Colruyt Group invests in the further digitisation of its stores: all Colruyt sales employees received their own Samsung smartphone
All sales employees of Colruyt Lowest Prices received a personal smartphone for work in the past few months. We rolled out a total of 12,000 Samsung Galaxy XCover 4s devices, which will improve connectivity between co-workers, communication with our customers and enable us to work even more efficiently, tout court. An investment of 17 million euros, where Colruyt Lowest Prices takes the lead in the ambition to become an even more innovative 'connected store'. In time, we intend to equip the co-workers of all Colruyt Group store formats with such a device, which will bring the group's total number of smartphones to 16,000.
Investing in the digital future: Colruyt, the group pioneer
Buying and rolling out these Samsung smartphones, Colruyt Group further invests in the digital future. All sales employees recently received a personal smartphone at work, a personal communication device. This fits in with the group's ambition to digitise its store formats more and to evolve to "the connected store". Rollout and development started with the largest store format: Colruyt Lowest Prices. We gradually introduced about 12,000 devices there. We intend to include the group's other store formats in the years ahead, which will result in a total of 16,000 devices.
To Colruyt Lowest Prices, this is another step in digital innovation in and of stores, a path the format already took a while ago with electronic price labels, product recognition for fruit and vegetables, etc. In October 2019, we organised a project in the Colruyt store of Ninove to test the device’s user-friendliness and reliability. Late last year, we started to roll out the project with 700 devices in Colruyt stores in the Leie region. The project slowed down a little due to the coronacrisis, but all stores and their co-workers are now equipped with a device. This represents an investment of 17 million euros.
"The collaboration with Colruyt Group is a reflection of Samsung's increased investment in and dedication to the B2B market" says Pascal Bungeneers, Head of Mobile B2 at Samsung Belgium. "Samsung wants to offer every consumer an optimal experience, also in the work environment and the Galaxy XCover 4s is a fine example. The device offers the innovations of Samsung smartphones but in a solid device that can stand hard wear.
Communicating more and better, working more efficiently: in several steps
The possibilities of the device will be expanded gradually. During the first rollout, the device is used for specific tasks for which we formerly used a PDA; retrieving article information for instance.
In a second step, the co-workers will be able to chat, making contact with each other more smoothly. After that, we will include the telephone option so we can call each other and our customers. Christophe Dehandschutter, Sales Manager and active pioneer in the project for Colruyt: "We want to improve solidarity by reducing the distance between co-workers and in time with the colleagues in central services such as stock management and forecast. And our work will be easier and more efficient."
In the next phases, we will examine how to install Colruyt Group's apps (Collect&Go, MyColruyt, Xtra, SmartWithFood, etc.) making it easier for sales employees to contact customers and to show them the many possibilities of the apps. Dehandschutter: "This is a project we want to handle step by step because we (want to) learn a lot. Our ultimate goal is to create a kind of Colruyt Group App Store from which sales employees can download the apps they need."
Pascal Bungeneers, Head of Mobile B2B at Samsung Belgium, adds: "Apart from its solidity, the Galaxy XCover 4s is the ideal partner to simplify communication between Colruyt sales employees. Moreover, the Samsung Knox platform will smoothly manage all these devices and provide support for crucial aspects such as data protection."
Pioneering for the whole group
The eventual goal of this investment is to offer our customers an even better service in the stores and to work more efficiently. This project is real pioneering work for Colruyt Group: using such a device on a large scale in an industrial environment is an interesting challenge.
In this project, we are also working on the organisation to handle management of the many apps on thousands of devices efficiently and at group level. This organisation will also support rollout projects in the group's other store formats. This will require enormous tuning between services, an extremely interesting challenge for Colruyt Group.
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About Colruyt Group
Colruyt Group operates in the food and non-food distribution sector in Belgium, France and Luxembourg, with more than 600 own stores and about 580 affiliated stores. In Belgium, this includes Colruyt, OKay, Bio-Planet, Cru, Dreamland, Dreambaby, Bike Republic and the affiliated stores Spar and Spar Compact. In France, in addition to Colruyt stores, there are also affiliated Coccinelle, Coccimarket and Panier Sympa stores. The group is the majority shareholder of the chain that comprises ZEB, ZEB For Stars, The Fashion Store and PointCarré. Solucious delivers foodservice and retail products to professional customers in Belgium (hospitals, SMEs, the hospitality sector, etc.). The other activities comprise the sale of fuel in Belgium (DATS 24), print and document management solutions (Symeta Hybrid) and the production of green energy (Eoly). The group employs over 30.000 employees and recorded a EUR 9,5 billion revenue in 2019/20. Colruyt is listed on Euronext Brussels (COLR) under ISIN code BE0974256852.