Shoptalk Europe - Highlights From Day Two
With Day One setting the tone nicely, Day Two of Shoptalk Europe saw some of the giants of ecommerce set out their strategy for the future of the retail sector, with RJ Pittman, Chief Product Officer, eBay; Mariangela Marseglia, Director, Amazon Prime Now and Terry von Bibra, General Manager Europe, Alibaba Group among those addressing the audience during a busy schedule.
As Marseglia explained, the genesis of concepts like Amazon Prime Now lay with the need to “give people the time that they need to live their life, rather than drive around town for their grocery shop”; the epitome of the customer-first proposition that the company has excelled at.
Alibaba’s von Bibra echoed this statement in a presentation that summed up the state of mind of the modern consumer - one that doesn’t see a difference between traditional retail and ecommerce.
“The consumer does not care about online and offline,” he explained. “No consumer in the world gets up in the morning and says ‘I’m going to buy some shoes “online”, or goes into an electronics store and says ‘I’m going to buy a refrigerator “offline”. The only people that care about that are the people that sell shoes or refrigerators.”
It was a sentiment that has permeated through much of the event thus far - the realisation that the lines between ‘online’ and ‘offline’ are now so blurred, that they barely exist at all.
Defining Human Interaction
Other notable presentations included that of Richard Hearn of IBM’s ‘Watson’ AI division, who suggested that by 2020, 85% of all online interactions will happen “without having to engage with a human”; an indication of the growing prevalence of artificial intelligence in the online space.
“Our vision is to transform the world of customer engagement in a cognitive era,” he said, noting that AI technology is now so advanced, that personal service from an algorithm is likely to rival even the most dedicated customer service outlet.
Elsewhere, Joris Beckers of popular Dutch delivery platform Picnic presented the service as a “milkman” for the 21st century, an indication of how modern ecommerce is leaning on the community-driven principles of the past to develop winning concepts for the future.
Similarly, Ronan Harris of Google UK & Ireland shared his insight on how Google is seeking to drive “conversational and sensory engagement” between consumers and its services, very much leading the way in terms of digital personalisation.
In an era in which technology increasingly dictates so many aspects of our daily lives, many of today’s presentations sought to highlight the ‘human aspect’ of the rise of the robots. An interesting future awaits.
© 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.