SBB (Swiss Federal Railways) is constantly working to improve the shopping experience at train stations. Goals here include providing travelers with shorter waiting times while shopping by using need-based, efficient personnel planning for merchant shops. SBB now integrates shop partners into business processes and enables merchants to analyze sales and frequency data, which makes it possible to infer forecasts and compute KPIs.
In the past, traveler volume was measured at various counting points at the train stations. While that data did provide general information on the flow of passers-by, it was impossible to infer specific frequency data for the individual shops. Moreover, the data was not accessible to station merchants. The majority of SBB Real Estate’s business customers pay rent based on sale volume. The monthly sales reports were usually realized via postal mail or e-mail, which was then manually entered into the SAP core system by SBB employees. No uniform digital channel was available for this process, which meant it required a lot of coordination and ate up a great deal of time for the merchants.
The Merchant Cockpit jointly developed by SBB’s “Digitalization Management” program and Q_PERIOR is deployed at select train stations all over Switzerland. We believe it to be the only service of its kind.
The automated frequency measurement system that was already in place has now been enhanced to measure visitor frequency per shop. That data feeds directly into the new Merchant Cockpit. There, merchants can see information like visitor frequency charts for their shops broken down for certain times of a specific day, week, or month. In addition to current figures, both the preceding year’s figures and forecast values are provided so certain situations can be recognized, like when a higher volume of customers is to be expected. In addition to visitor frequencies, the Merchant Cockpit also visualizes past sales data per shop. With this combination, a shop operator can see the degree to which sales are dependent on frequency, enabling them to anticipate peaks so they can steer personnel and inventory planning more efficiently. Moreover, depletion rates indicate sales volume attained vs. potential customers. Various data sources are needed for live and forecast data. In addition to sales data, this includes anonymized data from station sensors that register the number of people entering and exiting. All of that data is converted using mathematical algorithms and pathway models and transferred into the Merchant Cockpit to offer a wealth of information.
The first release of the Merchant Cockpit was rolled out for select pilot merchants at the stations Basel SBB, Bern, Genève Cornavin, Lucerne, and Zurich Central Station. It is being enhanced on a continual basis in alliance with the merchants to add further functionalities. Onboarding is pending for further shops.