Toby Pickard, IGD London, the key note of New Retail Summit 2020, in an interview for RETAIL

The winners are retailers who turn shopping into an „omnichannel“ experience

In your opinion, how has grocery retailing changed over the last period? What would you highlight? How do you perceive the development in the Central European region?

Over the last ten years, we have seen significant changes in food and grocery retailing. We predicted and have seen the growth in discounters, convenience stores and online retailing.

The smartphone has helped transform the way people shop. 

We are also witnessing a growth in food-to-go, and an increase in shoppers concerns around health, local and sustainable products and practices of retailers and manufacturers.

What is the future of retail? What trends will be in the foreground? How will the purchasing process change?
The future of retail will continue to meet the growing and changing demands of shoppers. These changes are likely to focus on great quality, value and healthy products. Retailers will continue to make shopping as easy and convenient as possible to help shoppers save time. We expect to see more technological solutions to the purchasing process to make shopping an easier, more enjoyable and rewarding experience.

What technologies will be crucial in the short term when shopping? How will technological advances change the shopping process in-store, what Technologies will customers and retailers use the most?

IGD has identified the smartphone as the most critical technology in the short term, in terms of how it can help shoppers, store staff and retailers. We expect to see more retailers introducing quick payment solutions through smartphone apps, which can be useful for both shoppers and retailers as they don‘t have to invest in extra hardware.

We expect to see apps such as these go beyond just payment. They will help shoppers navigate stores, offer personal promotions and recommentations, and provide shoppers with information about products. 

What will be the role of sales staff in the future? Will staff ever be needed?

Sales staff will continue to have a vital role to play in helping shoppers in-store over the coming years. Where technology can free them up from time consuming tasks, such as price checks, in-store staff will instead be able to help and advise shoppers. Overall, this will add value to the shopping trip. 

What kind of customer services are expected to be important in the store of the future? (consulting, education, added value ...)

When looking at the store of the future, it is likely that retailers will offer more services, and these could include services that stretch beyond food and grocery shopping to areas such as wellbeing and helping the communities that they operate in. 

What is for a retailer necessary to do, what trends should they follow to be successful?

The key to future success for retailers will be to ensure they remain relevent to shoppers. They also need to be efficient and offer something different to stand out among their competitors. 

How important will be the connection/merge between physical store and e-commerce? What other sales channels seem to be interesting for the retailing of the future?

Retailers that are able to create an omnichannel shopping experience are likely to prosper in future as they will help meet changing shopper needs. This has the added benefit of allowing retailers to gain valuable information about their shoppers which they should be able to use to help service them better. 

Alibaba is a great example of why retailers need to ensure they are where the shopper is. Alibaba call this idea New Retail, it is about merging online with offline shopping and focusing on fulfilling the personalised needs of each customer.

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