Energising retail to achieve a sustainable future

What does the retail business of the future look like from an energy and sustainability perspective; and what technologies, innovations and solutions must be scaled up to achieve that sustainable future, today? E.ON's head of segment sales, retail and logistics Jan Wollesen explains.

Energising retail to achieve a sustainable future

The future of retail is neither online nor offline. Rather, it will be a perfect mix of the two, sharing a seamless customer experience. The journey customers take will become more important than today, especially for bigger brands.

Brick and mortar high-street shops will follow more of a showroom concept, designed to allow the customer to discover and try things, enhancing their experience. The journey will then continue online. Together, the offline and online elements will merge into one unified, personal shopping experience.

Those in the retail sector will need to adapt in order to succeed. The top retail players will be those that have the best unified online and offline process, while others will disappear from the scene.

So where does energy fit in? From an energy efficiency and sustainability perspective, every technology will be valued by its contribution to enhancing the core retail process. These processes will include every online and offline customer experience, with a focus on products and services.

Increasing share of renewable energy generation will lead to lower prices. Also, most highstreet stores will feature energy-efficient LED lighting, optimised heating, ventilation and air conditioning, and a remote control to make using them efficiently easy. These will use even less energy than they do now, so you won’t need to focus on them from an energy point of view. The key areas to focus on from an efficiency and sustainability perspective will be warehousing, IT and inner-city transport and delivery.

Strengthened position

But what does this mean for your business today? Improving your energy sustainability now will strengthen your position within a fierce market, both online and offline.

At E.ON, it’s our aim to help businesses become more energy-efficient. By connecting a business’ assets, you can control them remotely and have easy management of a whole portfolio. More than 5,000 stores, across a range of the most well-known highstreet and online brands, are connected and controlled by E.ON’s Energy Management Centre. Creating this wealth of data will help to further improve a retailer’s portfolio, and this data can help drive retail decisions. This can also help keep your business up and running. 70% of incidents that are reported to our Energy Management Centre are likely to be resolved remotely, without disturbing store operation and the need for technicians at customer site.

Most technologies needed for the future of retail are already available today.

We at E.ON aren’t wedded to a specific product or technology, which means we’ll always find the best solution to your business’ specific needs. The future is bright for retailers who adapt to the needs of their customers. The merchants who will find success in upcoming years are the ones that successfully evolve along with consumers

Jan Wollesen is the head of segment sales, retail & logistics at E.ON

Achieving a sustainable future for retail: The report

This industry viewpoint first appeared in edie’s latest sector insight report, which provides an in-depth exploration of the steps that sustainability and energy professionals within Britain’s retail industry can take to achieve a sustainable future, today.

This report, produced in association with E.ON, is available to read in full, for free, here.


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