- 12 September 2012
The structural and socio demographics changes among consumers continue to undermine the popularity of traditional retailer formats. The rise of 'discount' stores, expanding specialist and convenience formats, increased transport costs, the development of single-person households and the increased prevalence of smaller basket size per trip point to the challenges facing the retail sector across Europe.
The future of retail will be heavily shaped by successful ‘Shopper Engagement’. It is increasingly vital to engage consumers in a more direct relationship and those that successfully achieve this will be best placed to grow.
The internet and mobile phones are forcing many retailers to turn to multichannel shopping. Traditional retailers have resources to expand into the online channel, a channel of immense growth. The high sales of 'smartphones' and' tablets' has led to new kinds of interaction with 'E-Commerce' and ' Mobile Commerce' becoming increasingly more important. Customers now demand information and instant communication: many of them very often access the retailers’ social networks and websites for information before buying.
Examples of new online concepts are: "Click & Collect" (i.e., where you make a shopping list online and choose which store to go to pick up your order from) an online shopping option that is growing amongst several supermarket chains.
Asda in the UK responded to criticism regarding the conditions in poultry factories by installing webcams so that customers could see their conditions live online. Aldi in Germany, and Ito Yokado in Japan, included QR codes on some products to offer extra information concerning their origin and traceability.
Now is the time for retailers and suppliers to innovate with the launch of new products, promotions, individual formats and new online concepts that fulfil the changing needs of consumers.
These developments are becoming more prevalent in Spain with more than one third of the population already having an "inseparable" Smartphone that is changing the way they purchase. 'Click & Collect' - the attractive alternative to online shopping and delivery service is currently being tested by both Auchan and Carrefour in Spain.