Digitalisierung Einzelhandel

RETAIL AND THE LOCKDOWN – FOCUSSED ON DIGITISATION?

Retailers faced plenty of challenges before the Corona crisis, and the situation has now become even more critical for certain segments of the retail market. Can digitisation provide a remedy here? We held a round table discussion with the retail experts from BNP Paribas Real Estate, Claudia Reischl, Olga Sieczewicz and Daniel Schuh, who report on the status quo and the future plans of textile and food retailers and restaurateurs.

Claudia Reischl
Claudia Reischl
Director Retail Advisory

On the subject of digitisation, could you first outline the status quo on the retail market?

[Claudia Reischl: Various digital technologies are employed in the textile trade. Social media are used extensively, first and foremost Instagram and influencers to attract prospective customers to a store or present products. Virtual product presentations are also growing in importance. Augmented reality, merging the virtual and real worlds, is also being introduced into many stores. This serves to offer customers virtual product presentations directly in the store, so as to help them to reach buying decisions. Delivery robots and drones are also undergoing widespread testing in the retail sector around the world.]

[Daniel Schuh: From the customer’s perspective, food retailers are not as heavily digitised as the textile trade. Barely any signs of digitisation are visible to customers in their local shops. Many grocers have online shops for their non-food products, of course, and food retailers also have a high profile in the area of social media. However, not all companies are active in the field of grocery delivery services. Rewe and Amazon Fresh are leading the way here with their delivery concepts.]

Rewe App

REWE ONLINE – from the ordering app through shopping lists to tasty recipe suggestions and exclusive online products.

Olga Sieczewicz
Olga Sieczewicz
Senior Consultant National Retail Advisory sowie F&B Specialist

Things are certainly moving there, then. What’s the picture in the catering sector?

[Olga Sieczewicz: There’s plenty happening here as well. The first thing that comes to mind is digital ordering processes between guest and restaurant and between restaurant and supplier. And digitised planning in the areas of food provisioning and kitchen organisation help to reduce waste and optimise earnings. The use of social media is also widespread in the catering sector, of course. Booking apps and other service apps are acquiring ever growing importance, too.

Is there a service app that you consider to be particularly accomplished, Ms. Sieczewicz?

[Olga Sieczewicz: The restaurant chain “The Ash”, run by the Bonn company apeiron, is really good in this area. In addition to providing guests with information on all the chain’s restaurants, the steak house operator’s app also enables customers to make reservations and place orders, and incorporates a collection and delivery system. Subway also stands out here. The system catering company has replaced its Subcard with an app. With every purchase, guests collect points by app which they can exchange for free products. In addition to exclusive content there are special offers, news, coupons and an online ordering tool.]

The Ash APP

“In the light of all the present challenges, digitisation plays a crucial role in staying transparent and “close” to guests. We are also keen to provide our guests with the latest news at all times and to make it as easy as possible for them to find a restaurant in their area, book a table or opt for delivery or contact-free curbside pickup.”

Kent Hahne
Kent Hahne
CEO & Founder, apeiron restaurant & retail management GmbH

Are there any other examples of best practice from the retail sector?

[Claudia Reischl: The past three or four years have witnessed a growing trend for shops to try out campaigns aimed at enticing customers back to their outlets by promising an unforgettable shopping experience. Coffee shops or similar are commonly installed to enhance the quality of the overall setting. The German retail market has yet to bring forth any major sensation in this area, though. The bonprix store in Hamburg is perhaps worthy of mention - it offers an app-based digital shopping experience in the store, covering the whole spectrum from finding items to paying via PayPal.]

bonprix Fashion Store Hamburg

LEARNING STORE – the shopping concept of the bonprix Fashion Connect store is subject to an ongoing optimisation process, with continual customer feedback providing important findings relating to the future face of retail.

Daniel Schuh
Daniel Schuh
Director National Retail Investment

Will Corona heighten the pressure to go digital, or are there more important priorities at present?

[Daniel Schuh: Corona is not directly placing food retailers under any increased pressure to increase their digital offerings as a means of enhancing customer experiences. The shops have remained open during Corona and turnover has been very good. It is true that more food was purchased online during the lockdown - but mainly in conurbations, as delivery services were only available there. In addition, the blanket coverage with drugstores and grocery stores throughout Germany means that high street shopping is still faster and simpler than having goods delivered, for example.]

[Claudia Reischl: In order to make a positive impact in the crisis, retailers need to keep creating special shopping experiences and combine online and off-line with aplomb, which means digitisation is a must. Online doesn’t necessarily have to be seen in competition with off-line, though – ideally, they should complement one another. There is a general wish and need among retailers to invest more in digital technologies such as big data or social media, so as to provide customers with one more reason to visit their flagship stores. After all, high street stores have one advantage over the internet – customers can touch and feel the articles. And this strength needs to be exploited.]

Will restaurant proprietors also continue to focus on digital transformation?

[Olga Sieczewicz: The crisis has once again clearly shown those who have not dragged their feet on the digitisation front to be at a clear advantage. Every restaurant proprietor now appreciates the importance of digitisation. A great deal of effort is being put into the transformation process, and the topic is accorded high priority. The catering sector’s fast-growing delivery and take-out segment, where all the processes are already online and mobile, will further reinforce this trend. The scope of functions is being broadened and user-friendliness improved.]

This article is part of Change 03

[Change] : Learn more about the third issue