Digital technologies are transforming the consumer journey, as well as communications between brands and retailers

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Digital technologies are transforming the consumer journey, as well as communications between brands and retailers

par Florence4 March 20190 commentaires

With the rise in new digital technologies, consumers are becoming consumer-actors

Consumers are seeking out more and more information about the products they purchase. The digital world, with its wealth of information available, has turned these consumers into consumer-actors, participating actively in the entire purchasing journey and even in the co-creation of brands’ offerings: they read, learn, evaluate their choices, make selections, leave comments, and share their opinions. To do this, consumers need access to complete and detailed product information. At the same time, digital technologies have led to the development of e-commerce, as well as new distribution channels such as Click and Collect, online pure players, marketplaces, etc.

A greater need for product data

With these new developments, it is more important than ever for brands and retailers to collaborate and share data on products that are being sold, to ensure that this data meets consumer needs. E-commerce sites selling mass-market products need high-quality, digitized, and up-to-date data for their product pages.

European legislation has established labeling regulations for food items, making it necessary for companies to provide consumers with access to the same amount of information online as they would have if they were buying the product in a bricks-and-mortar store (composition and ingredients list, nutritional values, allergens, customer service contact, preparation instructions, hazardous materials information, storage instructions, etc.)

The implementation of European regulations (notably INCO n°1169/2011 for food products) is now monitored by the DGCCRF* to ensure that consumers have access to the product information they need, and that this information is as transparent as possible. (* the Directorate-General for Competition, Consumer Affairs and Prevention of Fraud in France)

This means that product data has become a key element of the relationships between brands, retailers and consumers — and sharing this data has become a challenge.

The launch of collaborative platforms for brands and retailers

The solution: a collaborative platform that both brands and retailers can contribute to. These platforms are opening the door to a new way of working, collaborating and sharing data that is essential for selling products the retail sector (regulatory product information, logistical data, instructions for use, etc.)

This is the approach that Alkemics has taken. Founded three years ago and currently used by more than 2700 brands and 90% of grocery e-commerce sites in France, this solution enables both brands and retailers to be:

Closer to the end consumer — increasing product transparency by collecting product data such as nutritional information, allergens and exact product composition, product tutorials, etc. and sharing it with consumers.

More collaborative — the platform is designed to encourage collaboration and communications between brands and retailers. It also gives brands more control over the product data that is visible at (digital) points of sale.

More efficient — the platform helps brands speed up their products’ time to market, and simplifies the product listing process (“90% time saved during the process of listing a new product,” Philippe Briffault – Yooji)

More innovative — this solution supports and speeds up retailers’ digital transformation, including SMEs, by facilitating the collection, centralization, standardization and sharing of high-quality, digitized data.

More transparent and secure — messages sent via the platform are traceable.

The Alkemics platform can be used by both large and small brands, enabling them to collaborate with retailers. This “plug and play” solution offers significant productivity gains, even for smaller teams. All you need is an internet connection!

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Florence

Après 10ans d'expérience dans les équipes commerciales, category management et marketing de grands groupes industriels (Beiersdorf, Colgate Palmolive), Florence a rejoint la start-up Alkemics à ses débuts en apportant son expertise métier retail. Elle accompagne désormais le développement et la promotion de la plateforme en tant que directrice marketing.

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A key message from Back From Vivatech: today’s technological innovations will determine the consumer habits of tomorrow

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A key message from Back From Vivatech: today’s technological innovations will determine the consumer habits of tomorrow

par Florence14 June 20180 commentaires

During the Back from Vivatech conference, held by the Institut du Commerce Connecté on June 4th, Antoine Durieux, CEO and founder of Alkemics, took participating retailers on a whirlwind tour of key innovations throughout history.

Did the inventors of the steam engine, at the beginning of the 19th century, know that their invention would contribute to the rise of department stores?
How about the European manufacturers that hastened the trend towards widespread car ownership in the 50s? Did they envision supermarkets and their huge parking lots?
In the 70s, military researchers in the United States created the Arpanet network, predecessor to the internet. Did they have e-commerce in mind?
Probably not! Nonetheless, these days, the link between these significant technological innovations and changes to consumption habits seems clear.

 

Let’s look ahead to the near future: what new developments will today’s changes and innovations result in?

 

Automation of production chains

In the mass-market retail industry, in China, the United States and Europe, innovators are undertaking ambitious projects and offering us insight into future trends. Ocado’s Smart Platform shows us some of the ways that automation can transform the production chain. Less time is needed to prepare orders, and consumers will soon consider delivery in less than 24 hours to be the standard.

 

 

The internet and disintermediation

Another key transformation driving this trend is disintermediation and the development of the sharing economy. Thanks to their thousands of independent “shoppers” and a high-performing application, the American company Instacart is able to offer grocery delivery in less than an hour.

