Hanshow’s innovative digital store solutions and rapid expansion in the French market recently caught the attention of Forbes France. Pierre Fosseux, Vice-president of Hanshow France recently sat down with Business Inside host Jean-Marc Sylvestre for a discussion on how digitalization is shaping the future of retail.

Watch the full video (French) here and read highlights from the interview below.

(Original article Forbes France, Sep 13, 2021)

Physical stores have clearly been impacted by digital changes in the retail sector. Implemented digital solutions are designed both for the customer and the brand’s employee. What does the store of the future look like? Interview with Pierre Fosseux, Vice-president of Hanshow France, supplier of digital solutions for the retail industry.

What room is going to be left to physical stores when the retail industry is increasingly becoming digitalized?

Pierre Fosseux: Even in this digitized environment, physical shops still undoubtedly have a future. They will keep an important role by mixing proximity with the use of digital solutions. This is the challenge Hanshow wants to address through its solutions: how to re-connect the customer while minimizing the gaps between an online shopping experience adapted to new lifestyles, and offline shopping in stores.

A potential answer to address this issue is the implementation of full digital stores. What do you think of this approach?

Pierre Fosseux: Several retailers have indeed tried to implement full digital shops. Personally, I have doubts on the durability of these models if implemented at a large scale. It is not necessarily what the customer wants. We must meet their expectation and wishes. Nowadays, customers want to consume locally. Therefore, retailers need, more than ever, to communicate their product’s origin (name of the producer, geographical origin, environmental impact…). This where using digital solutions, integrated into the shops, proves to be highly relevant through the use interactive technologies.

Which kind of technologies?

Pierre Fosseux: In shops, most of the customers do their shopping with a phone in their hand. Hence the idea of using phones to provide the customer with an interactive experience via the technologies in the shop. This can be achieved by a label with an NFC chip, a screen, etc. to give to the consumer as much relevant information as possible. They will be able to check the product’s allergens, its reviews, its exact features, consult recipes… Technology should facilitate the transaction.

Yet, technology must give the retailer the means to make operating profits…

Pierre Fosseux: Absolutely, this is why, through our solutions, we provide the employee with the opportunity to optimise time-consuming tasks such as shelving. This time saving enables a reorientation towards tasks with high added value, including time to answer the customers’ requests.

These changes have an organizational impact on companies. How to take the need to lead the change into account?

Pierre Fosseux: The digital revolution doesn’t only consist of providing technological solutions. It deeply impacts the companies’ organization. Therefore, at Hanshow, we position ourselves first and foremost as consultants with the objective of integrating our solutions in order to benefit the brand’s digitalization strategy.

Do you have a pillar, what is the basis of your offer?

Pierre Fosseux: Yes, our offer is based on a dynamic price display solution. The brand is then able to provide the customer with the correct price. For the customer, there is nothing worse than going to the checkout and realizing that the price paid doesn’t match the price displayed in the aisle. On this point, digitalization will enable a wide range of services and solution. As for the employees, it means, for example, providing them with information concerning the stock they have of a product, the date of the next delivery, what is its use-by date… All of this information is available in the back office can now be shared on the electronic label.

What are your goals for the French market?

Pierre Fosseux: Hanshow is an international company founded in China in 2011. We position ourselves as a manufacturer, by limiting our subcontractors and owning our own factories, in order to manage the entire value chain from the production to the deployment of our solutions in the shops. We establish a true partnership with our customers with always the objective to improve their ROI. Sometimes, the solutions we provide are not even in our brochure. We work on tailored digital solutions for our customers. More than half of our employees are R&D engineers, which distinguishes us from our competitors. After entering the French Market with Auchan, we are now referenced by independent and franchised retailers such as Intermarché, or Système U. For more than a year now, we have truly been experiencing a rapid growth.