According to research by the McKinsey Global Institute, European Union retailers must invest more than 230 billion euros over the next eight years to evolve to achieve sufficient omni-channel capabilities in terms of customer experience, automation, and advanced analytics. As the European example shows, the rise of omni-channel digital retail is challenging and changing the retail ecosystem worldwide due to the scale and complexity of improvements and investments that are needed. Curating a unified omni-channel customer experience is key, and it demands that stores have offline digital tools and a shopping environment that is integrated with the online connected experience.
Digital Omni-channel is Transforming Both E-commerce and Brick and Mortar Retail in Europe
The continued growth and lucrativeness of e-commerce alone will simply not be enough to keep European retailers in certain sectors, like supermarkets and grocers, profitable. In these markets, certain logistical, labor, and consumer preferences limit the timeliness and cost-effectiveness of e-commerce, so this investment must primarily be made in upgrading and transforming traditional stores to better integrate digital tools to link well with digital channels.
For these sectors and markets, brick-and-mortar stores must transform the shopping experience and operations management to serve as the complementary foundation for a frictionless omni-channel experience. Without this, retailers that are either online or offline but not fully omni-channel in their approach will not be able to maximize profit margins and may not be able to be profitable at all. In general, consumers in Europe evaluate the retailer platforms across digital experience factors such as personalization, fulfillment flexibility, informative marketing, convenience, and seamlessness.
Hanshow’s Partnerships in Europe Are Leading the Way with Low Cost, High Impact Solutions
In Europe, Hanshow helps retailers implement the technology needed at each phase of the customers’ omni-channel shopping experience. Robust long-term planning and attention to implementation detail are crucial for any retail transformation strategy. Electronic Shelf Labels (ESLs) dramatically increase efficiency for retail operations, such as inventory management and faster order picking with LED flashing functions, and can be deployed storewide. Recently, Hanshow partnered with a major Dutch retailer to execute practical changes to meet this challenge. Jumbo, the second largest supermarket chain in the Netherlands which also operates stores in Belgium, announced an exclusive partnership with global retail solutions provider Hanshow to digitally transform its network of stores. At the heart of this digital transformation with Hanshow is the adoption of over 10 million such ELSs that will save time and energy across all Jumbo stores. Hundreds of thousands of paper price tags can be saved by this partnership each year, which is also in line with Jumbo’s abiding goal of sustainability.
Hanshow ESL installed in Jumbo
Additionally, ESLs improve the customer shopping experience with centralized price updates, error-free labeling, and enhanced store appearance. Powering the systems management of this massive amount of ESLs is made possible by adopting the Hanshow SaaS solution via Microsoft Azure. Benefits for Jumbo include reducing infrastructure and server costs, and if needed, the Hanshow technical support team is capable of helping resolve technical issues much faster. Hanshow’s PriSmart ESL and IoT device management system also allows Jumbo to get the systems up and running sooner, as well as the ability to manage and update its pricing network in a faster, more secure, and more accessible way.
Earlier in 2022, Hanshow went to Europe to present its new IoT Platform All-Star, focusing on the retail industry and designed specifically to help retailers expand and upgrade their digitalization. All-Star provides one-stop IoT solutions, from IoT device management to digital operations upgrades, empowering retail customers to quickly establish IoT equipment management capabilities and be able to flexibly build business applications and integrate customized business connections to further boost the operation efficiency of smart stores. Hanshow digital retail solutions also elevate in-store customer experience, ranging over key functions of pricing management, inventory management, picking, geolocation, dynamic pricing, promotion boards, interactive marketing, digital payment, automatic monitoring patrol, and more.
Frictionless Omni-channel Allows Retailers to Reach the Largest Possible Market
For some, offline stores may not be the main feature of the omni-channel experience, but in fact, they are crucial to frictionless operations and the ability to reach the maximum number of consumers. Most Gen Z consumers don’t think in terms of channel boundaries and increasingly evaluate brands by the ability to be seamless between both online and offline. Older generations of consumers may be slower to adopt the new channels and tools but are increasingly receptive and adjust their spending patterns according to new trends. As the majority of consumers now use multiple channels to optimize their shopping experience, retailers are increasingly forced to seamlessly respond to customer demands that come through both online and offline channels simultaneously, otherwise face the risk of losing out to competitors.