 

 

Availability of artificial intelligence resources

Large companies such as Amazon and Google are basing new innovations on the increased availability of artificial intelligence resources. With their voice assistants, they are aiming to change the way we make purchases online. 
AI will also transform bricks-and-mortar stores. Checkout counters – and especially long queues – will likely become a thing of the past. We’ve all been dreaming of this since the first Amazon Go opened in Seattle at the end of 2016. It’s already a reality in China for customers of Hema Fresh, whose 60 points of sale are equipped with SES Imagotag’s technologies. In addition, salespeople will have access to simulators with augmented reality, enabling them to refine and customize their advice.

 

Lower manufacturing costs

Finally, you’ve almost certainly started to see the effects of decreased manufacturing and transport costs. Thousands of small businesses have taken advantage of this opportunity to add local products to their offering. They’re also using new communication channels as much as possible to promote their brands, and it works! Consumers are showing support and interest in the trend towards buying local. They consider certain purchases to be an expression of civic engagement. Observing this, American Apparel has brought part of its manufacturing operations back to the United States. On its website, the brand offers two versions of its classic hooded sweatshirt, “Made in USA” and “Globally made”, giving customers the opportunity to choose.

Though it is impossible to anticipate all of the changes that these new innovations will result in, we can be sure that:

– they will simplify the consumer decision journey, erasing the lines between online and offline commerce
– their launch will require extremely effective data management, especially when it comes to product data

Numerous actors in mass-market retail are developing and strengthening various strategic partnerships. For example, in the past eight months, we have seen Auchan form an alliance with Alibaba, the Casino group partner with Ocado, collaborations between Monoprix and Amazon, as well as Carrefour’s partnerships with Tencent and then Google.

At the same time, consumer demands are changing very quickly. It’s important to keep up with these, rather than waiting for all of these changes to reveal their full potential.

To do this, it is absolutely essential to have access to digitized, structured, centralized data that can be accessed by all departments. This requires access to tools that facilitate the management of this data, and are also omnidepartment, omnichannel and omnipurpose. 
At the same time, it is also important to offer training to your teams, in order to help them gain new skills and get the most out of these new technologies and innovations.

Florence

Après 10ans d'expérience dans les équipes commerciales, category management et marketing de grands groupes industriels (Beiersdorf, Colgate Palmolive), Florence a rejoint la start-up Alkemics à ses débuts en apportant son expertise métier retail. Elle accompagne désormais le développement et la promotion de la plateforme en tant que directrice marketing.

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Digitization and collaboration: the two cornerstones of retail’s future

The latest news about Alkemics

Digitization and collaboration:

the two cornerstones of retail’s future

par Florence28 May 20180 commentaires

Collaboration is driving digitization in grocery market companies of all sizes

Transparency and authenticity: two words that encompass consumer expectations. Product data must be completely transparent and clear, going beyond regulatory requirements. Consumer interest is also trending towards local products, with a focus on healthy and environmentally-friendly food choices.

This means that retailers, already in the midst of a large-scale digital transformation, are also finding it necessary to integrate new types of product data. Tools need to be well-adapted to local products, whose sourcing process can sometimes prove to be complex. At the same time, companies are also focusing on increasingly-widespread omnichannel strategies. The goal: offer consumers a consistent experience, across stores, websites and e-commerce apps.

This omnichannel experience is based on 2 key elements:  customization and content marketing. With customization, consumers are offered a personalized experience, tailored to their habits, preferences and location. Marketing strategies also feature more detailed product content, including videos, tutorials and directions for use. This content is a valuable part of the customer journey: 60% of consumers research their (mass-market retail) products before making a purchase (Google study, France, 2015).

At the same time and together, brands and retailers are facing changes to consumers’ product preferences, as well as a transformation of the customer journey. It is therefore not surprising that they are looking for ways to speed up and simplify their methods of sharing product data. They are faced with the same questions: how can we ensure the compliance and effective structuring of digitized product data? How can we enrich this data and ensure consistency from one channel to the next? And of course, how can we optimize our operational efficiency through our data sharing methods?

On paper, these questions seem to suggest a complex process with many constraints. However, in practice, they can be addressed by an omnichannel product platform, on which product data, once digitized and structured, is available to all partners.

 

-- Antoine Durieux, Founder and CEO of Alkemics

This type of omnichannel product hub has several key characteristics:

  • It acts as a “Single Source of Truth” providing consistent information across both bricks-and-mortar and online channels, as well as to all other service providers, while also helping to steer companies away from the “silo mentality”. This all leads to tangible productivity gains.
  • This hub also centralizes product information, offering a more cost-effective process of increasing contact points and consumer interactions. It also speeds up communications, facilitating new business partnerships.
  • The hub also acts as a control room, and can be used to steer operations more effectively, as well as manage and track the data that is shared.
  • This type of hub is also easily accessible, as it falls into the category of a SaaS (Software-as-a-Service) platform. Companies using the software have no deployment or IT maintenance to manage, and there’s no need to have an IT department to use it. Whether a large company or SME, every collaborator can connect to the platform, making it easier to focus on their core business.

