This is what a study by the Dual University Heilbronn concluded. More than 700 sales representatives from stationary clothing and shoe trade were surveyed. Many of them saw it as the biggest challenge to meet the increasingly demanding needs of customers from the existing range of stores. One possible solution are shelf extension systems, also called digital shelves, whereby items that are currently out of stock can be ordered for the customer.
Success, according to the study, depends on several factors, especially the sales force. They need quick, easy, and reliable access to the system, otherwise there is a risk that it will not be used at all. The more suppliers are connected, the better the chances of success, because the sales representative can be relatively sure to find the desired product. The ordering process must be simple and the device always available. Overall, according to the study, digital shelves can increase customer loyalty.
Other studies also show that brick-and-mortar retailing is not threatened with extinction provided it adapts to changing customer requirements and the use of digital technologies. But commercial companies need a clear concept and the right actions, writes Uwe Küll for computerwoche.de . He also emphasizes support of sales staff with mobile devices.