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Exclusive: Focusing on retail challenges

Rik Willemse, head of professional displays & solutions at Sony Europe, answers our questions on challenges in the retail market

Since becoming head of professional displays & solutions for Sony Europe, what have been your top focuses for the retail market?
We’ve seen the retail market undergo rapid changes to meet the needs of the modern shopper. With fewer and fewer of us going into stores regularly, we want to focus on making the in-store experience as enjoyable and as connected as possible. 

We also know that sustainability is something customers value – they want to know that the brand they are buying from uses the most ethical practices possible – and we know that building that trust between the consumer and the brand is imperative. 

In 2023, a brand should have a social purpose and values that their customer can relate to; it’s no longer just about what products a brand sells, people want to know that the brand they are buying from has the same concerns as them and represent their values.

What do you think are the main challenges for the market, particularly following the pandemic?
Due to the rise of digital technology, paired with the closure of stores because of Covid, the amount of people shopping in-store has massively declined. 

This makes it challenging to build the brand to customer relationship in person, and it’s a real challenge to do online due to the saturated retail market. 

We’re also seeing many retailers looking for partners that are able to deliver a solution and service they need all over Europe, to work in their many stores. 

We know that sustainability is becoming more of a focus in the industry, not just for the contents but for the entire store build. How are you adapting your display technology without compromising customer needs?
Sustainability is a major priority to Sony, but it doesn’t mean we have to compromise our customer needs. We have found ways to adapt to being consciously sustainable as well as accommodating our customers’ needs. 

As a company, we have our ‘Road to Zero’ campaign in which we pledge to have zero emissions by 2040, which is a huge influence on how our products are made. Our BRAVIA 4K professional displays are made from SORPLAS which is a Sony developed recycled plastic, and dramatically reduces the use of virgin plastic. 

With our new models we have reduced the weight and size which has enabled easier transportation to retailers with our eco packaging that has less ink and is more compact, making it more achievable to recycle. 

Sony’s recently launched new BRAVIA 4K professional displays. What’s new and how are they improving customers’ digital experience?
Our new BRAVIA BZL models take into consideration our customers’ latest requirements. 

The newest features include a deep black non-glare coating to provide the best image quality in bright, high ambient light environments. The displays also have a 24/7 operation for reduced maintenance requirements, paired with simple one-step setup which can be copied across multiple screens, creating an immersive but efficient display.