German furniture retailer, Ostermann, merges online and physical shopping experience with Reply solution

Customers of furniture company Ostermann won’t need to spend time browsing store shelves anymore. An indoor navigation solution developed by Italian company Reply as part of the Street Smart Retail initiative of EIT Digital, will make sure they find the items they are looking for with ease.

Ostermann, the largest furnishing company in Germany, has provided its sales chain Trends with a new digital innovation, aimed at bridging the gap between online and physical shopping experiences.

The Digital Retail Suite developed by Reply, adopted by Ostermann under the “Hi Engage” brand, allows shoppers visiting their stores to easily identify the products they have been previously browsing on the shop’s website. Using their smartphones and the Trends app, they will be guided to their furniture of choice thanks to beacon devices spread across the store.

“Reply is fully committed to EIT Digital’s development of disruptive innovations for the retail value chain in Europe. In the role of leading the Smart Retail initiative, our company has been leveraging state-of-the-art technology to improve its services to customers like Trends, and EIT Digital was the key organisation in supporting the research and development towards market success,” Reply’s partner Luigi Cicchese says.

Hi Engage can actually do much more than just helping customers find their way through the stores: it is a contextual marketing solution that enables brands and companies to open a new, direct and personal channel of communication with their customers. The technology can send text, audio and video messages in multiple languages as well as managing barcodes and QR codes.

Any company using the Hi Engage solution can carry customers throughout the whole shopping experience: from the initial stimulus to the in-store experience where consumers are in the right place, at the right time to receive tailored communications. In Ostermann’s case they have integrated the AWS (Amazon Web Services) back-end architecture used to communicate with the mobile application with the pre-existent Trends e-commerce system.

“The Street Smart Retail initiative has created solutions to serve a “blended retail” proposition, providing the customers with in-store and on-line services with product information, discounts and delivery options. For the retailer and sales staff, it brings in more data about consumers, which can be used to improve performance at both the store and retail chain levels,” Petri Liuha, who leads the Digital Industry Action Line says.