As technology devices, networks, clouds, and management systems become increasingly interconnected the days where one company or digital device can stand alone as a solution for businesses have long since passed. Nowhere is this more apparent than the retail sector where networks of stores have millions of increasingly sophisticated IoT devices optimizing brick-and-mortar retail into a more digital and data-driven operation. For this to function to its full potential, the devices and networks of multiple companies must sync into a seamless technology ecosystem.

The partnership between Hanshow and Microsoft is an example of this technology ecosystem with a partnership that expands even further into co-sales and innovation.

Despite being founded just ten years ago, Hanshow has quickly grown from a local electronic shelf label provider in China to a global leader in the retail technology sector. Hanshow did not start having significant international expansion until 2016 when it struck a deal to be the exclusive provider of electronic shelf labels (ESL) to Auchan in France. This cooperation help set up further expansion in Europe, and just a few years later its business now covers over 50 countries and regions, with more than 20,000 stores across Asia Pacific, Europe, and North America.

Even during the pandemic Hanshow continued seeing triple digit growth rates. But in the rapidly evolving sector of retail technology, simply providing ESL is not enough, and Hanshow now puts a focus on providing a suite of integrated digital solutions for retailers.

As online sales continue having a profound effect on the retail industry, evolution of the physical retail store into a more efficient, engaging and convenient experience for the customer is more important than ever. At the heart of retail “digital transformation” is this more people-centric approach, providing technology that keeps shelves fully stocked, has products placed according to customer traffic flows, reduces checkout lines, ensures consistency between the price tag and the register, or provides personalized promotions.

Hanshow develops products and solutions to tackle all of these issues and more, and it has partnered with Microsoft on a range of initiatives to bring this to scale and affordability for retailers with often continent-spanning store networks.

Cooperation and co-sales with Microsoft

Hanshow has developed a SaaS based on Microsoft Azure cloud that allows for centralized management of millions of IoT devices across hundreds of stores. Such a system is already in place with retail groups such as Ahold Delhaize in Europe which now has 16 million devices, mostly ESL, being managed through one network. Previous local IT infrastructure would segment this device management across different stores, driving up financial costs while stagnating efficiency.

Retail groups such as Ahold Delhaize are looking for one system that can manage numerous store brands and locations centrally and remotely. And this is what Hanshow was able to deliver by partnering with Microsoft; a classic example of combining technology, innovation, and sales together in a business ecosystem partnership delivering benefits to both companies and the client.

And as stores expand their digitization, the partnership combining Hanshow products and solutions with Microsoft networks and computing allows for continued upgrades, new devices, and ways of collecting and analyzing data. The two companies recently partnered on a co-innovation solution as part of Microsoft’s Partner Enablement Program on an AI solution along with Sony that monitors out-of-stock shelves, sales volumes, planogram, customer traffic flows and more through.

Partner solutions like these are displayed together in Microsoft showrooms and retail expos around the world, building connections with each other’s networks and increasing the likelihood of co-sales. Benefits abound for the companies involved, but in the end it’s the consumer that benefits the most.

About Hanshow

Hanshow is a global leader in developing and manufacturing electronic shelf labels and digital store solutions. As an innovation leader in the industry, Hanshow is dedicated to offering its global customers a series of world-class customized IoT touchpoints and digital store solutions. Hanshow’s intelligence-enabled platforms and systems deliver customer-centric insights, helping retailers streamline operations and providing various solutions to support optimal pricing strategies to offer consumers a more personalized experience. Hanshow currently serves over 20,000 stores in more than 50 countries.

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