Author: Miya Knights
Store optimisation targets efficiency and experience
Store optimisation emerged as the main challenge faced by retail brands and merchants attending the annual European Central Information Systems (EuroCIS) show in Düsseldorf this week.
The sheer numbers of digital store automation solutions on show proved that increasing efficiency and enhancing productivity of key physical sales operations is top of retailer minds in this region this year.
As ecommerce continues to grow its share of total retail sales, EuroCIS exhibitors this year responded with store-based tech for retailers to both compete with online and boost their own digital and mobile efforts.
The presence of US grocery giant Kroger with its subsidiary Sunrise Technology, collocated with other partners on the Microsoft stand, was notable. It is commercialising its own store management systems development.
Sunrise Technology sales director, Dave Steiner, highlighted how the challenges retailers face today are driving Kroger’s commercial opportunity. “Retailers keep hold of their legacy technology for way too long,” he said.
But he added: “Digital transformation is a journey; it’s not something you can do overnight.”
Sunrise showcased its EDGE digital shelf display system and Microsoft cloud-based LEAF ad content management system alongside computer vision camera systems for on-shelf availability and traffic monitoring.
Retailers focus on store basics
Just as Kroger is navigating the path to digital on behalf of other retailers, it was telling that it is necessary to invest in operational enhancements in order to pave the way to transforming the customer experience.
The sheer numbers of store automation technology on display also underlined how retailers in this region remain focused on increased store efficiency. They are tackling the basics of the physical customer experience.
With electronic shelf labels, out-of-stock monitoring, people counting and modern, flexible fixed and mobile point-of-sale (POS) checkout capabilities, they can optimise basics like availability, queues and staffing levels.
Mobile scan and go systems, which featured heavily this year, can also speed transaction throughput and free staff from cashier duties to spend more time being on hand to help customers on the shop floor.
A report by 451 Group released at the show revealed 50% of retail executives thought store queues were too long. But while optimising the store improves the basic CX, they can also reinvest efficiency savings online.
A further 55% of the same 500 European retailers surveyed by the analyst firm on behalf of payments provider Adyen said they were also prioritising more digital touch points instore.
Anselm Adelmann, Head of POS Product, Adyen NV told attendees: “Retailers are starting to think about how to adopt the classic approach to customer lifetime value of ecommerce in their brick-and-mortar stores.”
Digital enhances omnichannel experience
Although store basics topped the EuroCIS agenda, the winners of the EHI’s 12th Retail Technology Awards Europe (reta)* prioritised the entire digital online-to-offline journey, via ecommerce, store and mobile.
In the Best Customer Experience category, Metro won for implementing Scandit augmented reality (AR) technology that enables customers to use their smartphones to see price information at the shelf edge.
Electronics giant MediaMarktSaturn picked up a Best Instore Solution award for its RFID-enabled scan-and-go mobile payment app by MishiPay for customers visiting its cashierless Saturn Express Innsbruck pop-up store.
Kroger won for its EDGE and LEAF ad display technology in the Best Omnichannel Solution category, alongside IKEA with its Diebold Nixdorf cloud-based ecommerce and store customer transaction infrastructure.
The three categories award three equal winners, where the last Omnichannel category winner was Tally Weijl with its SAP Omnichannel POS solution from GK Software for stores, online and a customer app.
Tally Weijl’s system offers a range of payment methods, efficient product delivery wherever they are ordered and simple handling of returned goods. It moves the retailer beyond optimisation and towards transformation.
*Note: Miya Knights is on the reta awards judging panel.