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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.


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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