Trend Accelerator Corona II: Digital Retail
Has the time finally come for retailer to move into exclusively online shops? Or would it be better to incorporate digital elements into the store? Bernd Albl, Managing Director umdasch Digital Retail, reports in this interview on digital trends and which investments at the POS will make sense now and in the future.
Mr Albl, do customers still dare to use a touchscreen?
Digital touchpoints are still relevant today – and will remain so in future. The current trend is towards “contactless” transactions, for example through speech and gesture-controlled applications. These are exciting developments, but not necessarily relevant for scalable day-to-day business. In my opinion, what is much more interesting is when customers use their own smartphones to control the digital touchpoints by means of an app. This brings additional added value through a customer approach that can be targeted even more precisely – both for the retailer and for the customer.
Are there still retailers who are happy to make investments?
The willingness to invest still exists, even though the priorities have shifted.Technological solutions for process optimisation are very popular at the moment. One red-hot theme is the subject of a reduction in the rate of value-added tax in order to support retailers. A quick reaction to new prices at the touch of a button can be carried out throughout all the branches with Electronic Shelf Labeling (ESL). For customers like DÄNISCHES BETTENLAGER, whose branches we have been changing over to ESL for the past eighteen months, all that does not present a problem.
And then there are the retailers who are banking on digital investments in line with the spirit of the times, like customer flow management, for example.
Why should retailers be investing in digital customer flow management?
In fact, these are solutions which can be used sustainably in the long term. On the one hand, Customer Tracking enables the generation of valuable data which conforms with DSVGO (General Data Protection Regulation GDPR). A more precise study of visitor statistics is currently very important and a good reason to jump on the bandwagon with an introductory solution. In addition, data relating to the demography of the customers, their age or gender, can also serve the focused use of in-store technologies: for example, in that Digital Signage content based on the target group concerned is transmitted within the store.
Are there further main areas of focus which retailers are concerned with at the moment?
Digital Signage solutions are very popular at the moment when they introduce flexibility into communication – wherever content needs to be rapidly adaptable. We chose the right direction in which to develop with our content creation experts at umdasch Seen Media by acquiring the company last year. Integral digital concepts are at a premium just now. We can devise all the trades involved as a “one-stop shop” even in the planning phase through the close connections with the umdasch experts in the fields of Retail Architecture, shopfitting and digital solutions. Thus we can develop together with our retail customers a consistent and gapless customer experience at the Point of Sale.
You mentioned customer experience – what do people really want to experience at the POS today?
After months of house arrest we now all long for experiences at the POS. Many of us have learned that we can acquire all the items we need from home at the touch of a button. When we go out to visit bricks-and-mortar shops, our aspirations are very different: we want a customer experience.
Our most recent projects demonstrate how we can satisfy this need in a variety of ways. For example, the legero Shoemakers outlet in Graz (Austria) shows how you can experience and learn about the products in a playful manner through lift and learn technology; artfully arranged screens support the trendy atmosphere of the shop with targeted, dynamically designed content.
Not far away is the new home appliance store of the famous Bosch brand, for which we created an integral content concept for the recording process, in addition to the shopfitting and the digital solutions. Such experiences, which are adapted individually to the brand messages concerned, definitely contribute to the congenial atmosphere and the incentive to purchase. Today, however, we also need to convey a feeling of safety which customers can then experience within the stores. With all concepts it is currently a question of taking this into account, for example through hygiene solutions like those offered by umdasch and by means of topical content on the screens. And last but not least there are the subjects of environmental protection and sustainability which continue to be of great important for retailers.
You can read next week in the third part of our information series “Trend Accelerator Corona” about the role that sustainability plays in the retail sector beyond the digital world and what retailers can currently do in this field!
In our series “Trend Accelerator Corona” we show the influence which the developments of recent months will have in the long term on a variety of aspects of the retail sector. Last week Silvio Kirchmair, CEO umdasch The Store Makers, spoke about the New Normality.