Metro Group’s Real hypermarket chain deploys IBM couponing app

ARMONK, N.Y. — Hypermarket chain Real, part of Metro Group, worked with IBM to launch a new electronic coupon system throughout its 320 German stores. This first-of-a-kind digital coupon system, developed with IBM Research scientists, enables consumers to use their mobile phones to find and redeem e-coupons as they shop in stores. It delivers a convenient and personalized service to shoppers, even if they left their paper coupons at home.

Real hypermarkets, which carry about 80,000 items, already conducts the largest coupon program in Germany through the company's "Payback" program. The retailer cites such customer loyalty programs as an important part of its business strategy. Real's coupon program enables in-store Payback members to use their mobile phones to browse online coupons as they walk through the aisles. Shoppers can choose their favorite coupons from the REAL homepage or a Payback app on their smartphones. In a maximum of 500 milliseconds, the system confirms their choice and transfers an eCoupon to the store's "3V - Value Voucher Validation" coupon system in real time. To redeem the eCoupon, customers display their Payback membership card upon check-out and the transaction is processed automatically.

"In essence, we are simplifying and improving the coupon redemption process," said Bernd Hasenbank, head of point of sale solutions at Real.

Real expects that it will be receiving several hundred thousand eCoupon queries and eCoupon redemptions per day at the cash registers of its 320 stores.

The new 3V coupon system at Real is based on existing IBM solutions at Metro Group, which are compliant with the EPC Information Services Standard (EPCIS) of EPCglobal. The system is based on IBM InfoSphere Traceability Server, a high-performance data storage device, that is able to manage and analyze large amounts of data, integrate master data systems and provide data in real-time for internal and external applications.