What does ‘shopping’ mean to you? A few years ago, one predominant image might be of people hauling bags or cartloads of items out of a store, mall or market — some smiling and others not.
Today, however, e-commerce has also brought shopping into our homes and onto our devices. Physical retail stores now face the challenge of setting themselves apart from their online counterparts through experiences that offer the sort of charm that’s unique to brick-and-mortar stores.
For 36 years, the Chatuchak Weekend Market has had that sort of charm. As one of the world’s largest retail venues of its kind, Chatuchak welcomes more than 200,000 visitors per day. It houses thousands of stores across its 27 zones, each featuring a web of walkways that can lead you to everything from everyday clothing to one-of-a-kind craftworks.
Taking Chatuchak to the cloud
Last year, Digital Ventures – a FinTech subsidiary of Siam Commercial Bank – had an idea. They decided to combine the world-renowned charms of Chatuchak with the digital conveniences of online shopping, so shoppers could get the best of both worlds. It’s been accomplished through a new platform that copes with the market’s massive traffic spikes on weekends while also providing visitors with relevant, impactful information that aids their offline experiences.
“E-commerce platforms have transformed the traditional retail landscape in Thailand and around the world,” said Orapong Thien-Ngern, Chief Executive Officer, Digital Ventures. “Small and medium-sized enterprises stand to benefit greatly from this process of digital transformation. However, there remains a large number of SMEs who are unable to take full advantage of these technological advances.”
Digital Ventures turned to the Microsoft Azure cloud platform to address this gap in digital capabilities. The result was the Chatuchak Guide app – a comprehensive cloud-powered retail solution that enhances the massive weekend market with support for real-time, on-foot navigational guidance, promotional offers of various scales, and upcoming e-payment integration.
Visitors to the market can search the app’s cloud-driven database, which features thousands of merchants sorted by both name and category as well as top items from each store. Shoppers can mark these stores as they prepare to complete their Chatuchak wishlist, leave reviews of their favorite merchants and items, and conveniently find their way inside the maze-like footpaths with the help of geomagnetic indoor navigation technology.
From 0 to 100 at the speed of cloud
To bring Chatuchak Guide to life, Digital Ventures turned to the Microsoft Cloud. The Azure cloud platform gave the development team an effective springboard for fast development, while its exceptional scalability meant that the app could easily handle the market’s weekends-only workload pattern without requiring outsized investment on infrastructure that would only stay idle on weekdays.
“From start to finish, Chatuchak Guide’s development took only 2-3 months,” Orapong added. “This level of speed and adaptability is the reason why we decided that the cloud is the way to go right from the start of the project.”
Digital Ventures’ intention now is to build upon the success of Chatuchak Guide’s launch – both within the app itself with more features, more stores, and more deals, and beyond the app with an extension of the vision into other industries.
Dhanawat Suthumpun, Managing Director, Microsoft (Thailand) Limited, said, “With a trusted cloud, organizations can accomplish the double objectives of optimizing investment and increasing outcomes all at once while also opening up opportunities to create new experiences unlike anything that came before.”
“Chatuchak Guide represents the kind of innovation we want to inspire and enable with Azure – an intelligent, intuitive solution that embraces both the intelligent cloud and intelligent edge for the benefits of businesses and consumers in one go.”
Shoppers interested in the digitally-enhanced Chatuchak experience can download the app with the QR code to the right. For more on Microsoft Azure – including the best trial offer of any cloud platform – visit https://azure.microsoft.com/.