Shoptalk Europe - Highlights From Day One
Commencing with a mesmerising performance by the Copenhagen Drummers, the first day of Shoptalk Europe more than lived up to its billing as the most dynamic retail conference taking place in Europe this year.
As founder and CEO Anil Aggarwal, explained, the event’s goal is to “help you answer the hard questions”, and the first day saw eye-opening presentations from established players such as Tesco and DIA, as well as the opinion-formers of today, such as Dollar Shave Club, a male grooming startup recently purchased by Unilever for $1 billion.
As Dollar Shave Club founder Michael Dubin explained, the name of the game in ‘direct to consumer’ businesses such as theirs is “learning as much about the customer as you possible can, and preferably from themselves”, a point that was touched upon by many of the speakers present.
It’s no longer a case that the customer is merely ‘king’; it’s that the customer is everything a business needs in order to succeed.
As Jerry Storch of Canada's Hudson’s Bay, which bought the Metro owned Galleria Kaufhof in 2015 explained, “what will win in the end are the all-channel retail brands that manage to tick all the boxes” in terms of what the consumer is looking for, adding that while many traditional operators are looking to “build a Model T”, they “can’t see the sports cars” that are being developed by their competitors.
Collaboration was also cited as a key driver of progress - retailers need to stop thinking in silos and embrace businesses that can add the X-factor to their own operations.
At DIA, for example, this was a high-profile tie-up with Amazon Prime in Barcelona and Madrid, which has facilitated the group’s desire to become a true “omni-channel player, transforming the way we interact with customers in stores”, as chief corporate officer Amando Sanchéz Falcón explained.
Similarly, Steven Lowy of Westfield, which operates some of the most impressive shopping malls in the world, called on traditional retailers to share data in order to compete with the online juggernaut.
“The whole concept of sharing data is so the experience between the retailer and consumer can be made stronger than ever,” he said. “Retailers that are predominantly physical in nature need to work out how to collaborate and share their data.”
Roll on day two, which will no doubt lead to further debate on where retail is headed, and the most effective way to get there.
© 2017 European Supermarket Magazine – your source for the latest retail news. Article by Stephen Wynne-Jones. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: The European Supermarket Magazine.