Retail’s smart approach to "new normal”

16 lutego 2021

Polish consumers still definitely prefer stationary shopping, especially groceries, everyday items and pharmaceuticals. According to Deloitte data, over 80 or even 90 percent of them intend to use offline channels in the coming weeks. Meanwhile, shops, offices and recreational areas are struggling with the sanitary regime and the limited number of people allowed in such facilities, looking for affordable methods for greater automation and savings. Combining available technologies in a new way allows for the creation of functional and cost-effective solutions that respond to many challenges. Example? Flow Point, a project created by IU Technology in cooperation with Panasonic Industry and SelfMaker, will smoothly manage the number of customers in the store, freeing employees from the tedious recording of entries and exits.


The COVID-19 pandemic has had a huge impact on many spheres of our lives. Undoubtedly, one of the sectors of the economy facing many new challenges is retail. Stricter sanitary regime, the need to adapt the operation of stores to the guidelines, that limit the volume of traffic in retail outlets – that all was a surprise in the first months of last year, which many companies tried to deal with in the short term, in a "guerrilla way”. A store employee standing at the entrance with a piece of paper, a pencil and a hand sanitizer is a common sight.


The prolonged period of fighting the epidemic threat quickly prompted the market to look at changes in the long term. Some directions of the retail operations automation have long been observed and now only gained a faster pace, but others responded to less known challenges. One such issue is the ever-changing guideline to the number of people that can stay on a given surface in a closed space.


While most of the market today is confident that they will need to invest in the development of automation, organizations still struggle to overcome the barriers that stand in their way. Meanwhile, good solutions for shops and supermarkets do not always require great investment and time.


"Counting people in real time, forcing one-way traffic in the store, and a functional, aesthetic solution that facilitates hand disinfection for those entering - is a daily concern of the retail industry. The appearance of a vaccine will not bring back the situation from before the pandemic for quite a long time. Entrepreneurs are also aware of the fact that they must be prepared for similar challenges in the future and to have a flexible approach to managing the flow of people in ground-based institutions. There is a need for affordable, scalable solutions that will improve the operation of the sector severely strained by the pandemic” says Krzysztof Świątczak, owner of IU Technology. "We used the system we developed in conjunction with Panasonic Industry screens and automatic SelfClean dispensers to create a Flow Point," adds Krzysztof Świątczak.


Potential? Only in Poland, according to GUS data for 2019, there are still over 330 thousand stores, of which 27.7% are those from the range of 1000 square meters area.


"As Panasonic Industry Poland, we more and more often leave the industry, delivering our products to the world of commerce - to propose solutions that improve the quality of life to an ever wider audience. We are present in a variety of spaces and areas such as home, community, business and travel. We want to build a better world through our contribution to environmental protection and other activities, both in B2C and B2B. In the case of this project, the fact that we are working together to fight the Covid-19 pandemic is even more pleasing” says Piotr Sodulski, Sales Manager at Panasonic Industry.


When the number of people matters


The Flow Point system proposed by IU Technology allows, at a low cost, to smoothly manage the maintenance of strict sanitary safety standards without the need to engage the staff to control the number of visitors to stores and shopping malls.

The system can be configured to the requirements and capabilities of a given store. A single Flow Point device is able to verify entrance traffic up to the width of 430 m. So it will also be used in shopping malls. The small stand is equipped with sensors, LCD touch screen, audible and visual indicator, automatic liquid dispenser for hand disinfection and is connected to a Cloud type platform that allows you to view the statistics and status of the device.


On the screen, you can, for example, display information about the limit of people inside and the current number of customers in the store. The signal lamp and the message on the display will inform other people if they can enter or not. If the permissible number of people is exceeded, a sound and light warning will be triggered. As part of the extended option, you can for example force one-way movement in the entrance.


“In case of stores with several entrances, Flow Point devices placed next to each of them communicate with each other and have consistent information about the current number of people inside. This is a great convenience for retailers who so far had to, for example, close some doors to manage customer traffic offline. Thanks to the simplicity of this solution, without overwhelming it with an excessive number of functionalities, we managed to jointly propose a system, the cost of which can be returned to the store owners after a month due to freeing human resources for other, more income-generating tasks", says Krzysztof Świątczak from IU Technology .



IU Technology operates in the field of modern information technologies and produces software for business process management. It has over twenty own products. Their systems are distinguished by,  use of HTML 5 technology, high scalability, modularity and adaptability.


Panasonic Industry Poland sp. z o.o. deals with the production and distribution of electronic components, such as: electromechanical relays, semiconductor relays, switches and connectors. The product portfolio also includes industrial sensors, programmable controllers, industrial drives and laser marking systems. In close cooperation with European customers, Panasonic offers solutions for various business areas, such as the automotive industry, electric vehicles, automation of technological processes and buildings, renewable energy sources and environmental management.


SelfMaker is a technology company that designs and builds multifunctional self-service devices, integration tools and software fully adapted to the current experience and future needs of customers. It offers self-service kiosks that support service processes in various industries, such as: retail sales, restaurants, receptions, banking, public transport.

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