue is how the customer sets up their Wi-Fi network — this will also be answered by the tech gurus in the new store.
If the personal tech project is “successful”, the company should increase the number of employees who clarify technology doubts, and expand this to more stores, according to the executive director of Operations, Services and Insurance at Via, Marcelo Ubriaco .
“In the first phase, the personal techs will answer questions about how to assemble devices in the connected home, Wi-Fi and how to configure applications”, said Ubriaco to Techblog. “But, after this period of tests, employees will be able to give technical courses, of about half an hour, on technology and innovation”, he added.
Robot that serves customers is the result of Via’s “laboratory”
Customers arriving at the megastore will find a virtual assistant a little bigger than usual. He’s called Guto: the Casas Bahia robot is programmed to receive whoever passes by the establishment.
Guto is able to greet users, dance, take pictures and even call a seller if necessary. In a demonstration, the robot responded to voice commands and even counted down the opening of the megastore.
Roberto Fulcherberguer, CEO of Via, said that the virtual assistant is able to interact and answer questions. These are actions that attract attention and amuse customers.
Experimentation seems to be a mantra of the new Casas Bahia store. The space, which covers 9,000 square meters, is a laboratory for Via to test new product ideas and retail solutions. All successful ideas can be replicated in other stores in the chain — more than a thousand throughout Brazil.
The megastore follows a “store in store” model. This means that several brands have small stores inside the Casas Bahia establishment: be it Samsung, which has a television stand, or even Wine, with an assortment of wines that customers can enjoy while shopping.
Some brands have spaces that provide customer experiences. This is the case of LG, which has its own mini-cinema room for customers to watch movies and series. It’s a small space, but it manages to house a family of average size.
Another space in the Casas Bahia store in partnership with a brand is Arena Gamer. In this area of the store, dedicated to video game lovers, it is possible to play games on high-powered PCs, according to Via. For older ones, the company has installed nostalgic arcade machines that can be played by four people at once.
Casas Bahia installs a GPS that finds a dream gadget
As a two-story megastore, Via was concerned with the customer’s shopping experience: the company installed a sign with a QR Code at the entrance that contains an interactive map of the building. By scanning the code, the map remains open in the device’s default browser tab.
It works like a kind of Waze or Google Maps. The customer simply enters the product or category he is looking for, and the program plots a closest route to the item. “The digital map is an initiative to unite the physical journey with technology. For now it is in the QR Code, but we plan to insert it in the Casas Bahia app in the future”, commented Marcelo Ubriaco.
Via’s Executive Director of Operations highlighted that the company is working to implement push notifications with the megastore’s GPS. This way, when the customer passes by discounted products while browsing the map, he will be informed about which items are on sale.
The megastore map also comes with a minigame: anyone who wants to can collect stickers from the company’s mascot, CB. At the end of shopping, those who collect all the cards will be able to withdraw a gift.
A problem encountered by Techblog is that, because it is a browser tab, the store’s interactive map stops working if the user changes the app. If the person changes from the browser window to, for example, WhatsApp, the GPS is unconfigured and it is necessary to scan the QR Code again. In other words, the customer must keep the map open until he finds the product or area he wants.
The QR Code is also essential in megastore purchases: most products will have a scannable code for customers. Once readers pass over the image, the person is able to check the evaluation of that item on the Casas Bahia website. When talking to a physical salesperson, this service can continue online, even when the person leaves the store.
Although the store has physical boxes, each and every seller in the megastore is equipped with a small machine and can go shopping.
Finally, one of the megastore’s novelties is security cameras capable of mapping store hot spots in real time. The data will be collected by Via so that the company can profile the customers’ purchase journey. Fulcherberguer points out that the company complied with the LGPD (General Data Protection Law) when installing the devices:
“No data captured [pelas câmeras de segurança] is individualized. It’s actually a concentrated heat map, there’s no image or profile capture of anyone. We trace the customer’s path through the store in the same way.”
“IoT is a Black Friday thermometer”, says Ubriaco
The opening of the Casas Bahia megastore arrives on the eve of Black Friday, the hottest and most important retail date of the year. To Techblog, the CEO of Via says that the date is always good for sales of televisions and cell phones, but a bet is on the sale of IoT items, which are part of the smart home.
“IoT is new for this Black. With the arrival of 5G this year and for next year, it is a sector that will increase its potential even more. The entire assortment sells well, but the highlight of recent years is undoubtedly the technology.”
Marcelo Ubriaco also stated that a good thermometer for Black Friday technology sales are purchases of connected home appliances, such as voice assistants, smart lamps and switches that turn on by command.