EuroShop 2020

Revealing innovative retail technologies at EuroShop 2020

The world’s no 1 Retail Trade Fair – EuroShop has recently closed its doors, after a five days retail design innovation and cutting-edge digitalization solutions display in Düsseldorf, Germany.

2.300 exhibitors from over 60 countries showcased the latest technology innovations for the retail sector, from green hangers and cards to AI-based scanners for retailers’ food court optimization.

Smart ID top retail experts, Elena Ghinea and Gabriel Georgescu, took the pulse of this year’s trendsetting retail trade fair EuroShop.

They were also watching for more connections and ideas on how to help Romanian retail players transform their businesses in the long run, through digitalization.

We’re following their steps and provide you the details on some of the areas where the future of retail is already happening, backed by industry leaders such as Avery Berkel, NCR, or Ses-Imagotag.

Taking in-store transformation to the next level

Amongst this years’ exhibitors, we find NCR, one of Smart ID traditional partners. ARS is their leading-edge point of sale solution purpose-built for global, multiformat retailers.

The advanced Point-of-Sale software, independent from any operating system, captures attention through its robust, resilient, and feature-rich construction. And the flexibility of its POS functionalities is a guarantee of a protected investment.

A single ARS is used for multiple types of clients, in multiformat markets and is managed by the same server. Is also supports the growing necessity of blending offline and online sales operations, with a sharp analysis of customer trends. When brought together, these details add up to lowered maintenance and support costs and increased ROI.

Another novelty in the NCR portfolio that we were glad to see at EuroShop 2020 is SmartAssist. The intelligent video item tracking system that helps customers and employees, by scanning and recognizing the real need for human intervention in the self-checkout process.

NCR SmartAssist uses real-time video analysis and intelligent object recognition of non-scanned items. Therefore, personal objects don’t trigger false alarms during self-checkout, with significant benefits in theft risk resolution.

The system also notifies shop assistants immediately in case of product substitution, ensuring that each case is addressed and solved on the spot.

SmartAssist allows retailers to adjust security levels in peak hours for checkout time optimization. By tuning the existing weight security system, NCR SmartAssist is particularly useful as a secondary system for monitoring self-checkout transactions, like the ones enabled by NCRs FastLane SelfServ™ Checkout solution. Thus, it’s easier to create faster and better shopping experiences.

Edge virtualization technology for intelligent retailers

It’s not cloud-based, and it’s not a traditional software either. It’s the retail edge software suite developed by Zynstra, NCR’s most recent acquisition, offering high-grade customer and employee experiences.

NCR is thus extending its Software Defined Stores concept that can cut deployment time by up to 90%, thanks to virtualization. The specific virtualizations include store, POS, mobile POS Tablet, Kiosk, Self-Checkout, and Enhanced PCI-DSS Compliance.

Reviving the store shelves with revolutionary price tags

There’s no doubt that IoT disrupted the retail sector. One of the most performant uses of IoT points directly to the store shelves, where customers look for prices and product information.

Ses-Imagotag has found a creative solution to this problem, with its groundbreaking Electronic shelf labels (ESL). The ESL is, in fact, a micro web page, easily integrated with any in-store existing pricing system.

The electronic shelf labels, using wireless communication, are a powerful tool for retailers that want accurate pricing displayed, as well as omnichannel integration for superior customer experience.

And since we’re talking experience, we have to mention VUSION Rail. The new, interactive, Full High Definition screens enhance the in-store shopper experience and optimize store operations.

In the search for sustainability in the retail sector

The climate worrying evolution is a concern for every business, but in retail, where customer-facing operations are a majority, it’s a priority.

And it’s one of the reasons behind Avery Berkel‘s latest innovations that include our favorite “Zero Waste” scales.

But what makes these scales so unique, you might wonder? They are designed for retailers that wish to align with customer values, such as improved environmental awareness, reduced waste, pay for what you need, and more control over shopping choices.

Consequently, businesses can engage communities and provide an impressive retail theatre while meeting their Corporate Social Responsibility goals.

The Xs scales range is also perfect for stores looking for queue avoidance solutions. Customers love these bright-screen scales, with cash drawers and barcode scanners, that perform two operations in one step. Meanwhile, stores can provide a faster service and build brand trust at the same time.

Lightweight, versatile wearable scanner

We couldn’t have missed Zebra‘s stand this year, either. They’re already a preferred choice in the retail sector when it comes to productivity wearables.

The newest addition to their range of ring scanners, the tiny, versatile RS5100, is a best friend to employees. Featuring point-and-shoot simplicity scanning, it aids employees for improved inventory management and on-shelf availability of products.

Moreover, for high-volume operations or fast-moving environments, the RS5100 ring scanner can be paired with any other Zebra mobile device for seamless scanning, labeling, and printing.

 If you’re looking for a specific insight from this year’s EuroShop retail trade fair, ask away!

Our expert colleagues Elena Ghinea and Gabriel Georgescu, are happy to offer competent answers.

Zebra SmartSight - Retail Robot

Retail trends for 2020 as seen through the lens of NRF 2020 Vision. What it will take for retailers to succeed

We’re only two weeks into the anticipated 2020 and the rush for new ideas in the retail sector has already begun. The U.S. is paving the way, yet again, with the NRF 2020 Vision, National Retail Federations’ annual conference in New York City.

As expected, artificial intelligence augmented reality and other robotics innovations dedicated to the retail sector have dominated the event and news headlines. But amid that, there’s something more interesting going on: a growing focus on retailers’ employee experience, equalizing the customer journey.

Our colleagues, Daniel Boangiu and Gabriel Georgescu, captured a few of the big ideas from this year’s NRF 2020 Vision that are most likely to change retail businesses all over the world.

