Intralogistics specialist TGW and the shop-fitting professionals from 'umdasch The Store Makers' have developed an innovative store and logistics concept for food retailing called OmniStore, an omnichannel model that integrates logistics processes. OmniStore combines the strengths of traditional retail with the benefits of e-commerce, but it does so at local grocery stores. At a trade forum organized by CASH trade magazine in Fuschl, Austria (24 to 26 April 2019), OmniStore was introduced to a large specialist audience for the first time where it was met with great approval.
The supply chain in food retailing has consistently been optimized over decades to provide best possible service at lowest possible costs. This was feasible as long as companies were able to fulfill changing consumer needs with store models that did not fundamentally impact the material flow. However, due to the rapid growth of online commerce, this approach is now increasingly reaching its limits. Selling food via the Internet follows other rules than traditional distribution, thereby placing new and different demands on supply chains.
The best of both worlds
Families and younger customer groups in particular are increasingly buying food online either from at home or on the go via their smartphones. For example, in Germany the increasing market acceptance of the food segment in 2017 brought online retailers sales of 1.13 billion euros, which is an increase of 21.3 percent over the previous year (2016: 932 million). These statistics were recently published by the German Bundesverband E-Commerce und Versandhandel e.V. (German E-Commerce and Mail Order Association). Many retailers are therefore investing massively in online and delivery services. However, order picking for each individual customer and “last mile delivery” are expensive and therefore difficult to realize profitably.
One thing is certain, though: Stationary trading is not about to disappear. Customers continue to place value on their local shopping experiences. They want to see the fresh food they’re about to buy, smell it, and be able to ask for customer service. Compared to pure online retailers, traditional retailers can set themselves apart through promptness, flexibility, and convenience. So what will tomorrow's grocery stores look like? TGW and umdasch offer an answer: with OmniStore.
Local fulfillment centers
“OmniStore uses existing stores and transforms them into small local fulfillment centers. This means that, in addition to the store itself, there is a separate picking area where groceries are efficiently and automatically stored and customer orders are assembled, perfect for online grocery orders that are placed and then later picked up by customers. Groceries sold in the store focus on attractiveness and emotionality – with a strong emphasis on fresh and regional products,” explains Christoph Wolkerstorfer, CSO of the TGW Logistics Group.
Businesses benefit from fast and cost-efficient Omnichannel Order Fulfillment, but within their existing store branch network. OmniStore can be realized from a store size of 1,000 m² – with the same number of operators as before.
Increase picking efficiency
Customers have the opportunity to do their daily shopping in a grocery store as usual, choose products at the digital order terminal, they can get help from a sales person or enjoy a cup of coffee in the integrated restaurant. Of course, they can also conveniently place orders for goods online at home and then pick up their purchases around the clock at so-called pick-up points at a grocery store of their choice. From the simple picking-up of online orders to quick impromptu purchases inside the store, many different customer journeys can be covered. OmniStore provides retailers with increased picking efficiency up to a factor of four.