Great success for the third edition of Supermarket 2025, which was held in Florence on March 20-21: the international event, organized by Retail Institute Italy in collaboration with EHI Retail Institute, brought together Executive and C-Level of some of the most important entities of the large-scale retail distribution in Italy, Germany, France, UK, and USA and an audience of journalists and industry experts of different countries, all involved in sessions of analysis and debates on trends, strategies, and future scenarios of the modern supermarket.
Representatives of leading companies such as Carrefour, Conad, Coop Italia, Crai, EDEKA Ueltzhöfer, Finiper, VéGé Group, Intermarché, Magazzini Gabrielli, Metro NX-Food, NaturaSì, R&B Mediobanca were the protagonists of two days of panels and discussions with large-scale retail experts and international best practices like Sprouts and 7Fresh (Jd.com), with the aim of outlining the strategic guidelines for the future of the industry.
Debates and presentations have ranged from the economic scenario to the new formats, from in-store technologies to omnichannel, from start-ups to innovation labs, from the management of the perishable and non-perishable assortment to product innovation, up to the possible impacts of “trade wars” on the final consumer.
This is a summary in 10 points of what we have learned during the event, organized in collaboration with Google, main partner of the initative, and also with Accenture, Coin Service , Coinstar , EatHappy, Molino Nicoli, PostePay, Salesforce.com, SCS Consulting and Storck:
1) In a competitive scenario like the current one, the starting point remains the quality of products and services;
2) Assortment: never before has the distinction between fresh goods and the rest of the grocery been so important. For fresh goods there is a revolution happening based on epigenetic techniques, which will produce an explosion of variety within the category. The remaining problems are the range of assortment, quality control and operating speed. Great attention must also be paid to the origin of the product as well as space management.
3) The consumer is at the heart of everything, today consumers create the brand around them (cit.). It is therefore essential to intersect trends and anticipate needs, as well as create new points of interest whitin the stores to allow for a revolutionized customer journey.
4) Stores must guarantee the highest level of customer service, offering an ever fluid experience both physically and virtually. The two differentiating factors: being purchasing speed and location accessibility.
5) Technological innovation is important, but it must be functional and non-invasive, a way to improve activities that reflect the required flexibility to adapt to the context, habits and income. An example? 7Fresh, part of jd.com, a company that seamlessly integrates the online and offline commerce while providing several highly technological tools: “magic mirrors” activated by taking a product from the shelves, robotic carts that follow shoppers between aisles, self-checkout and a facial recognition app, up to home delivery shopping, within 30 minutes from the order.
6) In this scenario, data analysis and artificial intelligence are excellent allies for large-scale retail transactions, but it is first necessary to simplify and partly rethink the business models (cit.).
7) Partnerships are needed to create a system at different levels: on one hand, finding the right way of cooperation between agriculture, industry and distribution, on the other hand, creating an ecosystem with innovative realities able to support the digital transformation of the industry (Start ups and Innovation Labs).
8) Staff training: it is essential to properly train the entire sales staff, which increasingly has a consultative role and must be able to identify, explain and recommend a product or service.
9) Competition: the challenges are changing, not only due to digitization happening but also to new consumption habits associated with different lifestyles. Just to give an example, the time spent cooking is increasingly reduced, so the demands of consumers are increasingly oriented toward the availability of supermarket ready-to-eat products, but also toward food delivery, which in fact erodes a slice – albeit still marginal – of the market.
10) Lastly: from a macroeconomic point of view, countries are faced by crucial challenges due to new emerging disruptions of the international economy, possibly even more then the crisis of 2008-2009.
To learn more about Supermarket2025, visit http://www.supermarket2025.com