Musikhaus Thomann in Treppendorf near Bamberg, founded in 1954, is an independent family business and the first German music retailer to launch its own website in the 1990s. With 1,700 employees, Thomann operates Europe’s largest online mail order business for musical instruments and equipment, serves over 17 million customers worldwide and has an extensive logistics and service center.
Digital Transformation in a Traditional Company
In 2019, the ambitious expansion and conversion of the store began, which will be the largest music store in the world with an impressive 15,000 square meters of sales space when it is completed in 2027. The new drum and brass departments have been created on two floors in the first construction phase completed to date. The second part of the building, which is currently under construction, is intended for acoustic guitars, keyboard and string instruments as well as studio technology. In the existing building, for which an extensive facelift is planned, music professionals will also find everything they need for lighting and system technology and DJ equipment.
“Our business model makes us exotic among musical instrument retailers. Our successful online store will be reflected in our bricks-and-mortar store, which focuses on comprehensive advice, by combining online and offline in a meaningful way using modern technology. We are putting our heart and soul into this project,” explains Florian Rittweger, Director Sales at Thomann and a musician himself, who is closely involved in the conversion and expansion of the store and is responsible for planning the digital projects at the long-established company.
“The use of LED technology now allows us to address customers flexibly and individually,” continues Rittweger. “This ranges from classic manufacturer promotions and bestseller lists of our most popular and best-selling products to video testimonials from well-known influencers from the music industry with whom we work.”
A benefit for customers and specialist staff
Two particular highlights are a 4.20 m x 3.27 m LED wall in the guitar department and an identical LED wall in the passageway to the new building in the drum department, which automatically plays content using a motion sensor. A particularly creative use with a personal touch here are videos specially produced by Thomann, which show various members of the advisory team playing drums.
“For the entire project, it was important for us to highlight our employees, who are all musicians themselves, as the people behind the online music store. After all, our high standards of sound online and offline advice in order to be able to recommend the right instrument or product for each customer is a cornerstone of our success,” says Rittweger.
Twelve LED strips above product displays and custom-made product application steles enable an interactive product search for specialist staff and customers. Digital price tags, linked to the database, update prices automatically and save time for the specialist staff, who can concentrate more on advising customers.
“With the digitalization of our stationary retail, in addition to our online retail, we wanted to create a special customer experience that is geared towards entertainment on the one hand and at the same time supports customers in their purchasing decisions as well as specialist staff in their work,” explains Rittweger. </blockquote
Compact Power: The Strength of Digital Signage Players
“When integrating the display hardware at Thomann, there was a high demand for visual appeal and a uniform appearance. At the same time, we needed the efficient use of PC hardware in order to be able to play a lot of individual content with one PC, as in the case of the LED displays above the product displays,” explains Johannes Fischer, the responsible project manager at the Göttingen-based software developer and expert in POS digitization xplace, who accompanied the implementation of the project and supplied all digital solutions from a single source.
Digital signage players from Giada are used in all departments to display individual content. The LED walls and product application steles are powered by Giada D611 Celeron models and Giada i58 models respectively. The in-house content management software BEECEEN from xplace controls all systems uniformly.
“We have had very good experiences with the Giada mini PCs in terms of quality, price-performance ratio and fast availability, even for very small quantities,” explains Matthias Koch, Head of Product Management at xplace, who was responsible for purchasing the technology. “The Munich-based value-added distributor Concept International distributes Giada PCs in German-speaking countries and has been a reliable and flexible partner for us for ten years, thanks to which we can always find the right PC for our applications.”
Florian Rittweger agrees: “We are extremely satisfied with the technology used, everything has worked perfectly so far. We are already looking forward to further planning with our partners regarding the latest technologies that we will use for the other construction phases. Giada players will also be used here.”