Knowledge4Retail: Analysis, development and consolidation of a Knowledge4Retail ecosystem

Initial Situation

In order to be more competitive with international online groups, stationary retailers must combine their advantages in terms of customer trust and advisory skills with the opportunities offered by digitization. This requires detailed and comprehensive digital models of stores as well as sales and operational processes that are not available in aggregated form today. This data could enable a variety of new information services and applications that are geared to the individual needs of the retailer and the specifics of each store and its customers. Today, such services and applications are still mostly implemented as stand-alone software developments, which makes programming more expensive and more difficult.

Project Aim

The K4R project will create the technological basis for a new generation of information and planning systems in stationary retail trade and make this basis available to the retail ecosystem within the framework of a digital innovation platform. The platform technology is based on semantic digital twins (semdZ) - digital replicas that represent real shops and combine different data of a branch. The data - among others on products, store structure, customers and merchandise - are machine-understandable and thus enable the direct use of AI and robotics technologies.


The aim of the TUM sub-project is the analysis, development and consolidation of a Knowledge4Retail business ecosystem.

To this end, the business ecosystem in the retail sector will first be analyzed on the basis of ecosystem modelling and visualization. In addition, recommendations for action and concepts for the choice of platform business model, interface design from an ecosystem perspective, and partner co-evolution for the Knowledge4Retail platform are developed. These will be incorporated into the decision-making process for implementing the platform to enable the creation of a strong business ecosystem.

In order to establish the emerging business ecosystem of the Knowledge4Retail platform in a sustainable manner, a consolidation concept, a business model, and a governance model will also be developed. With a view to a sustainable design of the Knowledge4Retail ecosystem, the business model development will focus in particular on data licensing models. The governance model describes the roles of the stakeholders as well as the control and decision-making mechanisms within the ecosystem with a focus on data exchange formats.

Work Packages:

  • Analysis and development of a Knowledge4Retail ecosystem
  • Definition of a long-term concept for the implementation and establishment of the Knowledge4Retail ecosystem


The K4R platform enables retailers to use AI and robotics technologies cost-effectively and drives digitization in the stationary store in order to better support time-consuming manual processes with intelligent systems and thus increase competitiveness. The K4R platform addresses two main obstacles: the lack of knowledge about the exact, up-to-date structure of the store, and the lack of the ability to bundle all relevant data about the store, its customers and the merchandise in a standardized system.


Scientific Partners

Business Partners

Research Funding

Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy

Additional Information


Prof. Dr. Helmut Krcmar

Dr. Jörg Weking

Timo Böttcher, M.Sc. (Contact Person)