#CatalystEU Recap: Top Trends and Predictions from Planet Retail

At Catalyst Europe 2017, in a schedule packed with the crème de la crème of industry insiders, we had the honour to hear insights from Natalie Berg, retail insights director at Planet Retail.

A regular TV and radio commentator for UK retail news (you may have seen her on BBC, Sky, CNBC, or Bloomberg), Berg is responsible for driving Planet Retail’s strategic insights and has over a decade of experience providing analysis and opinion on the world’s largest retailers, focusing on supermarkets, discounting and online retail.

Berg’s session tackled the shifting retail landscape at a time when Western Europe is entering a period of dynamic change. In her session, Berg identified the top trends impacting retailers and consumers across the region and pinpointed the top trends by key markets. She also demonstrated changing channel dynamics and predicted what the Western European retail landscape will look in five years’ time.

Berg established a few major trends in today’s retail landscape. Starting with the segmentation of the shopper journey, she reminded us that shopping is now all about convenience and experience. Berg also identified the slow convergence of the physical and digital. Indeed, the future will see fewer — but more impactful — stores, as replenishment buying will automatically occur online, leaving in-store shopping for experience only. On a brighter note, brick-and-mortar stores can remain part of the digital experience by rethinking the retail space and executing tactics such as click and collect, leisure, and fulfilment hubs.

So what does the near future hold for retail, according to Berg? Here are her top five predictions for retail in the next five to 10 years:

  • ‘Commerce anywhere’ will be firmly established, but not all retailers will be on board.With new points of purchase emerging in homes, objects and media, ‘Commerce anywhere’ will not be news in five years. It will be an expectation, just as fulfilment (fast, reliable, free) was a differentiator five years ago.
  • More shoppers will actively opt out of certain purchasing decisions.
    This means there will be huge implications around price and trust. Auto-replenishment is the area set to have biggest impact.
  • Functional, routine-driven purchases will no longer have a place in-store.
    In grocery, expect increased polarisation between functional and emotional purchases. Brands will have no choice but to adapt, particularly in FMCG (Fast-Moving Consumer Goods). Suppliers of FMCG convenience products (such as nappies) need to focus on convenience, transparency and auto-replenishment.
  • Store-based retail will become more collaborative and personalised.
    In the near future, shopping in-store will be influenced by leisure and services, and will be perceived as the fulfilment hub. Other tactics will include workspace, customer loyalty and collaborations between stores (already being used by some stores part of an umbrella company).
  • In-store technology, such as virtual reality (to personalise the shopper experience), augmented reality (to help shoppers navigate within the store) and contactless payments, will become an expectation, not a differentiator.
    Just as customers now expect speedy, free delivery, in-store tech will be the norm in five to 10 years.

With so many exciting things coming up in the near future for physical stores and e-commerce, we continue to watch the retail space! Stay tuned for more #CatalystEU recaps. For more industry news, opinions and insights, subscribe to our blog here.

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