Netherlands, July 2015 – Municipal cabinet member Joris Wijsmuller (with responsibility for Urban Development) officially opened the ‘Store of the Future’ in New Babylon, The Hague, last week.
The ‘Store’ is the Netherlands’ very first retail innovation lab, a joint initiative by the Municipality of The Hague and Q&A Research & Consultancy. It constitutes a unique collaboration between more than sixty retailers, brands, property firms, technology companies and retail finance partners. Axians, one of the main sponsors of Store of the Future, implemented the underlying IT infrastructure for the innovation platform in partnership with Cisco.
The consumers of today are becoming increasingly critical, and are shopping in different ways. With the advent of online shopping, traditional shops increasingly have to compete with online retailers. The physical shop of the future therefore has to make shopping more enjoyable, and above all easier, for example by deploying new technologies. The Store of the Future brings the two worlds together, enabling online and offline business to reinforce one another. Retailers can test their IT innovations and new products in a live environment, and make shopping an interactive experience, allowing consumers to get to know their products and services in a new way.
“We created the Store of the Future together with retailers and other partners with the aim of enabling consumers to experience and test what the shop of the future will look like,” says John Terra, Research Director Retail at Q&A Research & Consultancy. “The innovative lab is still under development, allowing further technologies to be added. Axians and Cisco can help us with this. The IT infrastructure from Axians provides good connectivity for both consumers and retailers. WiFi can easily be used, for example, and retailers can deploy their own technologies at any time.”
Q&R Research & Consultancy started out by looking for a partner with sufficient experience in the field. “Because we had never set up a project like this before, we asked the professionals at Axians what the ideal infrastructure would look like. Their ideas gave us confidence, and they equipped the shop with a very good functional network. It was a complex project involving a number of parties, so it was good to have a proactive, flexible partner who thinks along the same lines. This made the collaboration a really positive experience for me. The same goes for the other parties, who also deserve a great deal of credit.”
John Terra is now looking to the future, in which Axians and Cisco have a key role to play as strategic partners. “Now that we have laid the groundwork, we can start discovering what the future will bring. How do we contact consumers via Apps and Bluetooth? How can we analyse the data that we obtain? We want to focus on engagement and interaction with consumers, while continuing to ask consumers for feedback, so that the concept continues to develop.”
Edwin Prinsen, Managing Director of Cisco Nederland, said: “The Internet has fundamentally changed the way we shop. And this is just the beginning. Thanks to the technological innovations in the ‘Store of the Future’, we can see how physical shopping is gaining a new dimension. The ICT infrastructure ensures that retailers have every opportunity to implement their innovative shopping ideas, while also giving members of the public an unprecedented shopping experience. It’s about delivering the best of both worlds, by combining the physical shopping experience with the interaction, engagement and information offering that online consumers are used to.”
Olav van de Reijken from Axians added: “Axians is working with the technology partners of the Store of the Future to create a new and highly innovative retail customer journey. It is clear that IT plays a key role in interactions with (potential) customers. This is why our slogan is: “The best of ICT with a human touch”. With this unique group of retail companies and IT specialists, we are redefining the future of retail, and its relationship with customers.”
Axians is the new brand of VINCI Energies dedicated to ICT solutions and services. The brand supports its customers — private sector companies, government agencies, operators and service providers — throughout the entire lifecycle of their ICT projects, from network infrastructure to applications. In 2014, Axians generated revenues of €1.6 billion, equivalent to over 15% of the VINCI Energies Group’s total revenues. Axians comprises an international network of 150 business units in 15 countries and employs 7,000 people. https://www.axians.com/
About VINCI Energies
Operating in over 50 countries, including 30 outside Europe, VINCI Energies employs 63,000 people and generated revenues of €9.3 billion in 2014. With its close-knit network of 1,500 business units, VINCI Energies is now a leading provider of energy and information technology services in Europe and throughout the world. www.vinci-energies.com