Chapter 5: The Future Store Initiative: Shopping for Knowledge/Knowledge for Shopping
1 Ard-Pieter de Man and Tim Graczewski Building the retail store of the future with widely diﬀerent partners requires much attention to the governance of knowledge and innovation processes. The German supermarket chain METRO did so eﬀectively. This case highlights the importance of informal solution concepts, in combination with a clear vision, a strong lead partner and a tight deadline in bringing about the desired result. This recipe worked for the 50 companies that needed to come together to create an entirely new shopping experience. INTRODUCTION ‘The Future Store Initiative is our R&D lab’, says Gerd Wolfram, METRO Group’s managing director of Information Technology and leader of the Initiative. ‘By creating a real-life future store METRO Group and partners are able to test and develop new technologies that form the basis of innovation in retailing.’ This, in essence, describes METRO Group’s Future Store Initiative, a working supermarket in which a number of new concepts and technologies for the retail industry are developed and tested in practice. Initiated by the German-based METRO Group, the world’s third largest retailer, the Future Store Initiative brings together 58 companies2 that jointly aim to drive innovation in the retail sector and to set technology standards for the industry. Among the new technologies developed in the store are customer-friendly technologies enabling automated check-out and vegetable weighing scales that recognize the products that are put on them to be weighed. One of the core technologies implemented is RFID,3 for which METRO Group wanted...
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