Director of the Retail Department at Comexposium Group
– What are the current and future issues and evolutions for tomorrow’s retail industry?
We are actually living the creation of a real multi-channel retail, even if the subject has been discussed for the past 3 years.
Multi-channel retail, pretty much like E-commerce, truly involves an entire business activity being renovated under the impact of the ATAWAD (Any Time, Any Where, Any Device) revolution. Traditional channels are being questioned. Consumers are reinventing retail through its usages, with the help of technology innovation and social media.
In 2014, the worldwide e-commerce industry reached $1.316 trillion, thanks to two powerful countries, China and the U.S. It has been predicted that in 2018, this industry could reach $2.5 trillion, representing 8% of the worldwide retail sector (source: e-Marketer). This estimated growth can redefine the retail value chain. E-commerce was built on the acquisition of the physical retail market shares and depending on the geographical markets, this could meet the threshold effect. Thus it becomes necessary to re-invent it.
Point of Sales are also rapidly changing and are now adopting the e-commerce codes. Today, the connected consumer expects total transparency in terms of pricing and visibility on products’ available in stores. Mobility predominantly influences consumers’ lives, which is a logical link between the physical and digital worlds. According to Deloitte, mobile is becoming the extension of ourselves and brands must make it a strategic priority. Mobile Web is exploding and impacts users all over the world (39% growth according to Wearesocial). Besides, Web browsing evolves differently depending on devices: 62% via computer or laptop (-13% vs 2013), 31% on cellphones (+39% vs 2013), 7% via tablets (+17% vs 2013).
Though, connected shoppers using their mobile or tablet in store would get a higher conversion rate by 40% than a non-connected shopper (source: Deloitte USA 2015). Distributors should really take this into strong consideration.
– What are the big trends in the channel industry?
5 BIG TRENDS are emerging in retail:
- The « retailing » experience, meaning trade oriented towards customer experience
The « retailing » experience allows customers to discover new shopping experiences through entertainment (fashion shows, music festivals), by using various communication channels (interactive tablets and screens, social media campaigns) or by engaging the customer even more (participation to products’ creation and marketing ideas / co-creation).
We also start to observe a phenomenon with experiential and out of the box stores, carried by renowned brands and design agencies.
- Fine boarders between off and on-line retail
For the past 2 years, we’ve observed an increasing number of stores’ created by e-commerce players. Pop-up stores, are a great example of how direct and real-life contact with customers is essential, even if it’s not a long run.
Vice versa, physical stores are implementing online commerce codes by using information personalization (like a products’ availability). Distributors will have to implement « big data » analysis to reach a really efficient level of customization. However, transparency in the collection and use of data will be decisive as consumers become more vigilant about their privacy. It is important to be totally clear on how data is collected, be trust-worthy.
- Accelerated retail, m-commerce, mobile payment
Another deep trend is reactivity and reducing the response (ephemeral fashion, products with a short availability, flash sales, ephemeral structures, etc.). In order to answer customers’ needs, retailers will need to react even more quickly to market availability for new products, interactions and or deliveries.
2015 paved the way for consumers to be able to purchase with connected objects available in stores. Retailers will also have to adapt by offering website accessibility in stores with features allowing the use of personal mobile devices.
- The use of social media
While social media can influence consumers’ choices, not all media platforms can become sales channels…at least for now. However « Call To Action » buttons are becoming more popular and can give a significant impetus to the idea of social commerce. <Call to Action> can track a social network’s impact on advertising and publications sales for an online merchant website.
New technologies and innovative competition will continue to shake up the retail industry. There isn’t a unique recipe to success; but multi-format and multi-channels will be a key factor:
- Reducing borders between various industries
- Specializing mono-products
- Mobile point of sales systems (pop-up stores, trucks and kiosks, etc.)
Additional usages that revolutionize stores:
- Indoor geolocation, beacons and BLE (1) accompanying vendors and customers as soon as they enter the store
- Image recognition or shazamization; the app recognizes objects listed in the catalog, and is able to give the price, product description, the availability in store and allows to conclude the act of purchase directly on the mobile phone.
- The quantified-self (small data/personal data) available in the applications
- The fast-delivery market: the one-hour delivery market welcomes new players like UberRUSH (delivery service in New York, with a bike).
(1) Bluetooth Low Energy
– How do you answer those trends and issues with the Paris Retail Week and the tradeshows E-commerce Paris and Digital (in) store?
Paris Retail Week started because we wanted to offer to our target audience a unique vision of the new retail codes, as well as a global overview of the industry’s innovations. Along with the E-commerce Paris event and long-lasting tradeshow about online commerce solutions, we decided to complete our events offered in 2015 by launching Digital(in)store, an event dedicated to the digitalization of stores (as its name suggests).
Paris is the connected commerce capital with a unique concept that we could define as « Brick & click, » and that represents all the aspects of today’s retail. The entire value chain that corresponds to Tomorrow’s Retail includes Big data, multi-channel CRM, mobile interactions, indoor geolocation and new distribution models. This positioning, unique in Europe, will gather 600 exhibitors and 30,000 professional attendees that will meet in Paris.
– What will be the highlights for this first edition?
We are actively preparing the program for these exceptional three days dedicated to retail players. Here is a preview:
– 4 plenary conferences will gather renowned French and International speakers.
– 2 Store Tours will give top decision makers the opportunity to discover Parisian stores presenting innovations, especially in terms of technologies, consumer experience, merchandising or simply venue and design.
– The E-Commerce Awards will reward promising players and innovations that will likely bring efficient answers to the market, regarding problems faced by e-merchants, retailers and brands in general.
– A Networking evening, to chill out and mingle, and to celebrate the retail industry in Paris.
I will see you in September to live and enjoy all these intense business and friendly moments!