The METRO Group Future Store Initiative is the world's leading alliance of companies for the modernisation of retail. Together with the METRO Group, partners from IT and consumer goods industries, plus science, develop practical technologies and concepts to make shopping more pleasant and enjoyable for customers in the future. The METRO Group opened the first 'real,- Future Store' in Tönisvorst in North Rhine-Westphalia (Germany) at the end of May 2008. At this store, we are testing the interaction of groundbreaking technologies and innovative concepts for tomorrow's retail industry. The company aims to tailor product ranges and services to perfectly match the needs of consumers. Innovations for tomorrow's shopping: one of the most important innovations at the 'real,- Future Store' is mobile shopping. To this end, we have developed the 'Mobile Shopping Assistant' (MSA), an application for mobile phones which allows customers to scan in their purchases whilst shopping. The MSA will make long queues at the checkout a thing of the past. Customers can also use the device to conveniently call up or read out additional product information. Even greater convenience is provided by the state-of-the-art payment options, for instance the new Pay by Fingerprint system. Customers merely need to place their finger onto a specially developed fingerprint scanner to pay for their purchases – without the need for any signature or PIN.
Among other things, the following Wanzl products were available to see and experience:
Here we test the applications we have developed together with our partners, under practical conditions. The emphasis is on the sales approach, as well as store and product range design. The main focus is the benefit for the consumer. This allows the METRO Group to test the acceptance of new technologies and concepts, and prepare for their blanket introduction.
Another objective of the METRO Group Future Store Initiative is to assess the suitability and practicality of Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) and its numerous possible applications. This advanced technology is the key to achieving greater efficiency along the entire process chain – and greater customer satisfaction. As early as 2004, the METRO Group began introducing RFID in the goods entrance area of individual test stores and distribution centres. The positive results of these tests, as well as the introduction of a new transponder generation, have encouraged us to extend the use of RFID in 2007. We have now equipped all 'METRO Cash & Carry' wholesale stores in Germany, over 100 Real hypermarkets and the nine food warehouses belonging to MGL METRO Group Logistics with RFID-supported goods entrance and outward portals. This year, we have begun to equip a further 200 locations operated by the 'real,-' sales brand with RFID readers at their loading doors for incoming goods. 'METRO Cash & Carry' is now also preparing the roll-out of radio technology at its locations in France. We are also testing the use of RFID at item level in a pilot project started in September 2007 at 'Galeria Kaufhof' in Essen. As part of this project, all of the items in the men's clothing department are fitted with transponders. This makes it easier for sales personnel to keep an overview of stock in the sales area and in the warehouse, and
The 'METRO Group RFID Innovation Center' opened in 2004 in Neuss, Düsseldorf and offers our industrial partners the opportunity to learn about the technology and to prepare for its introduction: almost 40 systems in the fields of order picking, stock management, warehousing, consumer market and private household show how RFID can optimise processes in practice. There is also an exhibition area devoted to 'Starter kits' developed by the METRO Group and its technology partners to simplify the introduction of RFID.
The METRO Group Future Store Initiative also presents the retail topics of the future at international trade fairs and congresses such as CeBIT in Hanover, or the German Logistics Congress. In addition, the METRO Group also hosts its own events, such as the RFID Congress. At these events, co-operation partners involved in the initiative inform interested consumer companies about the potential of Radio Frequency Identification, and show how the METRO Group is using the technology. Members of the METRO Group Future Store Initiative are also involved in various international committees such as the standardisation organisation 'EPCglobal'. Their experiences help to develop concepts such as globally consistent standards for new technologies. Together with our partners in the METRO Group Future Store Initiative, we have risen to the challenges posed by retail."
Since mid-2002, Dr Wolfram has headed up one of the most innovative projects of the METRO Group, the METRO Group Future Store Initiative. In co-operation with well-known partner companies, state-of-the-art technologies and systems are developed further and tested under real conditions.