METRO brings Future Store to New York

Jan 13, 2004

Report by Ron Margulis

The METRO Group, the world’s fifth-largest retailer, recreated the technologies deployed and even a bit of the look of its Future Store located in Rheinberg, Germany on the show floor at the National Retail Federation Convention now underway in New York. The exhibit, which stretched out over 13,000 square feet, consisted of four interactive information areas and “Future Lab”, METRO’s vision of the shopping experience 30 years from now.

Executives from METRO suggested that the principles currently being learned at Future Store will help shape that experience. From customer engagement at the start of a shopping visit in the form of a Personal Shopping Assistant to quick check out deploying the latest in POS technology, Future Store attempts to push the envelope of retailing as we know it.

“The result [of the trials being conducted at the Future Store] will be a redesign of the processes between the retailer and their suppliers, as well between the retailer and their customers,” said Dr. Hans-Joachim Korber, chairman & CEO of the METRO Group

Zygmunt Mierdorf, member of the Management Board and CIO of the METRO Group, added that the store, opened last April, can already be classified at a “success”. More than 75 percent of customers at the Rheinberg store have used the new technology, and a vast majority were satisfied with the experience.

METRO Group also announced that the company plans to introduce RFID across the enterprise. This, they claim, will be the first use of RFID technology along the entire process chain when a comprehensive pilot project is launched in November with 100 suppliers, 10 central warehouses and approximately 250 stores.

Mierdorf said tests with the new RFID tags have been successfully conducted over recent months at the Future Store and have shown that RFID offers retailers and their customers enormous advantages, including more effective processes and lower costs. Using RFID, order management can be optimized, losses reduced and out-of-stock situations avoided.

“We see RFID as one of the crucial technologies for the future of retailing. With our large-scale introduction of RFID, we will for the first time cover the entire process chain with this technology,” said Mierdorf. “The strongly expanded and mutually supportive cooperation with our suppliers in this area will help to significantly move forward the establishment of international standards for RFID.”

Moderator’s Comment: Is Future Store the right vision of what retailing will look like in a decade? Will the RFID actions METRO is taking force Wal-Mart
and others to be more aggressive with their implementation plans?
Margulis – Moderator

  • To check out a virtual tour of the Future Store click here.
  • For additional information on the Future Store at NRF’s Big Show click
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