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EuroCIS 2013: Store tech takes centre stage

By Retail Technology | Tuesday February 19 2013

Retail IT vendors focus on building out multichannel functionality with new operations hardware for the store

Just as was evidenced in the US last month, multichannel retailing is here to stay according to European retail IT vendors exhibiting their latest wares at EuroCIS 2013 in Düsseldorf, Germany today. 

The annual pan-regional trade fair this year played host to a number of new products, services and strategies designed to answer retail demand for practical solutions to multichannel challenges.

Thomas Fell, retail division senior vice president and member of the Executive Board for Wincor Nixdorf, told Retail Technology that retailers were centralising store operations in response to multichannel demands.

Multichannel comes to the store

“In the last decade they harmonised and centralised a lot of their supply chain processes in the back office,” he said. “Now, with stores, e-commerce and m-commerce creating so many silos, we are seeing the same happen to the hardware, software and services in the front of house.”

Reiterating the current customer view that does not differentiate between a retailer or brand’s different channels, he explained how Wincor had re-architected its retail software suite to deliver a joined-up approach. 

“We have built middleware between the application suite and hardware layer so you can use the same engine for traditional tills, kiosks, e-commerce or m-commerce development,” he added. “It should make no difference whether you are using a mobile, tablet or PC device. It should use the same processes and data and leverage what is instore for other developments like click & collect or reserve & collect, for example.”

Wincor was at EuroCIS to launch a new tablet solution for mobile sales advice and checkout, an electronic wallet for smartphone payments and a flexible checkout for attended and self-service checkout processes, as well as further developed cash cycle management technology for rationalising payment processes. 

Next generation instore IT services

Another major global IT supplier, Fujitsu, revealed it was also taking a new approach to the development of its retail portfolio. It is building on its existing Retail Suite 5.0 and GlobalSTORE point-of-sale (PoS) software to provide multichannel functionality, including buy online and return instore, with integration to enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems from SAP.

Richard Clarke, vice president of global retail for Fujitsu international business division, said in an interview: “We are moving away from a store-centric view to one that concentrates on customers and channels, wherever they are. We are building out our PoS solution to cross channel boundaries; taking the data out of the store and into a single transactional repository.”

Robert Cook, director of the PoS development codenamed Project Como as part of strategy, marketing and sales support for Fujitsu international business division, explained: “It will deliver an enterprise system with reference data as well as transaction data, with the same services centrally as instore. Being agnostic to channel or device, these standard services will be served by the integration with SAP too.”

Clarke added that the PoS development formed a three-part strategy: “The first is managing transactions instore, whether that’s fixed, mobile or even convertible checkouts that can be manned or self-service depending on the requirement. The second are is around the PoS software development. And the third is all about services.” 

He cited a deal with Hallmark in the US that bundles IT hardware, software and services on a price per store basis. This, Clarke said, was evidence that Fujitsu was moving away from “traditional stovepipe delivery to one that was more predictable cost-wise, bringing in our cloud infrastructure”.

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