MediaMarktSaturn sails on the cutting edge of retail digitalisation

Robots, virtual reality, smart shelf and in-store navigation are all going to change the way people shop. But what are the timelines on these? We put the question to MediaMarktSaturn Retail Group’s chief digital officer, Martin Wild – responsible for innovation and digital transformation at the group.

We constantly scan the market for new technologies and trends. And as soon as we’ve discovered an exciting new technology or concept that is relevant to us, we start testing it. A good example is the introduction of our virtual reality store. We were quick to spot the potential of virtual and augmented reality and began testing it in various scenarios. The result is now the first VR discovery world for consumer electronics in Europe. Or take our Retailtech Hub accelerator. Together with other retail partners, we’re now helping develop start- ups’ innovative business ideas for a much greater reach and are integrating them into our own business or participating in new business models. True to the motto “Try fast, fail fast and adjust even faster”, my recommendation to the industry today is to try out and test as much as possible! We want to gain experience while others are still busy talking.

The digitisation of retail has already completely changed the shopping behaviour of our customers. Technologies such as robots, VR and in- store navigation systems will reinforce this trend. Whereas previously, customers had the choice between ordering a product online and waiting one or two days for it to be delivered, or visiting a store with the risk that the desired item was out of stock, these two channels and our customers’ homes are now so well integrated that these channels perfectly combine their respective advantages. Customers can now order products in store from the online range, or for instance reserve the desired product in a particular store using an app for collection later on. Service robots that guide them to the item they’re looking for, virtual reality stores enabling them to directly explore the product world from home and make purchases, and even in-store navigation systems continue to expand the options for our customers. Over the next ten years, retail looks set to change significantly, and thanks to digitisation it will probably undergo “hyperpersonalisation”.