More than a thousand retailers and their suppliers attended Retail Summit 2018 to discuss how to achieve a balance in the newly shaped retail market: balance between brick-and-mortar vs. e-shops, human vs artificial intelligence, emotions vs. ratio. The market has been sharply changing, not only due to the presence of new technologies, but also due to explosion of wage costs, shifts in consumer demand, and appearance of new players.
HUMAN AS A SOURCE OF (IM)BALANCE
The program of Retail Summit 2018 logically started by a series of speeches dedicated to the key element of the market - the human. Psychiatrist Radkin Honzák told marketers that a person who is proudly labelled as a Homo sapiens sapiens (tumultuously reasonable) has been changed into Homo stupidus consumens. The current consumer is accustomed to the fact that when something does not work, he simply returns it, exchanges it or throws it away instead of fixing it. It has not only impacts on personal life but also on business. It is increasingly difficult to maintain a long-term relationship with a partner (and customer). Another significant source of imbalance is the development of our entire society. As the journalist and commentator Jindřich Šídlo (Seznam.cz) added, the general trust is fading - this is one of the phenomena that connects the media world with the world of business.
The real challenge for today's retail business was introduced by Jan Binar, president of the Association of Communication Agencies. He contested sharply the construct of a consumer, a man in a constant "shopping mood". The human, in his opinion, was never like this and will never be. There is no fidelity, just comfort and inertia. According to him, marketers should help people make their lives and choices simpler and less complicated.
MARKET BALANCE IS NO SCIENCE FICTION
The second program block was opened by Albrecht Hornbach, Chairman of the Board of Directors of HORNBACH Management AG. He highlighted the rapid changes and shifts of retail towards to digitization. However, he pointed out that one crucial aspect of business remains unchanged and as important now as it was in the past. Companies need to recognize key future challenges in early development stage and respond to them in time. Hornbach's approach proves that it pays off to think unconventionally and to try new ideas - even if there is no guarantee of success.
Espen B. Larsen, CEO of Penny Market, focused on the need of balance within the entire market ecosystem in which each player has to take on his role while realizing his goals. The marketers have a very important role in the "food chain", but it is also the responsible involvement of other interconnected stakeholders (suppliers, consumers or representatives of the state administration).
Grant Liversage, Chief Executive Officer of Plzeňský Prazdroj, sees the path to the business balance in preventing commoditization, in developing individual sales channels and achieving a "triple win" situation. This requires close cooperation between suppliers and their business partners, for example, in the field of customer demand planning, depending on the situation of particular retailers. Tomáš Formánek of Logio also pointed out the retailers' inability to work properly with prices throughout the ever-expanding product portfolio. Solutions that are internally called "product-slaughtering", are able to save tens of per cent of costs for suppliers and marketers using sophisticated analytics and artificial intelligence, as evidenced by specific numbers from companies in the Czech and the Slovak Republic.
CZECH RETAILERS SHOW THE WAY FORWARD
In the final program block was a domain of three top representatives of independent Czech companies, who share a clear vision of trading in the interconnected world.
Petr Borkovec, CEO of the group Sklizeno, presented the strategy of a Czech retailers of a new type. Sklizeno is based on its own distribution system, central gastronomic operations and off-line and on-line retailing. Significant growth factor is narrow cooperation between entrepreneurs and concepts, which is a phenomenon as this kind of interconnection is still inefficiently developed in local market conditions. The group invests to the selected manufacturers and processors and helps them with stability, growth and sustainability and thus contributes fundamentally to the development of independent, "non-corporate" business in our country.
Another very inspiring business story was offered by Jan Vraný, Commercial Director of Notino. He showed that e-commerce really allows trading without borders. This e-shop sells perfumes to 23 countries. The third point of view at finding a balance in the new market was introduced by David Vejtruba, the marketing director of Solvent CR, which has roots in the traditional trade. An important strategic issue, therefore is to find a balance between what Solvent has always been and what is part of its DNA (a wholesaler) and what is its future - a modern omnichannel retailer. The gradual shifts in the structure of company business logically force the change in the marketing strategy and channels through which the company communicates with customers. A separate chapter is finding a new balance in relationship to suppliers.
