Boosting the Retail-CPG collaboration through sustainable innovation

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Revitalizing physical stores and improving the business model of physical retail with in-store data & retail media

The Retail IoT Cloud platform developed by SES-imagotag helps brands and retailers to better collaborate. We asked Thierry Gadou, SES-imagotag’s Chairman and CEO, firstly to tell us more about his company:

SES-imagotag is the global leader in digital solutions, smart devices and sensors for physical retail. SES-imagotag allows retailers to connect and digitize their physical stores, automate low-value-added processes, improve operational efficiency, better inform and serve customers; ensure information integrity to continuously optimize on-hand inventory, prevent stock-outs and create an omnichannel service platform that builds loyalty and meets evolving consumer expectations. SES-imagotag has equipped over 30,000 stores totaling 300 million electronic shelf labels in more than 60 countries, with sales exceeding €423m in 2021.

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We already provide store digitization solutions to most consumer electronic chains in Europe, and several in America and Japan. As such, we have equipped over 3,000 CE stores in Europe with our solutions, across the leaders in the industry (MediaMarkt-Saturn, Euronics, Elkjop, Fnac-Darty, Worten, Unieuro…) as well as hypermarkets (Carrefour, Casino…).

What is your take on the evolution of retail in the recent years?
Experts estimate that e-Commerce will continue to grow at a 10-20% rate per year, as we have seen during Covid, and even become the majority of TCG sales. If this trend continues to develop itself on a “direct-to-consumer” model, it will lead to the accelerated construction of a new logistics infrastructure (thousands of new warehouses) and the associated new upstream and last-mile supply chains. Such scenarios would lead to the emission of several billion tons of CO2, contributing to defeat Net Zero objectives, while triggering the closing of stores with a negative social impact, and not satisfying consumers anyway in terms of delivery lead-times compared to hybrid O2O models leveraging stores.

How can physical stores help turn this around?
An alternative scenario of a more sustainable retail exists by leveraging the existing infrastructure of physical commerce: physical stores already exist by millions today and bring goods (>$1,000bn inventories) no further than a few miles away from any consumer (and often much closer). Digitization could revitalize these physical locations and turn stores into powerful digital assets, enabling exceptional quality of service to consumers (ultra-fast availability for pick-up or delivery) in a very sustainable and carbon-frugal way.

In which ways can technology help retailers and brands to achieve this sustainable growth?
Together with our clients, we work on improving the overall Brands-Retail collaboration and supply chain through the availability and the sharing of massive amounts of in-store real-time data gathered via CV/AI/Sensor technologies. With this exchange of information, the whole value chain can have access to better information, resulting in increased product availability, reduced inventories, better planogram compliance… This enables them not only to optimize their logistics and supply chain management, but also to roll-out and monitor remotely merchandising plans.
Furthermore, the physical store is also today a massively undervalued and underused asset when it comes to advertising and marketing. Through our IoT and display expertise, we enable retailers to leverage the most out of their shelves, by giving them the opportunity to display targeted ads at the shelf, while allowing brands to display the right message, at the right moment, i.e. when the customer is facing the product in store.

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