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Paris Retail Week: Trends in retail

An article by Mae-Va Moreau & Matthieu Barthe, VISEO Retail Consultants
September 20, 2016

Our retail consultants have gone roaming in the alleys of the Paris Retail Week, which took place from the 12th to the 14th of September 2016, and brought us back news of the trends that caught their attention.

The Paris Retail Week, a biennially occurring grand meeting of the retail community, addressing evolutions in physical retail, e-commerce, and expectations of actors in the field, was taking place in Paris from the 12th to the 14th of September 2016. Our retail consultants were there and brought us back their impressions of this year’s major trends.

One only needed to stroll through the Paris Retail Week to forgo any doubt regarding the future of retail. The concept of omnichannel retail is now ubiquitous. Every player at the tradeshow, from the makers of digital or physical tools, online or brick-and-mortar retail specialists, to analysts and designers, were offering omnichannel solutions. The digital transformation has arrived and it reaches deep into every aspect of retail.

Mobility at the heart of omnichannel retail

This transformation is first and foremost visible in the mobile aspect of modern retail. Be it in stores, where point of sales now almost all take the form of tablets (Aures, Verifone, 4POS) ; in the back office, where scanners are being built around smartphones (Mobilebase); or even in the hands of clients for whose own devices are being used by stores (mShop).

For instance, for a company like Aures the very last step of the customer experience, payment, is fundamental and shouldn’t be neglected. This creator of point of sales equipment strives to create an atmosphere favorable to purchases for clients by making point of sales almost disappear within the overall design of stores. Retailers Histoire d’Or has successfully implemented this strategy by hiding its checkout equipment in plain sight within jewelry showcases. The immediate effect is a unified visual identity and a relaxed ambiance helping customers disconnect their shopping experience from the act of paying.

This emphasis on more mobility comes with an in-depth transformation of the client’s shopping experience. In order to help convert as many clients as is possible, a wealth of innovations have been introduced to facilitate customers’ experience at the moment of payment (Ingenico, Verifone). Points of sale themselves are becoming more mobile and coming to the clients (Datalogic), when it’s not the latter who become their own checkout points thanks to mobile payment applications. As for online retail, this trend manifests itself in the multiplication of offers allowing for immediate payments, be it within social networks – which now allow users to make a purchase from their activity feed, without being redirected to a payment page – or through third party payment solutions (Oney and its integrated payment system enabling purchases in monthly instalments).

Far from having a divisive effect, omnichannel retail is leading to a convergence of physical and online retail. One needs only look at the multiplication of web-to-store, mobile-to-store or store-to-web solutions. This phenomenon is benefitial to both clients – who are now able to get an item purchased online refunded in store (Adyen) – and retailers – who can tremendously increase conversion rates by having physical stores benefit from online stocks (Cegid).

Phygital retail: digital tools are reinventing physical retail

Beyond this fusion of distribution channels, the entire sales model is being reinvented. Flagship stores are not the only ones to benefit from enriched in-store experiences through sensorial marketing (Deepidoo) and enriched reality (Toshiba) and those tools are now being extended to second-line stores. Whether it takes the form of entire chains being reshaped or concept-stores tailor-made for their local markets (Hub One, Cylande and its connected fitting room which lets customers discover pieces of clothing and accessories related to what they are trying on). With the integration of components addressing sight, sound and even smell, the contemporary store is not only a showroom but the place of a real-life experience of the brand.

This evolution is sustained by the development of a multiplicity of tools which range from augmented reality applications to the distribution of promotions by pushing them directly to customers’ smartphones. Thanks to its ability to observe the movements, focus points and habits of customers online as much as in-store (Tyco, Nedap), modern retail can learn more than ever about its clients.

To address this flurry of data a variety of solutions for analysis, reporting and even prediction have sprung on the market (Salesforce, Demandware). In spite of a rapidly evolving legal framework, information gathering is becoming a critical point for modern retailers. Its promise: The deployment of offers taylor-made for every clients and, consequently, increased fidelity and conversion rates. The future will be phygital and retail will be all the better.

 

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