K-Group recruits nearly 50 new specialists to build the leading digital services in the trading sector

HELSINKI, 2016-Dec-20 — /EPR Retail News/ — Kesko’s 70 digital recruits this year will be complemented by nearly 50 more new digital specialists. New talents are sought to build the leading digital services in the trading sector and to lead IT’s new development teams and digital projects.

The K-Group is now seeking experts in digital business and new technology. Professionals in this field are sought especially for the development of mobile services, analytics, process automation and modern e-commerce solutions.

“We offer IT professionals interesting challenges with latest technology and the opportunity to build the best digital services in the trading sector with top experts,” says Arto Hiltunen, Kesko’s Chief Information Officer.

K-Group is building customer experience into a superior competitive advantage

Kesko’s strategic objective is to offer the K-Group customers the best digital services in the trading sector with which to strengthen the customer experience and the competitiveness of the K-Group’s business operations. This year, 50 digital experts have been recruited by the building and technical trade division and 20 by the K Digital Unit. The search now launched will add 50 new specialists to the K IT Unit.

“We have an excellent team where people really enjoy working. We are looking for new reinforcements in order to accelerate the speed of changes. This is an excellent opportunity to actually contribute to the digital transition. Our work has an impact on the daily lives of all Finnish people,” says Hiltunen.


The K IT Unit underpins digitalisation in all K-Group business operations and operating countries. In our work, we use the leading technology suppliers and the most innovative start-ups of the market, as well as the extensive number of expert business partners.

The about 45,000 exceptionally nice people of the K-Group work daily to make shopping fun for customers in our stores in the Nordic countries, the Baltic countries, Poland and Russia. We help our more than 1,500 stores serve their customers in the grocery trade, the building and technical trade, and the car trade. We do our work with a big heart while paying attention to society and the environment. We are already the most responsible food retailer in the world and always eager to try out something new. We are doing this to offer good choices both on the shelves of the local stores and online. www.kesko.fi

Arto Hiltunen
Kesko Corporation
tel. +358 50 306 4065

Source: Kesko

EHI Retail Institute study: Retailers seek to further expand their digital services on the sales and presentation areas

Düsseldorf, Germany, 2016-Oct-27 — /EPR Retail News/ — Retailers seek to further expand their digital services on the sales and presentation areas. This is the conclusion arrived at by the study “Der Store im Omnichannel-Zeitalter” (The Store in the Omnichannel Age) for which the EHI Retail Institute polled the general managers of relevant retail companies in the German-speaking region as well as the heads of construction and interior design departments, shop fitters and architects’ and planners’ offices. In general, the attitude is “pro digital” but by now all the aforementioned actors are also aware of the many challenges. “Over the past few years some product launches proved technical gimmicks that ultimately neither paid off nor were accepted by end users the way we expected,” says Angela Kreutz, Head of Communication at Stuttgart architecture and design office Blocher Blocher Partners, summarising the experience gained by the sector. In view of EuroShop she forecasts: “We expect digital solutions that are maybe not as flamboyant as before, but efficient instead and that seamlessly connect the PoS with the digital world in line with the omni-channel concept.” So now we have left infancy behind things really get going.

Elements as an Integral Part of the Store

It has since become clear that the digital dimension must not be seen as an “add on” but should be regarded as an integral, if not organic part of any retail strategies and store design from the outset. “Digital Touchpoints will increasingly be developed from silo solutions towards immersive experiences for shoppers. Earlier concepts often failed to be successful because they were ‘conceived of separately’ and did not naturally blend in with the customer journey,” says the Swiss company Vitra, whose store design division (previously Vizona and Visplay) has also been operating under the Vitra brand since 2016. Jörg Becker, Creative Director at the communications agency Blocher Blocher View, shares this view: “When you think you can simply include a couple of screens in the finished store design – then your project is doomed to fail from the outset. We therefore support our customers with all elements from the tailor-made communication strategy across all channels to the actual connection of the stores with the online world because consumers have long combined online and offline in their shopping behaviour. With Blocher Blocher Partner – the planning office focused on experience-driven retail projects – we have further in-house experts for this three-dimensional approach.” So the key is to communicate and act in a cross-division and competence way from the beginning – and there is no   better point of departure for planning like this than EuroShop, where specialists of all those relevant disciplines meet at the same time in the same place.