The remaining program of the afternoon and the next Summit day brought a total of 12 specialized parallel conferences and workshops focused on the definition of a new balance in operation, logistics, in cooperation between suppliers and retailers, in marketing, pricing strategy, or the balance between human staff and artificial intelligence in various business and marketing activities.
More than one thousand of participants of Retail Summit 2017 which was held between January 30 and February 1, 2017 in Clarion Congress Hotel Prague had vivid debate how to cope with the market where the traditional boundaries are disappearing. The brick & mortar and internet shops thus converge. However, the barriers between manufacturing and retail trade disappear too and it is much easier to cross also the geographical boundaries. To all the players this brings not only challenges and risks, but also new business development opportunities.
Retail Summit 2017 was unique not only due to the historically highest participation, but mainly because of the strong focus on the customer and his changing behavior. Such a great amount of experts analyzing and explaining the behavior of “His Majesty” – the customer - took part in none of the previous 22 editions of this top retailers´ meeting. The customer journeys are much more complex than they used to be. Different consumers choose different ways and there are more touchpoints between the brands and customers. This creates a huge risk that the brands will not communicate consistently and they will lose their customers. Tim Mason, the British retail marketing strategist from Eagle Eye Solutions, mentioned in this context that digital and mobile technologies have transformed our lives thanks to the personalisation, relevancy and convenience they bring, however the retail uses them in a limited way so far. As a consequence, the digital transformation often stops at the shop door. Retailers miss the ability to orientate themselves in the huge number of data they acquire from online world. The customers´ activities in brick & mortar world often stay as mysterious as they were in the analogue era.
However, the time is changing even in this respect. Roman Janovič (Cisco) and Michal Tomčík (Pygmalios) demonstrated that the Internet of Things may already serve as a tool for getting to know the customer also in a brick & mortar store and it enables a personalized experience. Thanks to the latest technologies, advanced sensors and behavioural analytics will help retailers to design the stores, to facilitate the navigation to the required product or to adapt the loyalty program personalized for individual client.
One of key topics of Retail Summit 2017 – the business in the boundary-free world – was covered by Miroslav Hošek, Czech manager of the large U.S. based company, doing a global business. He brought good news - that even a smaller company may succeed in the global market if it follows few proven principles. One of the most important principles is originality. If the offer of a product shall be sustainable in a long term on the global market, it has to be unique and based on well formulated and relevant key competencies that cannot be easily adopted by the competition on the global market. The way and timing of penetration to the global market is very important too. To become successful and maintain the position, there are more preparations needed than just identification of the target customer group. It is necessary to clearly define the issues of geographical strategy, optimal channels of distribution, commitment to a long-term strategy, product support on the market, and risk management.
According to the prognosis of GfK Retail Vision 2020, presented by Tomáš Drtina and Zdeněk Skála, the biggest barrier – and the opportunity at the same time – lays in the development of the retail staff. On the one hand, its price dramatically increases and its availability drops, while the significance of its role in the retail increases on all levels. The ability to find and train the right people for the right positions will significantly affect the competitiveness of retailers and the entire industry.
Stanislav Zrcek from Wincor Nixdorf confirmed that the technology is less challenging than the people are. Technology is ready for the connected world and can enable “connected commerce” at economically realistic and feasible conditions. The platforms that combine the physical and digital worlds drive costs saving in brick & mortar stores and as a consequence, the investment into the development of digital retail channels is possible. The companies and their internal structures are significantly less prepared.
The Basic Information about Retail Summit 2017
Retail Summit 2017 included the plenary meeting and 12 specialized discussion sections and specialized EET seminar.This year was the most successful in its history in terms of the participation. There were 1 500+ participants from companies and institutions at the meetings organized during 3 days altogether (including the EET seminar). All the TOP 10 Czech retail companies took part at the Summit.
