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The highest coffee quality combined with a digital customer journey

FamilyMart, the Japanese chain of convenience stores, has developed a digital customer experience strategy that is at the cutting edge of contemporary food service concepts. Together with coffee machine partner WMF, the corporation has designed an integrated self-service and ePayment concept for its busy outlets in Taiwan. Since the end of 2019, several fully automatic WMF 5000 S coffee machines have provided guests in two stores in Taipei with delicious specialties. The entire purchasing process takes place digitally: the customer’s espresso or other coffee of choice can be ordered via smartphone using the company’s own FamilyMart app. On arrival, a quick barcode scan at the machine is all that is needed for the beverage to be prepared. Meanwhile payment takes place in the background, completely automatically.
New payment systems and self-service solutions are prominent features of the times we live in – and nowhere is this more true than in the Asian markets. Digital applications such as Alipay and WeChat Pay are examples of the widespread use and acceptance of such systems. With over 24,000 branches worldwide and 3600 locations in Taiwan, the convenience store chain FamilyMart is an important driver of new business models. The “FamilyMart” smartphone app, for example, offers a complete shopping and service experience – from exclusive promotional offers and bonus point programmes to an intelligent store finder and a cashless payment system. But that’s not all. The recent addition of an innovative self-service concept with integrated ePayment allows the finest coffee specialities to be ordered and paid for via the app. A new development partnership with WMF Professional Coffee Machines, a long-standing coffee machine partner, marked a significant step with regard to these plans for the future. For 12 years, the Asian company has relied on the expertise of the southern German premium manufacturer to help realise its coffee concepts. Around 5000 fully automatic coffee machines reliably serve the FamilyMart stores. The WMF partner FECO Corp is responsible for local sales and service in Taiwan. At the start of the planning phase for a new “smart” C stores in October 2018, the WMF engineers began to develop an interface for the WMF 5000 S coffee machines. The requirements were clear: coffee lovers had to be able to select their desired beverage anywhere and at any time via the FamilyMart app, so that they could pick up their order in the shortest possible time at the store without any hassle, waiting in a queue, or searching for change. Furthermore, the aim was for promotional discounts and customer loyalty schemes to be incorporated into the machines, while the actual payment process had to be completely digital, without any further input from the customer.

Looking forward to that first sip of coffee just got simpler

Since the grand opening of the new FamilyMart location on 23 October, the new self-service concept has run like clockwork. The process is simple and convenient: the customer opens the beverage menu in the app and orders their favourite beverage via touch command. The order can be sent on the way or, for last-minute decisions, even right in front of the store. The app generates a unique barcode or QR code for the beverage order. On arrival in the store, a suitable cup simply has to be placed under the spout of the machine, while the relevant code is read from the smartphone by a scanner. A final confirmation message appears on the machine’s touch display and then the beverage is freshly prepared. This means guests can get their favourite coffee specialities within the shortest possible time.

Intelligent networking, simple installation

The underlying technical processes are easy to explain: every FamilyMart customer has their own account that they can top up with credit – a voucher for five cappuccinos, for example. When the coffee machine receives the data from the scanned barcode, the system verifies whether the required credit is available and charges this amount to the account in real time via the cloud-based back-end servers. Following positive confirmation, the coffee machine is enabled and the customer can confirm their desired beverage via touch – nothing else stands in the way of that delicious cappuccino flavour.

Together into the future

The recently equipped FamilyMart stores in Taipei are the forerunner of an extensive roll-out involving around 150 further epayment machines Taiwan. In close collaboration with WMF, FamilyMart will bring about lasting change within the landscape of self-service and digital payment.

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