EuroShop 2017, a fair offering inspiration to the retail business, took place in Düsseldorf, Germany, at the beginning of March and introduced the newest trends in the field, presented innovative products and future solutions. Hansab’s sales and marketing director Rainer Saaron provides an overview of the trends overtaking Europe that are also reaching Estonian commerce in the near future.
The fair focused on seven dimensions of the retail business:
- POP Marketing that covers all visual attractors such as internal and external screens and signs;
- Expo & Event Marketing, i.e. the set-up of presentation displays and brand communication;
- Retail Technology, in other words software, technology of the point of sales, mobile solutions, sales in electronic channels, payment solutions;
- Lighting covers all possible lighting solutions;
- Visual Merchandising, i.e. mannequins, window displays and store decorations;
- Shop Fitting & Store Design that covers the architecture, materials, grounds for displays and planning of the stores;
- Food Tech & Energy Management – refrigerators, cooking technologies and automation of the building.
We are hereby describing a few solutions that concern us more closely every day in more detail.
Even Smarter Self-Checkout
Walking around in our today’s shopping environment, using a random major staple goods chain as an example, we notice more and more that we seem to be serving ourselves, with the help of technology. Large steps have been taken in the field of self-checkout machines to ensure automatic operation of the machines in the future. This, however, does not mean that cash register conveyor belts disappear completely. On the contrary – these will remain.
Swedish manufacturer for store solutions ITAB introduced several innovative checkout solutions at the fair. At first glance, they appear to be conventional large cash register conveyor belts, but a “dome” has been installed where the cashier would have worked, and all products placed on the conveyor belt pass through it, are scanned and automatically identified. Whereas identification doesn’t require finding a barcode on the product, rather the smart device recognises the product based on the shape of the package, colour, weight or other properties, constantly learning and updating its database with regard to each product.
Who to pay if there is no cashier? This also has its own solutions. Self-checkout machines can also be set-up to automatically receive payments. With regard to card payments, INGENICO Group, the world’s leading manufacturer of card payment terminals, introduced payment terminals with a new design and improved functionality.
Cash hasn’t disappeared either, which is indicated by the statistics published recently by the Bank of Estonia: in 2016, the volume of cash handled in the commerce and service sector increased by as much as 21 percent. This, in turn, indicates that a regular consumer requires the option to pay for their purchases with cash even at a self-checkout machine. At the fair, GLORY Global Solutions introduced solutions where handling cash in stores no longer requires the cashier to physically come into contact with money. GLORY devices enable the customers to pay for their purchases both with coins and bills. The machine accepts the money and issues the right amount of change if necessary. Transporting cash between the checkout machine and the cash circulation system takes place with the help of closed cassettes. The store staff no longer has to prepare base cash in the morning or carry out a cash inventory at the end of the working day. It’s a safe and effective solution.
Self-service cabinets in collection points for purchases/parcels have also arrived on the retail landscape and are continuing to put pressure on the field. Manufacturers of these solutions aren’t resting on the laurels and have come up with cabinets that are fitted with refrigerating/cooling sections. Their objective is enabling the sale and transport of highly perishable goods through electronic channels. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to add ice cream for dessert in your shopping cart in an online store and then pass by the parcel terminal on your way home and pick it up?
Technology That Helps to Make Business Decisions
Electronic price tag as such isn’t at all simply what the name suggests. It’s a significantly broader concept that the manufacturers have worked hard on to develop. So, what does it consist of? The first function of the electronic price tag is to display the correct and relevant price information for the products.
A convenience function is the central management of information displayed on the price tags of the entire chain of stores, which ensures that if the sales price of the product changes, the store staff no longer has to print out new tags, cut them and place them on the products, as all this is done with a couple of pushes of a button. This means a great saving on resources for large retail chains, and so the initial need for an electronic price tag made it to realisation.
Contemporary solutions already offer additional options – for example, a store can create a store planogram based on the information sent back by the price tags in the store. The planogram enables both regular visitors to the store and the staff working at the store to find the products quicker. According to the needs of both parties, suitable applications can be created, these can be tied to loyalty customer programmes, interfaced with the information kiosk located in the store, and the merchant also has the option to map the “hottest” areas of their space, also doing the same with the “cooler” areas, where customers are walking. All the collected information enables drawing business conclusions and making decisions. Once again, it’s a solution that improves efficiency. One of the most experienced manufacturers at the fair who exhibited the best functionality is PRICER.
Today’s furnishing manufacturers have adopted virtual reality in creating the visual concept for stores. If so far we have heard VR solutions being talked about mostly in the gaming world, the technology is now also being used in visualising and configuring interior concepts. There is now the opportunity to walk around in your newly designed store and, if necessary, use the software to improve your surroundings until the final result is ready to be carried out in real life.
On the whole, several customer behaviour and feedback analysis solutions were represented at the fair. There are many manufacturers in this area, and solutions are being developed mostly with regard to additional software options and devices used for collecting respective information. The functionality of the store’s existing WiFi and surveillance cameras is widely used for collecting such data.
EuroShop 2017 certainly gave the answer to where the commerce surrounding us is heading. The focus is on improving efficiency through adopting self-service solutions and mapping customer behaviour. Attention in commerce is also heavily on involving multimedia in the form of information screens, media facades and audio systems. Versatile involvement of technology in retail business is part of the natural development of the field.