More than a thousand of participants of Retail Summit, held in Clarion Congress Hotel Prague on February 1 to 3 2016, searched for the ways to bring back value into retail business. 120+ speakers and panelists in their presentations arrived mostly to similar conclusion: the retail value is created (or destroyed) in the whole supply chain, literally from the field up-to-do fridge. Retailers, or any other element of this chain, can create value on the account of other partners, including suppliers, customers or employees. In that context, Retail Summit 2016 focused on detailed discussion of value creation in the relation to all important stakeholders, from farmers up to shareholders.
Focus on the whole value chain
The point of view of retailers was presented by Marek Feltl, regional lead of IKEA – a company which has value creation philosophy anchored right in its strategy called People and Planet Positive: „IKEA strives for direct involvement of all people in the value chain and searches for new opportunities and solutions with the help of mutual interaction and based on shared values.“ Anne Leppälä-Nilsson, senior manager of an iconic Scandinavian retailer Kesko defined the success as reaching the harmony with big trends of social responsibility and with expectations of all parties interested in the chain of relations.
Right balance of the relations to key stakeholders is then of course also essential part of strategies of individual companies. AMAZON, global leader in the fast growing e-Commerce segment, gives maximal accent on customer relations. And never-ever looks at what are competitors doing…. O. Schmitz, European business development manager, explained to Retail Summit participants what AMAZON understands under customer obsession: „we start with the customer and work backwards to vigorously earn and keep customer trust”. AMAZON thinks long term and doesn’t sacrifice long-term value for short-term results. Important building block of this strategy is continuous innovation and also simplification - making things simpler is very important for customers.
Value for Customers
We must aim to deliver higher value for consumers – that message strongly resonated throughout the whole Retail Summit 2016. It was more than logical according to Tomáš Drtina (GfK), as “the authority is just shifting from the brand and retailer to shoppers.” Expert on retail value Kyle Murray (University of Alberta) nevertheless posted the warning about exorbitant focus on customer satisfaction which may lead to false strategic decisions. „Many customers like you. Some of them even love you. And some others do not like you, maybe even hate you. That is how it goes and you have to accept it. This is standard portfolio of a healthy company“. To reach success, you need to work with the whole customer portfolio. Many companies make the mistake of focusing just on satisfied customers, much less attention is then given to dissatisfied, disappointed customers. And that is unique chance for differentiation – namely in this area you can reach very interesting results and minimize the unnecessary losses.
Petr Křiklan (Nielsen) highlighted that increasing value is a „long-distance run”. Improvement can come only gradually as there is a strong history of shopping behavior and that causes strong inertia. Retailers are not focusing on homogeneous mass of shoppers anymore, individual players search for differentiation opportunities and target individual segments. Complete new types of customers are just shaping out and that is the chance to launch new formats, stores and services. As Petr Vyhnálek (Kolonial.cz) explained: „We are at the beginning of the search for new drivers and needs stimulating the shopping in various situations. E-tailers have immense advantage in this process because they have detailed and robust data on shopping behavior that make this search easier“. With all the respect to the complexity of today´s market, we should not forget what has been identified recently in Nielsen study. There are still very clear factors deciding about the success of the store, namely:
I can find easily what I need to buy
pleasant shopping experience
the store has the items I want to buy always on the stock
These factors are truly differentiating while the others, low price included, are just “the expected must”.
Cooperation between retailers and manufacturers
Retail is about trading value for money. The value is measured using different metrics – quality, accuracy, speed – though it can be also something a bit more sophisticated like ability to develop joint projects, to innovate, to support small or regional suppliers or to prevent from food wasting. The value is created through honesty, fairness, and ethics. For value creation, it is essential to possess an ability to listen to the other side of the table, to lead the dialogue, to search for the solution. Recently, European Fair Trade Practice has been created based on these principles. Czech IPFO (Iniciativa pro férový obchod) that was established last year, shares the same philosophy. Petra Buzková, Chairwoman of IPFO, presented the vision to build a platform for creation and growth of value and to be a tool for dialogue and settling of potential conflicts between manufacturers and retailers.
