One of the key trends impacting the retail sector has been the rise of omnichannel shopping. With the growth in connectivity, consumers have been shifting to more online and digital purchasing to complement their in-store shopping experience. Moreover, the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated retail’s omnichannel adoption in a massive way, with shelter-in-place contributing to significant e-commerce growth of nearly 150% year-over-year. At the same time, many physical retailers have not been able to weather the pandemic, with many iconic department stores closing down permanently.
With consumers still doing the vast majority of their purchasing at physical stores (even in this environment), they are now expecting the same level of convenience and real-time information that e-commerce provides. This is where our company, SES-imagotag, comes in. As the global leader in electronic shelf labels, pricing automation, and retail IoT solutions, our firm is helping to lead the charge for the digital transformation underway in retail. As CTO of SES-imagotag, I am tasked with delivering the most innovative technologies to the retail sector.
At SES-imagotag, our mission is to empower retailers to turn their physical stores into digital assets, bridging the gap between e-commerce and bricks-and-mortar. We do this by providing retailers with an advanced IoT solution and digital platform called VUSION that enables smart and automated pricing across all channels while improving the accuracy of inventory management, linking the physical with the digital. Our technology allows retailers to direct their employees’ focus on serving customer needs, instead of on fulfilling routine processes like changing out price tags or performing manual inventory checks. This helps customers and employees alike.
As we continue through the COVID-19 pandemic, we have made the decision as a company to not only address the real and immediate needs of our customers during this period, but also to increase our investment in innovation. Ossia is a key partner in these efforts.
We are pleased to build on our previously announced partnership, by accelerating our collaboration to integrate Cota® Real Wireless Power™ into our solutions. Here are just a couple areas where we think Ossia’s Cota wireless power can really augment our technological capabilities:
Today’s shoppers are accustomed to the convenience of e-commerce, which means quickly searching and finding an item online, putting it into a virtual cart, purchasing the product, and then waiting for delivery…all with just a few taps of the finger on a mobile phone. In a physical store, though, finding a product often requires searching and walking down several aisles, scanning the aisle to pick the right item, taking the item to the cashier, then waiting in a long line at the checkout.
With SES-imagotag’s VUSION IoT Cloud platform, physical retailers can provide a more online-like experience for their customers. Our digital platform helps customers locate the products they are looking for by using our proprietary geolocation & planogram technology, which we conveniently display on customer’s phones. Once a customer arrives at the designated aisle, we automatically call attention to where the product is by flashing an LED embedded in the Electronic Shelf Label (ESL) price tag. The price displayed on the ESL is automatically coordinated over the cloud, ensuring the most accurate, timely, omnichannel price. Finally, once the customer has picked up their item, we allow them to skip the check-out line entirely by immediately enabling seamless payment and checkout right then-and-there, by using their phone to scan the QR code or utilize NFC communications on the ESL price tag itself. We take the pain out of purchasing.
With that said, like every electronic device, our solutions still require power, and are limited by the laws of physics when it comes to wires and batteries. Therefore, augmenting the power profiles of our devices by leveraging Ossia’s Cota wireless power is a key enabler to the enhancement and use of our retail IoT solutions. In addition, retail software applications and cloud functionality that were previously limited by energy consumption or battery replacements will be fully usable in-store. Simply put, more accessible power means greater functionality.
By incorporating Ossia’s Cota technology into SES-imagotag’s product set, we expect that many devices and products of ours will become completely wireless and battery-less. For example, Ossia showcased a battery-less retail IoT system at CES 2020 earlier this year, so we are in the process of looking to integrate that advanced technology into our product roadmap. What this means is that our IoT products that become battery-free due to Cota technology will no longer have the carbon footprint associated with the development and disposal of chemical batteries.
As a technology leader, we are always looking to reducing our carbon footprint by providing green, sustainable products for our customers. Partnering with Ossia will undoubtedly help these efforts, as wireless power is significantly more sustainable than batteries. As the COVID-19 pandemic makes clear, we are a global community. We must act responsibly for the betterment of us all.
At SES-imagotag, we are committed to helping retailers transform their physical stores into digital assets. To that end, we believe Ossia will be a key partner in helping to realize that vision.
About SES-imagotag and the VUSION Retail IoT platform
SES-imagotag is a fast-growing retail tech company, listed on the Euronext Paris stock exchange, with revenues around €250 million. The company is the world leader in smart digital labels and IoT solutions for physical retail, serving over 300 large retailers around the world in Europe, Asia and America. SES-imagotag has developed the VUSION Retail IOT technology platform to help retailers transform their physical stores into high value digital assets, more automated, data-driven, and connected in real-time to suppliers and consumers. VUSION improves pricing agility, accuracy and integrity; enables omni channel synchronization of prices, product information and marketing content; and increases the productivity of shelf replenishment and in-store picking for online orders. VUSION improves employee satisfaction by freeing up time from cumbersome low value-added tasks and allowing them to focus on customer service and merchandizing tasks. VUSION connects shelves to the cloud, providing real-time accurate information on product availability and location, allowing for reduced inventory, out-of-stock and waste, as well as improved on-shelf availability and merchandizing compliance. VUSION empowers consumers with better product, nutritional and traceability information at the shelf and enables a frictionless in-store shopping experience with features such as product search, pathfinding and cashier-less scan & pay features. https://www.forbes.com/sites/louiscolumbus/2020/04/28/how-covid-19-is-transforming-e-commerce/#555e15693544