Today’s consumers engage with brands, through billions of searches, videos, sites, social media and apps as well as physical retail locations.
Despite the steady growth of e-commerce, according to eMarketer, U.S. consumer spending in stores will reach $5 trillion by 2020.
So, what keeps retailers up at night?
- A generational shift: younger consumers, even when going to brick-and-mortar locations, are seeking a shopping experience blended with modern technology and social media.
- Labor costs continue to rise: 2016 saw 14 states implement higher minimum wages, and several more states and cities are considering bills that would eventually boost hourly pay. Wal-Mart CFO said that costs related to wages and training alone would hinder operating profits by some $1.5 billion in 2017.
- Retailers in most segments are in a no-growth, zero-sum environment: this is why they know it is imperative to devise tactics to steal market share from the competition. Case in point is the growing number of online merchants opening physical storefronts because an omnichannel presence is key to greater visibility and brand awareness.
In the fierce battle for market share, help comes from overseas.
In such highly competitive and fast-evolving retail environment, an innovative Italian company called WIB (Warehouse in a Box) has entered the U.S. market to help brands bridge the gap between online and offline shopping, enhancing the omnichannel experience.
WIB’s CEO, Nino Lo Iacono (a Mechatronic Engineer from the Polytechnic of Turin) has created a full line of NEXT-GEN vending machines which are so much more than delivery systems. Their interactive software and smart automation provide a continuous shopping experience across all channels.
"WIB is the answer to all Omnichannel expectations. It seamlessly integrates with e-commerce and physical locations. And it makes it FUN to shop: in a media-dominated environment, WIB can stream live videos such as product launches or GoPro style ads; it offers social media connectivity and real-time, geo-focused special deals (BOGO, sampling…) depending on the inventory inside each unit.” Says Lo Iacono.
In general, Italian machinery and related technologies are globally appreciated and trusted for their high-quality, innovation, design and flexible approach; in fact, this sector is the number one Italian export into the U.S. with a volume close to $5 billion/year.
It's a warehouse, it’s a store, it’s an e-commerce…
WIB is having some significant early successes both in Europe and the U.S., because of its vast marketing and sales capabilities, Big Data processing and patented technologies.
A recent article published by TechRepublic illustrates in detail WIB’s wide reach into the omni channel experience, data analysis and IOT.
"It is a system far superior to anything US/Canadian in the market today" states WIB's first large U.S. customer. "Last but not least, WIB’s Italian Design is omni-present and intriguing to the eye. It stimulates curiosity and draws customers into its “web,” he adds.
A novel approach to vending
WIB is being tested by the largest Italian supermarket chain. Its patented multi-temperature, modular structure can handle different SKU’s regardless of perishability, shape and fragility (Beverage, Food, Gift items…) making it the ideal choice for retailers with the most diverse needs.
Alfonso Correale, WIB's VP of Marketing and Sales, says: "We always like to work closely with retailers to create those solutions that can lead to the most fruitful results. In doing so, we strive to provide quality service across all facets of our business, because our customers' success is our success."
This video shows another one of WIB's exclusive features: its “Picking Technology” which allows customers to buy multiple items in ONE Transaction.