We have entered a “technology intense era” for retailers

In it’s opening note for the NRF 2020 Vision show, Microsoft’s CEO, Satya Nadella underlined once again the importance of technology adoption in the retail sector.

“Every retailer will need to build their own tech intensity,” says Nadella, who’s stressing on how important it is for each retailer to find their own way when it comes to the digitization of stores and supply chains.

There’s plenty of options out there, for retailers of all sizes.

The buzz this year was Zebra’s new SmartSight, a robot that can scan shelves and report stock availability back to human associates. The robot uses Zebra’s EMA50 mobile automation technology, resulting in a combination of computer vision, machine learning, and workflow automation which is said to increase available inventory by 95%.

From the human workers’ point of view, it will free up to 65 hours of manual inventory per week. This time can be instead invested by employees in the direct connection to shoppers, an aspect which has gained more ground in the past years, especially for physical stores.

“Leveraging Zebra’s deep retail experience and market leadership over the last 50 years, SmartSight provides brick and mortar retailers a performance edge by autonomously prescribing corrective actions to associates based on what is happening at the shelf while also freeing up more of their time to focus on providing the best service to shoppers,” said Joe White, Senior Vice President and General Manager of Enterprise Mobile Computing, Zebra Technologies.

In the US only, 10,000 SmartSight robots will start operating in Office Depot stores, according to Zebra’s announcement. The cooperation between the two companies is much bigger though.

Office Depot has also adopted Zebra’s AR technology designed for warehouse management. The head-mounted display can make life a lot easier for mobile workers, as well as for companies struggling with employee onboarding and warehouse operations optimization.

Retailers are giving more power and intelligence to their employees

Staying on the same note, NRF 2020 was more than usual about people, customers and employees alike. In the U.S., Walmart is the biggest employer, with 2.2 million workers, and this is also a reality on the Romanian market, with Profi and Kaufland taking the lead in recent employment rankings.

With major employee retention and training problems, retailers are forced to reconsider their position. It’s not all about the pay, it’s also about a better job. Or, as John Furner, Walmart’s new CEO said in its NRF 2020 session, entitled “Why Retail Jobs Can Be Good Jobs”, it’s “a matter of giving the people the path and the ability to learn, train and develop”.

Simply put, for retailers to grow, they need to foster their human assets too. The payment is still a decisive factor, but it won’t solve retention. And that’s where technology can make a difference.

“The jobs are changing. I was in a Walmart store a few weeks ago that has this wonderful store pickup business in grocery click-and-collect. There are over 60 people in that department. Five years ago, that wasn’t a job that existed”, Furner added.

Innovations like Zebra’s smart glasses, self-checkout or queue busting are meant to assist the retail sector employees to do their jobs better, faster and with more satisfaction.

The software options for supermarkets have also evolved immensely, with mobility and interaction in focus. See for example NCR, who’s been named leading POS (point-of-sale) software provider in the world in the RBR Global POS Software 2019 study. Also present in the retailers Big Show in New York, was NCR’s Senior Vice President and General Manager Global Retail, David Wilkinson.

“We are in a new era for retail technology and we have to look at a new cost curve for retailers. We have to change the old paradigm and become API-first, use community-sourced software, use common tools, and leverage the cloud,” said Wilkinson.

Their newest solution, NCR R10 Enterprise, is a next-generation retail store architecture that supports a retailers’ entire enterprise connecting to customers through multiple touch-points. These include POS stations, self-checkout, self-scanning, information, and other interaction kiosks, mobile commerce and e-commerce, thus taking the shopper experience and satisfaction to a whole new level.

Omni-channel is key to surviving the e-commerce revolution

The online shopping was more than once said to kill the physical stores. We’re still waiting for it to happen and chances are – if things are done right – it never will.

The solution is omnichannel. NRF Chairman Christopher Baldwin addresses this issue at NRF 2020: “Retailers are taking the lead in personalization, new technologies that will give the consumer even more power”.

More than 60% of consumers say retail innovation has improved their shopping experience, and 80% for online shoppers think so”, Baldwin said, underlining the fact that shoppers see and appreciate the retailers’ efforts.

The store aisles are the best place to learn about consumers’ behavior. A brand new shopping experience, using high-tech and well-trained employees can revive the retail business.

A way to do that is the electronic labels, yet another NRF 2020 star after SES-imagotag, the global leader in Electronic Shelf Labels (ESLs) and digital solutions for physical retail, announced it will do the biggest rollout of ESLs in all stores for a top US retailer.

The Red Dot awarded VUSION aims at resolving retailers’ efficiency problems, like pricing automation and accuracy, product geolocation and automatic stockout detection. The real benefits are seen in the customer experience.

Its unique technology allows shoppers to get connected to products on shelves in a new way, as well as collect more information directly in-store. And with its ability to combine the digital experience with mobile payment systems, the circle in the customer journey is complete.

There are other indicators that omnichannel is worth the investment. According to Adobe’s holiday shopping report, “BOPIS” (Buy online, pick up in store), grew 35 percent year over year, and the business model also knows variations.

Take Kohl’s for example. The American department store retail chain partnered with Amazon in an innovative service: buy online, return in store. While the results after launch were less than anticipated, the idea behind it was quite solid, if we judge by Amazon’s results – 2019 was their best holiday season ever.

The beauty of it all in this continuously struggling sector is that it’s dynamics embrace the change. Customers want more or everything, and they are forcing retailers to adapt. On the way, great experiences can be created by those who dare to innovate and step outside the drawn lines.

Inspired by these insights? Add a comment, ask a question or simply share these thoughts in social media to help all those interested to find more about what’s new in the retail area in 2020.

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