September 4, 2019

Smart Retail – prepared for the future thanks to intelligent tech infrastructure

The stationary trade of the future leaves nothing to chance. Data-driven store optimization through the use of smart building technology is increasingly becoming the inescapable reality of the retail trade in order to remain profitable in the long term.

Smart Retail – prepared for the future thanks to intelligent tech infrastructure

The stationary trade of the future leaves nothing to chance. Data-driven store optimization through the use of smart building technology is increasingly becoming the inescapable reality of the retail trade in order to remain profitable in the long term.

The networked store forms the basis of the smart branch, which allows the company to respond optimally to customer needs. With the help of sensors, WLan, cameras and Co. as well as corresponding data analytics software, customer data can be permanently collected, analyzed and evaluated. According to a Deloitte survey, the worldwide number of Internet-of-Things (IoT) sensors in the commercial real estate sector has risen continuously from 71 to 790 million over the past 4 years.

Technology improves visitor flow and increases time spent in stores

By analyzing motion profiles, the business layout can be optimized, which in turn leads to a maximization of sales. According to a study by the EHI Retail Institute, in which 44 of the most important chain stores in Germany were surveyed, 23% already track and evaluate customer routes in stores and a further 36% plan to implement them in the next two years. So-called heat-map analyses enable the targeted design of the store and the intelligent orientation of the products. After adjustments to the product placement, the flow of visitors and the visitor experience will improve and the length of stay in the stores will be extended.

The right light, at the right time, in the right place. Human-Centric-Lighting (HCL) can also increase the time spent in the store, and according to a study conducted by Oktalite in two Edeka stores over a period of 10 months, the use of HCL increased sales in all areas by almost 17%. Not only the optimal illumination of products and the resulting higher sales figures play an important role, but also the productivity increase and friendliness of the employees through individually improved lighting quality. Last but not least, visitors prefer the HCL market due to its positive atmosphere and particularly good service.

In addition to the use of intelligent lighting technology, other areas behind the shop scenes can also be sustainably optimised by a smart networked building. In the warehouse, for example, orders can be automatically triggered and supply chains optimised on the basis of evaluated customer analyses and cash register data.

Interaction between customers and employees can be optimized with smartengine

Studies have also shown that navigation in a store helps to increase the purchasing quota. 34% of the retailers surveyed in the EHI study are already planning or using the offer to enable in-store navigation for customers via a smartphone. These solutions not only improve the customer’s shopping experience, but also visitor frequency and conversion rates, creating a powerful shopping environment.

In addition, the interaction between customers and employees can be optimized. The analysis of customer data enables employees to have a better and more individual consultation, which potentially leads to an increase in the sales ratio. In addition to the increase in performance thanks to individual customer advice, a look at the cost side of the store also plays a major role.

Thus, the space can be operated optimally and efficiently, e.g. by using sensor technology, temperature, air quality and the actual use of space are recorded and forwarded directly to the control system for regulation.

According to a survey by ROM Technik, depending on the energy price, a 10,000 m² office can save between 27,000 € – 39,000 € in operating costs and approx. 86 t CO2 emissions per year through the intelligent operation of a building.

The smartengine technology gives real estate “sensory organs” and becomes the nervous system for buildings

The extent to which the development and use of smart retail technologies will affect the profitability, competitiveness and flexibility of the retail sector will soon become apparent. The fact is that digitization always means linking areas and breaking closed cycles. Applied to the retail sector, this means systematically linking online trading with the stationary business; attracting customers both to the stores and to the online platforms, and exploiting mutual synergies to re-form and strengthen the sector. It is also certain that the number of possibilities and technologies for the continuous optimization of retail in the areas in front of and behind the counter, in service and logistics, as well as for the customer experience are gigantic and have great potential. Their commitment is inevitable for those who want to remain competitive.

In order to cut a piece of the cake in the future, retailers must adapt their business model today, be open to change, and use smart retail technologies to make the necessary changes.

The basis that enables the use cases of a Smart Store described above lies in the tech infrastructure of wtec GmbH.

The smartengine it produces offers a multifunctional and finely meshed network of sensors that are coupled to luminaires and supplied with direct current via simple data cables. As highly sensitive “sensory organs” of real estate, these sensors provide owners, operators, tenants and users with historical and real-time information of unparalleled quality and maximum availability. Based on this data, numerous applications for building optimisation are possible in addition to intelligent lighting control. For example, analyses of space occupancy or use-dependent control of building technology with potential savings of up to 40% of incidental costs. Via its open interface (API, BACNet), smartengine can make data available to other applications and to building technology, thus becoming the “central nervous system” for the intelligent building. At the same time, the technology meets the highest data protection and security requirements and stores data locally only.

Already today, many of the possibilities mentioned above, in particular motion analysis, HCL as well as the saving of operating costs of almost 40% could be realized by a smartengine. For example, one of the largest owner-managed REWE stores in the Rhine-Main region has made many of these possibilities come true in order to position itself at the forefront of innovation in offline trading.

Click here for more information and tangible use cases.