This is why an omnichannel product hub is already seen as an essential tool that can help retailers and brands accelerate their digitization process. This is an urgent need, as consumers are quickly adopting the many opportunities offered by the digital world, which many small and medium-sized businesses have not yet taken advantage of.

It’s in the interest of all actors in the supermarket sector that SMEs speed up their digitization process, for a simple reason: SMEs are currently driving the growth of the market. Two-thirds of the supermarket sector’s 2017 growth came from SMEs (Nielsen). This is why it is important to facilitate collaborations among all market actors, and why using an omnichannel hub also contributes to strengthening the momentum of an innovation-driven ecosystem.

Global Retail News article, May 2018

Florence

Après 10ans d'expérience dans les équipes commerciales, category management et marketing de grands groupes industriels (Beiersdorf, Colgate Palmolive), Florence a rejoint la start-up Alkemics à ses débuts en apportant son expertise métier retail. Elle accompagne désormais le développement et la promotion de la plateforme en tant que directrice marketing.

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Erasing the barriers between online and offline business: Amazon’s acquisition of Whole Foods

The latest news about Alkemics

Erasing the barriers between online and offline business: Amazon’s acquisition of Whole Foods

par Florence27 April 20180 commentaires

An Interview with Florence di Nicola, Marketing Director at Alkemics, for Capital.fr

Will this acquisition transform the grocery retail sector?

FdN: Amazon has already transformed the retail sector over these past few years. The advent of new technologies and the arrival of online pure players has changed the status quo. In 2001, Amazon was in 157th place on Deloitte’s list of the world’s largest retailers. They held 6th place in 2016.

Amazon’s acquisition of Whole Foods Market last year will significantly boost their development in grocery retail, a retail sector in which Amazon has historically been less present. 
But above all, this brand acquisition hints at a new vision of retail: the lines between online and offline commerce are being erased. The consumer is everywhere — they are “multi-device” and multi-channel! Companies need to reach them at all contact points, throughout the entire purchasing journey. Amazon is aware that not 100% of purchases are made online (especially when it comes to groceries and fresh foods). Over the past few months, the pure player has already been reimagining bricks-and-mortar stores, with innovations such as checkout-free stores and Amazon lockers. The synergies between the worlds of online and offline business are becoming more apparent, and can also be seen in other initiatives such as the opening of More Mall, Alibaba’s first shopping centre, in China last year, as well as the e-commerce collaboration between Walmart and Google Express. A large-scale transformation is underway, and lines are being erased.

What were Amazon’s motivations behind this grocery sector acquisition?

FdN: This acquisition of this network of stores will enable Amazon to increase the agility of their supply chain and delivery system, relocating their warehouses to be closer to consumer hotspots near municipalities. Thanks to the large network of Whole Foods Market stores (460 stores in North America and in England), Amazon will be able to offer an undoubtedly competitive grocery retail model. 
The acquisition of Whole Foods also offers Amazon access to their well-informed and quality-focused customer base, and will allow them to capitalize on the American grocery brand in order to develop their new grocery offering. Amazon has also clearly stated their desire to make organic and natural products more accessible to everyone via this acquisition, so we can expect a small transformation in the organic food sector, which has historically been led by specialty retailers selling typically premium-priced goods.

Who will benefit the most from this new trend in omnichannel retail?

FdN: Traditional market players are becoming aware of the importance of developing omnichannel strategies in anticipation of future changes. They should base these on what has worked for them in the past: their expertise in offline retail, bricks and mortar stores, and knowledge of the customer experience. Those who will benefit the most are those who who are able to address changing consumer expectations —such as a diverse offering, local products, and increased product transparency — via an omnichannel approach, while offering the highest possible quality of service. 
In the future, success will depend on companies digitizing, optimizing and streamlining their product listing process, which will enable them to offer accurate and detailed product data, developed with both online and bricks and mortar retailers in mind.

 This is especially important in specialty food sectors such as the organics sector, in which companies mainly market their offerings to consumers who like to stay informed about the products they purchase.

Florence

Après 10ans d'expérience dans les équipes commerciales, category management et marketing de grands groupes industriels (Beiersdorf, Colgate Palmolive), Florence a rejoint la start-up Alkemics à ses débuts en apportant son expertise métier retail. Elle accompagne désormais le développement et la promotion de la plateforme en tant que directrice marketing.

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