Recognising tech excellence at the reta awards
Retail Technology was in attendance to find out which retailers from across Europe stood out against their peers when it comes to the latest store and customer-facing tech projects
Retailers and their technology suppliers gathered in Düsseldorf last night to recognise the best project European retail technology implementations.
Retail industry research, training and consultancy organisation, the EHI Retail Institute, presented the 2023 reta awards for the best technology solutions in retailing at a ceremony held as part of EuroShop 2023.
The awards, in their 16th year, represented three equal-ranking prize winners each in the following five categories: Best Customer Experience, Best Enterprise Solution, Best In-store Solution, Best Connected Retail Solution, and Best Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Robotics Application. Read on to learn more about the winning implementations:
Best Customer Experience
Through the customer card of their loyalty program “Coop Supercard,” Coop uses relevant online and offline shopping information of their customers to display individual product recommendations on the website, coop.ch. In mid-2022, the retailer also launched "Mein Coop," a personal online supermarket, where customers are shown their preferred products and matching product recommendations and can make a convenient online purchase in just five minutes. GK Artificial Intelligence for Retail AG is providing the personalisation technology.
O2, the core brand of Telefónica in Germany, is promoting its 5G network through what is known as the ‘Visible Net’. For this purpose Telefónica converted the entire storefront of an O2 store in Berlin into a semi-transparent LED wall. It uses a motion sensor and special programming to sense passers-by and lets them interact with the 5G network. The network lines follow their steps or stop moving when they do. The project partners are Umdasch, Ledcon Systems and O2's own Serviceplan Bubble.
French food retailer Carrefour has introduced a motion-sensing technology for identifying unpackaged goods like fruit. When an item is removed from the shelf, a sensor transmits the price look-up (PLU) code to the scales. Customers only have to confirm their purchases on the scale’s display; they can buy the goods unpackaged. Besides enabling Carrefour to reduce selection errors and losses, the system has simplified the weighing process. The project partners are Digi France, HL Display and Mayam.
Best Enterprise Solution
Turkish wholesaler Bizim Toptan, which offers deliveries and click & collect on its website, teamed up with Microsoft project partner, Obase, to implement a data-driven, algorithm-based forecasting system for planning inventory decisions. One aim is to accurately predict which products will be most in demand. The system also helps to anticipate planned activities on special occasions like the start of school and Ramadan.
Schwarz IT installed Parsifal, an AI-based platform provided by the G2K Group, to simplify the IT infrastructure of the companies of Schwarz Group. The platform combines a large number of diverse, isolated solutions. It brings together all the various technologies and application scenarios in a single interface, allowing projects to be rolled out in a standardised manner throughout the world. Use cases can be activated or deactivated for certain business sectors, depending on local requirements.
Fashion retailer Esprit has developed a real-time merchandise management system for its European retail stores. The online software solution tracks incoming and outgoing goods, inventories and price changes, among other information. The data is sent to a database that combines point-of-sale (POS) transactions and inventory information in real time. The system has helped to optimise the process flow for the store employees and reduce paper consumption and other consumables in stores by about 50%. The project partners are CAS AG and SAP Germany.
Best Instore Solution
Together with technology partner KBST and their German distribution partner Expresso, Edeka Aschoff launched the SmartShopper, a digital shopping cart. The cart is equipped with a tablet. Users can use the attached scanner to add goods to their shopping list. When users are ready to pay, they generate a QR code with the device and scan it at the checkout. A scale on the cart monitors the items, and a smart system determines the weight to within an accuracy of 2g.The system learns the correct weight of each item automatically.
Sportswear manufacturer Adidas joined project partners Sensormatic Solutions and Clickit to develop various touchpoints for stores that detect consumer movements from the street, at the store window or in certain zones in the store. The retailer would like to track its customers’ movements as closely as possible in order to coordinate music and images with their behaviour. Another goal is to attract new members to its benefit programme, Adi Club.
Marks & Spencer
Marks & Spencer has modernised the ordering options in its restaurants, giving customers a new digital experience. The ordering process is based on a software solution by Givex that allows customers to pay with an app. Diebold Nixdorf introduced a kitchen management system for meal preparation, and the kitchen was equipped with new hardware. After placing their orders, customers take a food tracker to the table so that staff members can deliver the food to them directly.
Best Connected Retail Solution
Edeka Digital has implemented a cloud-based event-streaming and management solution for handling master data in its markets and supply chain. The PubSub+ platform helps it to distribute master data to stores, data centres and cloud services in real time. Product details from an ERP system are merged with images from a previous system, and the changes are transmitted to various target projects. Edeka Digital set up the project together with technology partners Thinkport and Solace.
Shoe retailer Schuhhaus Meyer introduced a cloud-based marketplace solution together with its partner Scalerion. The solution enables it to order individual sample collections from its suppliers, in this way significantly reducing its warehousing and handling costs. Customers can try out items in the store and use a QR code to have them sent home.
MediaMarktSaturn worked with its partner Coma to develop the in-house gamification platform, LaLiga. It enables employees at stores throughout Germany and other countries to compete as teams with other stores and win points by selling products, product-related services and consuming product-related content. The platform is designed to help employees gain a better understanding of the products and better advise customers.
Best AI & Robotics Application
Aldi Nord’s first cashierless store in Utrecht uses computer vision technology to dispense with conventional point-of-sale payment terminals and self-checkout kiosks. This is made possible by AI technology and a mobile app, where products are tracked by sensors in the shelves and cameras in the ceiling. They are matched to customers in compliance with data protection standards. Customers check in via QR code on entering the store. The technology partner is Trigo.
Working with technology partner Aifi, the Compass Group developed an autonomous checkout for its Market x Flutter grocery store. The store offers fresh meals, as well as drinks and confectionery. Customers check in at the entrance via QR code. Instead of using facial recognition, the AI-powered camera technology creates visual avatars for customers. When customers leave the store, they automatically receive a receipt on their phones.
Israeli food retailer Shufersal has introduced an AI-powered clip-on device that uses computer vision to turn a regular shopping cart into a smart cart that can automatically identify every item added or removed by shoppers. The screen displays a summary of products, prices and promotions so shoppers can keep track of their purchases. The device also enables frictionless self-service payment, providing shoppers with a seamless shopping experience. Technology partner is Shopic.