The physical installation of digital devices has long ceased to constitute a hurdle for shop fitters. It is true that the furniture must be equipped with power supplies and data cables and be as flexible as possible but this is easily mastered by many market players these days. The decisive point is: the overall concept comprising furniture, hardware, software and content must be right. Vitra also regards its “holistic approach to solutions a big advantage” and refers to the Vitra & Camper Pop-up project. Implemented in Weil am Rhein in 2015, this project, which received the EuroShop Retail Design Award in 2016, fused online and offline shopping. “Without giving too much away, we will take ideas of this project to the next level at EuroShop,” announces Vitra.

The protagonists here are increasingly attuning to the new requirements, in part also through alliances and cooperations. Austrian company Umdasch Shopfitting, which incidentally was also among the exhibitors of the first EuroShop held 50 years ago, took over the technology specialist MMIT Retail some time ago and established its “viBIZ-Digital Shopfitting” division. This move is to push the seamless integration of digital elements and their development. The innovations introduced so far include the electronic price labelling system “ESL.inclusive by umdasch”, the “viPOS-Wall” (a virtual Point-of-Sale), various digital signage solutions such as the head-up display and store traffic analysis, to name but a few.

Wanted: Flexible Solutions for Many Years to Come

“New modern ideas for addressing shoppers at the PoS that surprise customers require background processes. If the latter fail you easily lose control and innovations prove a flop,” says Jürgen Berens von Rautenfeld, Board Chairman at Online Software AG, and goes on to say: “This is why solutions are needed that lure shoppers into the stores, boost sales and can be managed efficiently in terms of staffing at the same time. Which is why the extremely easy handling of our software PRESTIGE enterprise is so important to us. It is designed for managing in-store communication on a wide variety of output media in many outlets. The modules are well thought-out down to the minutest detail and built to grow with the company.” For Vitra and Ansorg, the subsidiaries specialised in lighting solutions, it is also a known fact that “retailers seek flexible and long-lasting solutions that can be adapted to changing requirements and that allow them to get started initially with quick little steps and manageable budgets.”

Digital terminal devices already today open up numerous possibilities for sales support and customer communication. Berens von Rautenfeld sums up the trends as follows: “Personalised offers and location-based services that are perfectly geared to the respective customers are gaining in importance and will definitely feature prominently at EuroShop. And web portals and PoS will also be linked more closely. Retailers do not necessarily need their own webshop. The information, images and videos available on their company website can also be leveraged at the PoS – given the right technology – and contribute to a consistent appearance. Furthermore, the access to detailed product data such as origin, production and composition is massively gaining in importance. This information should be readily accessible any time for both sales staff and shoppers that are eager to know – be it via mobile terminal devices, steles, check-outs and scale monitors or digital shelves.”

Once Neglected now in Focus: Changing Cubicles

There is no scarcity of potential applications for digital elements. Just lately fashion retailers’ changing cubicles proved real “playgrounds”. Maybe also because they have been neglected for a long time and are often times too small, too scruffy and too poorly lit in shoppers’ opinion. Now light and multi-media installations as well as interactive digital tools turn cubicles into novel service rooms. Trying on garments at last becomes an enjoyable experience. Corresponding technical innovations were already presented at the last EuroShop. Be it Arclite, Cedes or Philips – many of the lighting suppliers active in the fashion industry exhibited special cubicle lighting solutions, some which are multi-media enabled. Osram, for instance, combined its dynamic LED illumination with a smart media system made by its subsidiary Traxon Technologies as part of the “Debut” project. At offices, restaurants or at the beach real ambient scenarios were filmed in the run-up to the project to measure the light conditions. These scenarios were then projected in a trial installation in the changing rooms of a fashion store in the USA – complete with matching music and birdsong. Depending on the garment selected – an evening outfit, business suit or bikini – shoppers can select the desired virtual environment and watch themselves in exactly the right light.

