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As the calls from experts for a digitisation offensive in brick-and-mortar retailing become ever louder, Serviceplan has responded with a unique project. Collaborating with leading international shopfitting specialist, the Vitrashop Group, and technology partners Cancom, Cisco and NEC, it has realised a 'weShop' in Munich's House of Communication. The intelligent showroom, spanning around 50 square metres, shows how real and virtual worlds can come together in an innovative and harmonious fashion.

Munich, 8 October 2014 — The German Retail Federation (HDE) is forecasting total turnover of 457 billion euros for 2014; compared with 2013, it is predicting that online trade will have increased by 17 percent, achieving a share of nine percent. A rise in the e-commerce share to around 30 percent is expected by 2020. For years now, many areas of German brick-and-mortar retailing have been facing falling customer numbers, while online shopping has been booming. What is more, those high street stores that are experiencing success are multi-channel retailers. It is not enough, though, to just install a webshop with no clear concept – what is needed is a change to the business model that provides for a smart way of networking online and offline.

Acting according to the knowledge that these days the customer operates increasingly digitally using several channels and that retailers must respond to this change in behaviour, the Serviceplan Group, Europe's largest independent communications agency, has joined forces with the Vitrashop Group to realise the project Shopping2020. At the location of Serviceplan's head office in Munich, an intelligent showroom, spanning around 50 square metres, has been built which shows for the first time how the advantages of online and offline can be combined to create a point of sale that is fit for the future. Ronald Focken, Managing Director of the Serviceplan Group, explains: “We don't want to just talk about it, but to actually show how brick-and-mortar retailing can respond to the competition from e-commerce.” What is unique about the showroom created is the orchestration of all elements – customisable sales pitches using beacon technology, style advice by video conference (“call an expert”), parallel online shopping on shop tablets for products not available in store, home delivery, product recognition using RFID technology and showcasing in the two-way mirror in the changing room. Ronald Focken adds: “As an agency we know that today's customer shops with an omni-channel approach. So, the response to this behaviour must also be omni-channel. We also have to respect the communication habits of the consumer. We can achieve this with solutions such as real-time marketing, i.e. broadcasting content to suit a particular occasion, and with customised targeting using, say, digital store cards, through integrated promotional measures that network all channels and by showcasing brands through storytelling, for example.”

Strong partners for Shopping2020

As a leading communications agency, the Serviceplan Group was able to attract leading partners for the Shopping2020 project in every area: Visplay, Ansorg and Vizona, companies within the Vitrashop Group, are among the most renowned experts in Europe in the areas of shopfitting and light technology, and they have created, with the weShop, a showroom that makes innovative retail design both vivid and tangible.

 

Hanns-Peter Cohn, Head of Shop Segment within the Vitrashop Group, explains: “The integration of online media into brick-and-mortar stores is a preoccupation for all sectors, encouraging the increasing use of digital elements as instruments of design and advice. The companies within the Vitrashop Group have responded to these changes in recent years, and with electrified modular goods carrier systems and wirelessly operated lighting systems they have created the foundations for a digitised PoS.”

The technologies used in the weShop have been provided by Cancom, Cisco, Apple and NEC Display Solutions Europe. The shop is stocked with the latest winter fashions from Bogner.

Shopping2020 as an example of active integration at Serviceplan

Shopping2020 is a prime example of active integration within the Serviceplan Group.  Numerous specialist agencies united under the umbrella of the House of Communication pool their services in the weShop. The project is managed by Connected Retail, the business unit of Serviceplan Sales that focuses on digitisation in brick-and-mortar retailing. The agency unit, drawing on its many years of experience in retail structures and customer behaviour as well as its expertise in implementation at the PoS, acts as the most powerful driving force behind Shopping2020 with Bertram Laack, Managing Director of Serviceplan Sales, and Christian Rössler, Head of Connected Retail. An important partner is also the Plan.Net Group with its knowledge of digital strategy and conception, to which the digital commerce agency hmmh, acquired in summer, has made a significant contribution. Manfred Klaus, spokesperson for the Executive Board of the Plan.Net Group, explains: “Successful retail models of the future will combine brick-and-mortar and digital commerce seamlessly, individually and across platforms – adopting an omni-channel approach in fact. We will design the digital part of this world for our clients, applying the knowledge we have amassed over many years in consulting, creation, conception, technology and data handling.”

The weShop logo and the corporate design have been developed by Serviceplan Campaign with a team led by Managing Directors Winfried Bergmann (Consulting) and Christoph Everke (Creation).

Outlook

The weShop will be accepting visitors for live presentations with no obligation from 22 October by prior arrangement. A similar showroom will be built on the premises of the Vitrashop Group in Weil am Rhein in spring 2015.