Digitisation in brick-and-mortar retail

Technology Creates Holistic Shopping Experiences

Logistics optimisation and inventory management are the basic tasks – now Syspro is working on the next step in digitizing brick-and-mortar retail.

Showrooms as an alternative to large footprint warehouses?

In a retail store, inventory accuracy is a deciding factor for customer satisfaction. A sale can only be made when the requested item is available. This is a basic task that can be sustainably achieved with RFID technology, as the successful rollout with fashion retail chain Adler Modemärkte proves.

Syspro has accompanied the RFID implementation for Adler from the start. For CEO Harald Dittmar, the challenge now lies on another level: creating fullyrealised customer experiences. What sounds like a long-term vision can be deployed and used today, Harald Dittmar reports in an in-depth interview.

Harald Dittmar, CEO, Syspro, in an interview with RFID & Wireless IoT Global

Harald Dittmar
Harald Dittmar
Managing Director
Berlin, Germany
Lutz Bodenschatz
Lutz Bodenschatz
Key Account Manager
Berlin, Germany

“Classic” RFID applications are necessary

RFID technology is one of the essential building blocks when it comes to realising digitisation concepts in brick-and-mortar stores. “As has been demonstrated by countless rollouts, RFID enables a transparent supply chain from the point of origin to the point of sale. In-store processes are optimised and inventory management is made easier. Pioneers such as Adler have shown the economic viability of RFID applications. Right now, Syspro is working with another fashion retail chain on its RFID rollout.

Even though vertically integrated companies are still benefiting the most from RFID deployment, RFID also pays off for companies operating concession areas in warehouses. The time saved on stocktaking and the optimised replenishment process facilitates a short-term ROI,” Harald Dittmar reports.

Source tagging reduces the cost of handling errors

The largest factor for successful sales is found in the retail store. Only when requested products are available can they be sold. In spite of this, Harald Dittmar locates the key to sustainable economic success at the other end of the supply chain – with source tagging: “For workwear manufacturer Weitblick, a Syspro team has successfully implemented a source tagging solution. Currently, we are working on deploying source tagging technology with another retailer’s production plants in Turkey,” he reports.

“Source tagging allows the elimination of errors in logistics before they occur. The later the discovery of a supply chain error, the higher the cost of handling it. The fashion industry with its long supply chains especially suffers from errors becoming apparent weeks after they occur. Source tagging can eliminate these expensive hurdles.

“Logistics optimisation and inventory management are the basic tasks – now Syspro is working on the next step in digitizing brick-and-mortar retail” - Harald Dittmar

The next level: Holistic shopping experiences

In addition to “classic” RFID-based process optimisations in retail, Syspro is involved as a partner in projects that – simply put – aim to bring e-commerce advantages to brick-and-mortar stores. A good example would be the “24/7 Karstadt” project started in November 2017, Harald Dittmar says: “A special sales area in the Karstadt branch at Schadowstraße in Dusseldorf has been outfitted with various technologies that accompany customers during their shopping trip – and create a completely new shopping experience.

Syspro provided the RFID solution that is the basis for the project. At digital touchpoints and smart fitting room mirrors, customers receive information on product availability and matching products or accessories. A sales employee can be requested for further service via the digital interface. The first step of the project covers a rotating product portfolio from fashion, jewellery, cosmetics, travel products, and household goods. “The mechanisms of online shopping are being deployed in this project.

At the same time, it creates a low barrier of entry when it comes to privacy concerns. In comparison to an online store, registering a shopper account is not necessary. In the digitized store, customers stay largely anonymous and can request products without giving up personal data,” Harald Dittmar explains.

Showrooms as an alternative to large footprint warehouses?

Another trend enabled by the use of digital technologies, according to Harald Dittmar: small-footprint showrooms with a direct connection to the warehouse. “Presenting products in an upscale environment without overloading the shop floor with all the available products can create a more comfortable shopping experience. Customers can try on and interact with the articles they are interested in. Based on RFID, the needed size and colour can be quickly provided from storage by the sales employees.

This solution shows the broad range of options in retail today – all aimed at enabling an optimized shopping experience,” Harald Dittmar concludes.

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