The latest EuroCIS in spring 2016 saw this trend continue. Here various digital elements for the changing room area were also among the highlights. By means of a stationary RFID reader or barcode scanner installed inside the cubicle the smart cubicle solutions identify the garments to be tried on. Touch-screen monitors display the other sizes and colours available. Even matching coordinates are proposed including information on availability or whether they can be ordered from another outlet or online. “alexa ePOS” is the name of a product of this kind made by Salt Solutions while Bütema has dubbed it the “Interactive Fitting Room”. Both vendors will also exhibit at EuroShop and visitors can already anticipate the further developments and new themes that lie ahead here.

EuroShop 2017 is open for trade visitors from Sunday, 5 March 2017, to Thursday, 9 March 2017, daily from 10.00 am to 6.00 pm. 1-day tickets cost EUR 70.- (EUR 50.- purchased online beforehand (e-Ticket)),  2-day tickets cost EUR 90.- (EUR 70.- purchased online beforehand) and season tickets are EUR 150.- (EUR 130.- purchased online beforehand). Admission tickets include a free return trip to EuroShop on public transport marked VRR (Verkehrsverbund-Rhein-Ruhr).

EuroShop Basics:

In 1966 EuroShop was organised for the first time by Messe Düsseldorf and is held every three years. The EHI Retail Institute acts as the event’s conceptual sponsor. The last EuroShop in 2014 registered 2,229 exhibitors from 56 countries on over 116,000 m² of net exhibition space and 109,496 trade visitors, 63% of whom came from abroad.

For further information go to www.euroshop.de.

Press Contact:
Dr. Cornelia Jokisch, Tanja Karl
Tel.: +49 (0)211/4560-998/-999
Fax: +49 (0)211/4560-8548
Email: JokischC@messe-duesseldorf.de

Source: EuroShop

Kesko partners with Tieto to accelerate development of K-Group’s new digital services

HELSINKI, 2016-Oct-12 — /EPR Retail News/ — Kesko has signed an extensive cooperation agreement with Tieto to significantly enhance its functions related to the maintenance and development of ICT services. The renewal is aimed to accelerate the development of the K-Group’s new digital services and the improvement of user experience.

”Tieto was chosen from among 20 leading ICT service companies, because it could best meet Kesko’s strategic requirements for the improvement of effectiveness and quality of continuous services, as well as investments in new technologies and competencies that underpin Kesko’s growth strategy,” says Chief Information Officer Arto Hiltunen.

The renewal will help unify the K-Group’s ICT services and system architecture. The change is aimed to enhance ICT functions, increase agility in the development of digital services and ensure uninterrupted business processes.

”The new, more cost effective, standardized ICT environment will enable us to invest more strongly in the development of new digital services for the K-Group customers, personnel and partners.”

The agreement signed with Tieto is for five years. Kesko’s other information and communication technology partners include, for example, Elisa, Fujitsu, OpusCapita and Gapgemini.

Kesko is a Finnish listed trading sector company. Kesko operates in the grocery trade, the building and technical trade and the car trade. Its divisions and chains act in close cooperation with retailer entrepreneurs and other partners. In 2015, Kesko’s net sales totalled €8.7 billion and it employed nearly 20,000 people. Kesko operates in Finland, Sweden, Norway, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Russia, Belarus and Poland. Kesko’s shares are listed on Nasdaq Helsinki. The company’s domicile and main premises are in Helsinki. www.kesko.fi

Further information:
Arto Hiltunen
Kesko Corporation
tel. +358 105 322 191

Source: Kesko

METRO Start-up Study 2015 shows digital tools continually gaining importance among restaurateurs and customers

  • METRO Start-up Study 2015 investigates the demand for digital tools and services in the hotel and food service industries
  • Young adults in particular want more digital services, like the option to reserve tables and pay via smartphone in restaurants and cafés
  • Business owners’ use of digital tools is so far largely limited to image-building and advertising
  • The mood among German food service start-ups is even better than last year

Düsseldorf, Germany, 2015-11-18 — /EPR Retail News/ — Fancy eating out? Why not use an app to reserve a table, select your meals and drinks from the digital menu and pay using your phone? This is what the future of the food service industry could look like if many consumers get their wish. The METRO Start-up Study 2015, conducted in collaboration with the German market research institute GfK, surveyed food service and hotel business owners and their customers. The representative survey shows that digital tools are continually gaining in importance among restaurateurs and customers. One in four Germans can imagine reserving a restaurant table online or via an app.

