Funded research


Service innovation for a successful digitization of the regional retail

DIGIONAL shows stationary small and medium sized retail enterprises (SME) in the region of Lower Bavaria, how they can use new digital technologies, concepts and strategies for their advantage and make the best use out of multi-channel strategies.

For the region of Lower Bavaria, retail has an important economic importance, which is mainly carried by the stationary retail sector, in particular by many small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). According to the Lower Bavarian Chamber of Industry and Commerce (IHK), retail sales in Lower Bavaria amounted to more than €7 billion in 2016. However, the regional stationary trade is under strong competitive pressure. On the one hand, there is an increasing concentration of retail structures towards urban agglomerations, to the detriment of rural regions. According to the IHK structural data, districts such as Regen, Freyung-Grafenau and Passau in particular exhibit below-average retail sales and below-average centrality figures in 2016. In addition to this concentration on urban areas, the constantly increasing turnover of online commerce is also a challenge for the entire region. Large, nationally and internationally operating retail groups make much better use of the potential of digitization (e. g. through the development of online channels and the integration of stationary and online retail) than SMEs.

Regional retailers face the challenge of digitalisation but are far from exploiting its potential. The degree of digitization is still extremely low at the moment. This applies particularly to the digitization of business processes, the development of multi-channel strategies and the creation of the necessary prerequisites for this in SMEs, such as business logic, flow of goods and logistics, and the use of digital technology. As a result of the developments currently described, there is a risk of a further loss of attractiveness of the regional stationary retailers and thus a drain of purchasing power from the region, particularly from smaller and medium-sized regional centres to large, nationally and internationally operating (online) retail groups.

The Project

The multi-year term of DIGIONAL is divided into four phases: In the first phase, an analysis of the status quo and the needs of the stationary retail sector in the field of digitization will be carried out and the results compared with other regions and approaches known in research. As part of this initial inventory, an online dealer survey is currently being conducted, to which stationary retailers are invited via email. In addition, consumers in the region are asked about their purchasing behaviour and requirements for stationary retailers.

In a second phase, a network of retailers and other partners will be established. Various workshops and events will present digital strategies, technologies, and tools, which are for example already used by large companies and may also be applicable in SMEs in an adapted form. In a dialogue process with the individual retailers, the need for digital strategies, technologies and tools is determined and digitization projects are selected for prototypical implementation.

In a third phase, digital strategies and technologies are adapted and implemented as well as measured and analysed. The evaluation is used to derive recommendations for the use of digitisation measures.

Finally, the findings from the experimental and prototypical implementations are elaborated in the form of guidelines, recommendations for action and training offers for sustainable technology transfer and made available to the public on the platform

The central objective of the project is to strengthen stationary retail with a focus on SMEs. Support structures are created and digital strategies and technologies adapted to the needs of SMEs are implemented. Through an analysis of the status quo of the region, the establishment of a retailer cluster and the experimental implementation of various digital strategies and technologies and recommendations for action derived from them, the region is gradually becoming a model region for the digitalization of small and medium-sized regional retail businesses.

Project Duration: 02/2018 - 09/2022

Project Amount: 1.957.415,- €

Projekt Website:

Further participating Institutions:


EFRE (Europäischer Fonds für regionale Entwicklung) Förderhinweis
DIGIONAL Projektlogo