Interview • 16.02.2020

Leveraging your retail strengths with digitization and automation

Oliver Voßhenrich of POS Tuning talks about EuroShop 2020 and the promise of process optimization

Retailers have to make multiple decisions every day as it pertains to the point of sale (POS) according to the managing director of POS Tuning. He explains how digitization and automation help the industry to minimize manual processes and free up time to focus on core competencies.

POS Tuning and the spin-off neoalto GmbH will be showing solutions that address this issue at their trade show booth at EuroShop 2020, February 16 - 20 in Düsseldorf.

A man in a suit smiles at the camera
Oliver Voßhenrich, CEO at POS Tuning
Source: POS Tuning

Mr. Voßhenrich, your new marketing campaign is titled "Ohne uns geht’s nicht” (It doesn’t work without us). Of course, this begs the follow-up question: Why doesn’t it work without you?

That’s because in the future, brick-and-mortar retail will no longer work without tapping automation and digitization. Our new campaign aims to make retailers and the industry aware of the potential they gain through automation and digitization of the point of sale system. This will not work without the solutions that POS Tuning offers.

Brick-and-mortar stores have three powerful advantages over online businesses: immediate product availability, the power to engage customers by activating all five senses and personal interaction and service thanks to expert staff. Automation and digitization help retailers to leverage these advantages and up their game.

Which brick-and-mortar retail processes need more attention in your opinion?

Given the many issues that the retail industry has on its to-do list every day, some aspects tend to come up short at times:

  • Merchandise presentation: Are products easy to spot for customers?
  • Orientation: Are products easy to find for customers?
  • Product accessibility: Are the items easily accessible to all customers?
  • Product availability: Are all products available where customers expect them to see?

This is owing to the fact that more than two-thirds of consumer purchasing decisions are still made at the POS.

How do you - POS Tuning and neoalto – address this problem?

From our perspective, automation and digitization of the POS are intrinsically linked. That is why POS Tuning is – and has always been – the go-to point of contact for all of our customers, even as it pertains to their digital concerns.

Neoalto specializes in developing and providing the necessary sensor and cloud technologies. That means our customers benefit from the industry knowledge of POS Tuning and the technical expertise of neoalto.

EuroShop 2020 marks the first time that POS Tuning and neoalto jointly exhibit their innovations since the latter was founded as a spin-off company. How will this be reflected at the booth?

Neoalto’s digital solutions are echoed in many places of our trade fair exhibits. All data flows into the neoalto Retail Service Cloud, which we showcase as a separate exhibit in the center of our booth. We will illustrate how you can keep track of all POS activities from anywhere in the world using any Internet-enabled device and show how processes can be optimized from a central point.

What can visitors expect to see at your joint booth at EuroShop?

We are taking our customers on a "journey through time" this year. However, this is not a journey through decades, but one that reveals how automating and digitizing POS solutions allows retailers to free up more time to engage with their customers. In our activation zone, an actor will make the perception of customers and employees at the POS tangible.

Automation solutions allow us to facilitate better shelf visibility, presence, and accessibility of products and help customers with orientation. Using our digitization solutions from neoalto, we then demonstrate how retail and industry can guarantee full product availability at the POS and maintain minimum stock levels at the same time. This also ensures reduced write-offs, especially when it comes to fresh produce.

It is very important for us to highlight that digitization is not another trend the retail industry has to contend with. We aim to underscore that digitization can reduce or even eliminate manual processes, freeing up human time to focus more on customer needs.

What do you expect from the trade fair?

For us, EuroShop is simply THE industry event par excellence. Since the trade fair only takes place every three years, it attracts many international and high-caliber visitors. We look forward to meeting our existing customers and connecting with many new interested parties from all over the world, getting them excited about our solutions.

What are the biggest challenges retailers will face in the next few years?

The retail industry is undergoing drastic and fast-paced changes. Many brick-and-mortar retailers – especially those in the fashion and media sector - have to think long and hard about how they can manage to stay relevant in their field and to their target audience in the future. The food retail industry is not the only sector where we notice a more customer-centric approach to survival. This might result in smaller retail spaces in expensive downtown districts, where space productivity (sales per selling space), product availability, logistics, and customer service create a challenge.

What will shopping be like in the year 2090?

Commodities like toilet paper or packs of bottled water are delivered to my house without me even ordering them. I have sensors all over my house that manage the ordering for me and ensure that I never run out of these convenience items. We have attractive downtown areas with unique stores that specialize in “curated shopping”. For example, running stores will feature any gear related to jogging or running. This includes a virtual running track that allows me to live test the products. I use biometrics for payment as cash has been eliminated. All large and bulky items are delivered straight to my home from central warehouses within a few short hours – they arrive before I get back from my shopping trip.

Speaking of which, do you enjoy shopping?

Absolutely! Every shopping trip is an inspiration and market research at the same time for me. I'm always happy to discover cool concepts and amazing food options. I am especially pleased when I take an item off the shelf and the remaining products gently move forward to the edge of the shelf as if by magic. This generally means the store has a POS pushfeed system for shelf management.

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