Company News • 29.11.2012

Innovative corner shop multi-channel retailing

Emmas Enkel is enjoying growth and success

Innovative corner shop multi-channel retailing
Source: Emmas Enkel

A German start-up retail convenience store is enjoying growth, success and recognition for its family-inspired values and modern approach to food retailing. Emma’s Enkel is trialling a polytouch all-in-one multi-touch system to close the gap between physical and virtual shopping, giving customers a fifth channel for purchasing fresh and non-perishable food, toiletries and household goods.

Mom and Pop Shop Revival

The Emma’s Enkel (Emma’s grandson) concept was conceived by young entrepreneurs Sebastian Diehl and Benjamin Brüser with the intention of reawakening the traditional corner shop experience with a contemporary twist. Their vision was a return to a more emotional and less anonymous form of shopping after the displacement of small grocery stores by large discount stores and major retail chains. This awardwinning formula combining the best from the good old corner shop with the benefits of modern technology and new media is taking Germany by storm and is a leading example of cross-channel shopping.

Ordering Methods

Located in Düsseldorf’s city centre, Emma’s Enkel offers over 2,000 products and is continuously increasing its range of stock, in-store and in the warehouse. Customers currently have four different ordering methods to choose from depending on their purchasing habits. They can hand a shopping list over the counter for an assistant to shop and pack for them while they relax in the coffee corner. They can purchase goods online, via iPad or by smartphone using the free in-store Wi-Fi service and wait for their goods to be prepared. They can place an order online from home or work and have the goods delivered for free in Düsseldorf within two hours. Finally, if customers are passing by outside of opening hours, they can shop via their smartphones using the QR-code wall in the store window. The wall acts as a virtual store shelf with over 400 products on display.

A new e-commerce era

As of June 2012, an innovative pilot project is underway at Emma’s Enkel to introduce a fifth distribution channel, which closes the gap between physical and virtual shopping. A point-of-sale optimised multi-touch platform, OXID POS, is currently being trialled that allows customers to browse, select and purchase products from the online shop whilst in-store. E-commerce vendor OXID eSales and digital brand communications agency People Interactive created and developed the multi-touch platform incorporating a 32-inch polytouch system from Pyramid Computer and OXID eShop software.

Multi-touch technology was chosen to offer the same level of engagement that customers get from their smartphones and tablets. The platform helps guide customers around the Emma’s Enkel online shop in an intuitive and exciting way. Users can flick through content, drag to zoom and pinch to minimise products on the screen.

The Polytouch Experience

The platform’s integrated polytouch 32 system features Projected Capacitive Touch technology and supports 10 simultaneous touches with a 10 millisecond response time. It also offers palm rejection, creating a natural and responsive user experience.

polytouch 32 is a compact, frameless plug and play device, making it flexible for standalone use or for integration into counters, desks, totems or kiosks in any professional environment. A range of additional hardware components can be added to the system via extension modules, depending on application requirements. These include barcode, RFID-readers, speakers, Bluetooth modules and cameras.

In the case of OXID POS, polytouch 32 was fitted with scanner, camera and printer extension modules. The e-commerce platform offers a world first by using the PayPal QR Shopping App, whereby customers can scan a product’s QR-code on the screen with their smartphone and the item appears on their display. They can then add the item to the app’s shopping cart and automatically link to their PayPal account to make the payment. The printer module produces a receipt, which the customer can then take to the counter and collect their goods.

Why Multi-Touch?

The interactivity of in-store e-commerce platforms deliver focused customer communications. Full HD content and appealing visualisation can activate emotions and bring retailers increased sales success. The versatility of large format multi-touch systems makes them especially suitable for the in-store environment. Devices like polytouch 32 offer stores an innovative kiosk solution that connects to the web to facilitate multichannel strategies such as cross-selling, product promotion applications and social network integration. As Emma’s Enkel and many other retailers are finding, today‘s big multi-touch screens open up a huge range of opportunities for e-commerce in-store.

This new level of multi-channel shopping means that customers have the flexibility to shop any way they like, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Age and language barriers are broken down, no matter which ordering method is chosen. This compelling, customer-focused concept has set a benchmark for retailers in Germany and across Europe to measure their approaches to multi-channel retailing.

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