Customers also want to be able to pay using their mobile phones. One in five customers would like to settle their bill by phone, but only 8 per cent of businesses currently offer this option. When it comes to making use of digital technology, most business owners think primarily of websites, Facebook pages and online rating sites, according to the METRO Start-up Study 2015. Their declared aim is to make themselves more widely known and attract new customers. For instance, 60 per cent of businesses are active on social networks, and 84 per cent have an online presence – used by 21 per cent of consumers. The majority of businesses use digital accounting (60 per cent) and digital cash register systems (54 per cent). 47 per cent already use digital goods purchasing technologies. However, only one in five businesses uses digital technologies for personnel management.

“Our survey confirms that restaurateurs and hotel managers are recognising more and more the potentials of digital solutions, although these are still used quite moderately. At the same time, the interest in and the need for digital solutions among customers is rising.  This is a good opportunity for businesses to win customers through digital services,” says Olaf Koch, Chairman of the Management Board of METRO AG. Our study also reveals that it is primarily a lack of time that prevents business owners from investigating digital services. In addition, worries about data protection and investment risk also play a role. In future, we will be offering significant support to our customers when it comes to choosing the right digital services – to help them become even more successful in their day-to-day business.”

Entrepreneurs more optimistic than last year

Germans love restaurants: one in two regularly eats at one of the country’s nearly 75,000 establishments and the industry employs over 400,000 people – a good basis for the 2015 study. As in 2014, the study investigated the aims, motivating factors and attitudes of business owners. “The mood in the hotel and food service industries has improved again since 2014,” says Olaf Koch. “Our METRO Start-up Study shows that 80 per cent of self-employed businesspeople are satisfied with their situation.” Catering companies are particularly happy (88 per cent), compared with just 70 per cent of snack bar owners. Satisfaction levels are influenced primarily by the businesses’ financial situation – and by size: nine out of ten owners of businesses with an annual revenue of more than €500,000 describe themselves as satisfied.

Being one’s own boss is an important happiness factor: nearly all business owners (95 per cent) are positive about the fact that they can assume a high degree of responsibility. Creative work and scope for independent action are important positive aspects of being self-employed for eight out of ten business owners. The majority of business owners in the hotel and food service industries should therefore have achieved their expectations: for 81 per cent (6 percentage points lower than last year), the desire for independence was the most important factor driving the decision to set up their own business.

Shortage of qualified staff

The worry about finding suitable staff has risen by 8 percentage points compared with last year (79 per cent), and 93 per cent of restaurants regard the shortage of qualified staff as a big problem. In addition, even more business owners than last year (79 per cent compared with 70 per cent) are bothered by bureaucratic hurdles and industry regulations. The hotel industry in particular suffers from bureaucracy (87 per cent).

The METRO Start-up Study 2015

On behalf of METRO, the German market research institute GfK surveyed business owners in the food service and hotel industries about their attitudes, motivating factors and challenges, and the extent of digitisation in their businesses. It is the second study of its kind – the first one was conducted in 2014. Anonymous telephone interviews were carried out with a total of 350 people in September 2015. At the same time, GfK conducted a representative survey of German consumers (sample size: approximately 1,000 people) on expectations and user habits regarding digital services in the food service and hotel industries. The METRO Start-up Study 2015 can be accessed at www.metro-startupstudy.com.

METRO GROUP is one of the largest and most important international retailing companies. In the financial year 2014/15 it generated sales of around €59 billion. The company operates more than 2,000 stores in 30 countries and has a headcount of around 230,000 employees. The performance of METRO GROUP is based on the strength of its sales brands that operate independently in their respective market segments: METRO/MAKRO Cash & Carry – the international leader in self-service wholesale – Media Markt and Saturn – the European market leader in consumer electronics retailing and Real hypermarkets. More information on www.metrogroup.de

Corporate Communications
Metro-Straße 1
D-40235 Düsseldorf

Telephone: +49 211 6886-4252
Telefax: +49 211 6886-2001

E-Mail METRO GROUP: presse@metro.de