Press Releases

Press Release 10 August 2021

Retail in Europe Gearing Up For Next Phase

It is unprecedent times for retail worldwide, but for Europe, the challenge is much more than the pandemic. In fact, not only are brands, suppliers and their customers still navigating uncertainty arising from the COVID-19 crisis, but they must also seek solutions to the disruption from local matters like Brexit. Retail is constantly under pressure to adapt and keep pace with technology, consumer behaviour and the disruptive business models altering how consumers shop.
While increasing importance of omnichannel and a ‘difficult to please’ customer are huge challenges in themselves, with changing market dynamics because of different challenges in varied countries, the rules of business are rapidly shifting. Experts believe that European retail channel landscape will continue to evolve and adapt to ever-changing shopper and market needs. These changes will not only disrupt the retail scenario, but also impact manufacturing destinations and require quick adjustments to meet the fresh demands.
What are the shifts to watch out for?
1
Changing face of retail channels
The traditional clear-cut division of retail formats will get blurred. Dominant players Aldi and Lidl are increasingly becoming omnichannel to boost penetration, and the post-pandemic recession will make their value offer even more attractive to shoppers. Hypermarkets are expected to stagnate despite retailer efforts to revive the channel. Convenience stores are losing momentum as their conventional operators are challenged by both retailers outside the channel, and on-retailer players. Online stores will flourish like never before.
2
Omnichannel - the most sought-after format
Ultimately, the need for optimising channel and customer plans for an environment where consumer behaviour is increasingly transcending channels, and is constrained by a recessionary environment, has never been greater. A significant learning from 2020 was the rapid acceleration of omnichannel. Now, retailers will increasingly look beyond this, seeking ways of unifying the entire brand experience with every customer into a harmonised retail value chain. With the impact of COVID-19 extending into 2021 and beyond, the focus must now switch from reacting-and-adapting to creating.
3
Efforts to enhance consumer relationship
The next five years will see the rapid acceleration of algorithmic retail. This fundamentally changes the rules of engagement and will require upgrades in the use of AI, the Internet of Things (IoT), and machine learning to help streamline marketing, improve the customer experience, or perform critical tasks for operational efficiencies and business agility. Rather than thinking about the impact of each customer journey segment on every component in the commerce ecosystem, focus should be on unifying the entire brand experience with every customer.
4
Reinventing sustainability for credibility
One of the major highlights post the Covid outbreak has been the shift in the concept of sustainability from a ‘nice-to-have’ to an essential part of the retail offer. This will be further compounded by new international trading agreements with sustainable policies becoming legally mandated. With much uncertainty around who to trust in the supply chain, the key to winning is boosting mental availability to shoppers by making it easy to find sustainable products, services and information from brands and enhancing traceability.
 

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