Interview: Digital Consulting in the new
umdasch Innovation Hub Duisburg
Online, offline, no-line: In the new umdasch Innovation Hub in Duisburg, store concepts are being rethought – holistically: The line between digital and analog becomes blurred to form a common whole. Stefan Knoke – General Manager of umdasch Digital Retail – talks about the interaction between digital experts and designers at umdasch, who work side by side in the new Innovation Hub in Duisburg.
Mr. Knoke, the Shop Consult Director Maik Drewitz recently told us a lot of interesting facts about the roadmap at umdasch Design Consulting in an interview. The experts from umdasch Digital Retail are also closely involved in the process from the very first minute. How would you describe the cooperation?
Our everyday life in the innovation hub gives a taste of what customers can expect from experience-oriented retail. Today, a store is much more than just a point of sale. It is also at least a showroom, a projection surface for gamification, a place of longing for staged snapshots of the Instagram generation. In this sense, our new office in Duisburg is also a reference project in its own right; because space was handled in such a way that it supports the flow of knowledge transfer and social exchange for the respective tasks in the best possible way. This is also the essence of the poodle with regard to the main tasks of digital solutions in retail –namely to support the retail space during sales.
How do you make this possible?
We create and integrate digital touchpoints, which are tailor-made for the corresponding target group in the shopping experience. This journey begins at the Innovation Hub in Duisburg – but also at all our other digital locations, for example in Linz, Austria, together with the customer and our colleagues from the shopfitting department. We work closely together right from the start of the planning phase. The result is a holistic and seamless customer experience.
Can you give an example of what such a holistic customer experience could look like?
No customer experience is the same as any other –because this is the only way to make it a unique experience. But there are countless ways to make shopping moments comfortable or memorable for consumers – both contribute to the experience factor. Together with the store designers, we develop a harmonious atmosphere that matches the respective brand DNA. We support our design colleagues with content we have created ourselves for digital surfaces –matching the environment, the overall concept and of course the respective target group. This goes far beyond the "screen on the wall". With interactive solutions, we encourage consumers to take a closer look at specific items, for example through playful Lift & Learn systems. If desired, we develop solutions together with our customers that present tailor-made content: whether for the target group, the weather or adapted to the respective store environment. It's all about developing exciting ideas together with the customer and using them strategically. That's why we are present at every step of the consulting process and create profitable links with digital elements.
Recently, together with our partner shopreme, we also began offering solutions that include everything from digital shopping lists to in-store navigation and self-checkout directly on the shelf. This is a forward-looking and convenient way for consumers to enjoy their shopping experience. Our sister company umdasch Group Ventures acquired a stake in shopreme a few months ago. This makes it even easier for us to rethink common retailer and customer needs and to develop them into visionary, profitable solutions.
Talking about profit: Everyone is talking about the customer experience. What other advantages do digital solutions at the point of sale offer retailers?
Process optimization is the keyword here. We are also available to the dealers in an advisory capacity and offer our own software, which enables the central management and networking of the digital touchpoints on the floor. Solutions for the customer and retailer experience often strike the same chord: For example, electronic shelf labelling (ESL), which enables daily price adjustments at the touch of a button; or the current topic of customer flow management, which can be used for advertising messages in addition to the "entrance traffic light" for visitors. With our new software, a wide variety of digital solutions that control different data sources can be efficiently networked, on the one hand to display them and on the other hand for analysis purposes.
Maik Drewitz recently told us about the successful cooperation between Store Consulting and Digital Retail at the new Globetrotter Store in Berlin. Do you have a joint favorite project?
Another store, only a five minute walk away is 11teamsports, also located in Schloßstraße in Berlin. We had the assignment to realize the "best soccer store in the world". As soon as you enter the store, you are immersed in a digital experience: Via huge LED walls player tunnels of different stadiums are indicated. When the visitor enters the store, fan chants of the respective team can be heard from the sound showers. This is a unique customer experience - for all senses. And testifies to the perfect interaction of store design and digital design from the very beginning of a project.