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Interactive Wine Kiosk Wows Customers

Bacaro, a wine retailer and delicatessen at Zurich Airport, says its sales have increased since installing the system, which uses passive RFID tags to provide information regarding each selection.
By Rhea Wessel
Deroisy says he is satisfied with the system, and has noted the "wow" effect it has had on his store's shoppers. "Customers are impressed that so much information is delivered," he states, "and all their questions can be answered. I don't have a percentage, but I can say for sure that it has increased our sales."

When a customer picks up a tagged bottle and sets it on a table fitted with a reader antenna, the kiosk's screen displays information about that particular wine.

Reto Wittmer, the head of Vistasys, says his company has worked over the past eight years to design the RFID wine information system and collect data for it. Bàcaro, a test customer, was among the first retailers to employ the system. Weinkellerei Aarau and Vistasys have installed the system in other Swiss stores, which pay a small fee for the information service, based on how frequently information is called up.

The system was designed with RFID precisely for its dramatic impact, Wittmer explains, noting that "the bar code is boring." Retailers are not the only segment that benefits from the system—wine wholesalers and vintners benefit as well. The RFID system enables Weinkellerei Aarau to collect information regarding which wines are of the most interest, and which are viewed most often at the kiosk. Combined with sales data, the collected RFID data is valuable to the wholesaler, as well as to retail stores and wineries, because it can be used to target marketing campaigns and better understand customer preferences. According to Wittmer, wineries are particularly interested in understanding which wines sell at specific times of the day and on particular days of the week.

Vistasys is not yet earning a profit on the wine system, but Wittmer says he expects to achieve an ROI in the next several months, after more interactive wine systems are installed in retail outlets. The system is currently available in German, and will also be offered in English and French.

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