Significant improvement in retailers-suppliers relations are definitively not just a matter of national all-industry initiatives, it has to become the crucial part of daily business life of companies. In that area, a lot of work is in front of us as we got stuck in price wars, category commoditization and promo traps in last years. Some retailers and big manufacturers gained few short term victories but - seen from long term perspective - the value for consumers has been eroded. As Boyan Neytchev, Central European Director of Bel, declared: „If the consumer is not satisfied, everybody is losing in long term”. He presented a case study of Leerdammer brand how to revitalize the stagnating category. Manufacturer has to show various competences – not just the ability to cooperate with retailers but also to understand the demanding consumers, to implement meaningful innovations, effective in-store solutions and to create attractive TV and online content. Another essential measure is optimization of promotions. Tomáš Formánek (Logio) and Roman Zúrik (Kofola) have proven it with a help of an extensive analysis. It turns that retailers using price promotions less frequently and with better optimized portfolio of promoted products show better financial results in individual promotions and suffer less from cannibalization effect.
Another top representative of manufacturers, famous Czech entrepreneur Vlastislav Bříza of KOH-I-NOOR HARDTMUTH, stressed the necessity of relevant reaction to the changing consumer demand. In this context he mentioned especially e-Commerce, new ways to marketing and customer care. The story about digital revolution was heard from many speakers throughout the whole event, nevertheless the good old business values were remembered as well – and that is just perfect. Karel Pilčík of MP Krásno referred to them when presenting his corporate philosophy based on respect to the craft, family tradition and values of his forefathers tightly connected with the region.
Last but not least: shareholders value
Retail Summit 2016 has identified plenty of options in retail value increase. Obviously, this is great news for shareholders as value and profit are closely correlated; discussion lead by Tomáš Krásný of Blue Strategy has proven that. George Holst, investment banker from JP Morgan, has explained in detail how to create value for shareholders throughout the whole life cycle of a company. Each phase has its specific opportunities and challenges for the owners, management and employees. In start-up phase, customer offer is most important (differentiated and focused at top line growth). Later on, the corporate infrastructure (professionalization of supply chain organization and intensification of employee qualification) becomes the core task. In last phase, creation of model generating sustainable income is the priority. These building blocks create both internal and transactional value of a company. Owners need to monitor them all in order to be able to decide if and when the full or partial sale makes sense and what type of investor can optimize the shareholder value for all involved parties. Martin Tesař (Deloitte) presented then Value Map enabling to quantify the above mentioned approach to value definition and to test various strategy options. Oldřich Novák (TESCO) highlighted within the discussion round the need for balanced use of both financial and non-financial KPIs.
Retail Summit 2015 (Praha, February 3 & 4, 2015) focused on the search of new paths for retail development. This key topic was discussed from different angles, like new strategies or innovation of products, services and retail formats. Nevertheless, the most intensive attention was given to distribution channels and to the search for new paths connecting manufacturers, retailers and consumers. No wonder as this area is most affected by explosion of new technologies, drivers of the digital and mobile revolution. Discussions at Retail Summit 2015 came to the conclusion that the consumer knows exactly what he wants. He asks for deep understanding, wants to shop in most convenient way anywhere, anytime and in the way he prefers to choose. And desires to get the same brand experience in all channels, be the website, brick & mortar store or home delivery. Satisfying this demand is one of the most probable paths to the success at the retail market of near future. A path which is not trivial but passable…
Retail Summit 2015 was held on February 3 & 4, 2015 in the atmosphere which was much more optimistic than the one of past few years of the event. Retail market has finally re-started its growth, the consumers are turning optimistic and ready to spend money. As Vladimír Dlouhý, President of the Czech Chamber of Commerce, pointed, we can´t rely that the times are changing for better definitively. Most of all, the development of European economy is quite risky in several aspects and recent forecasts signalize the deterioration of its outlook. Apart from that, Czech market is confronted with very high saturation and it is not prudent to believe in company survival without principle change of strategy or innovation. No wonder that the topic of the search for new paths attracted to the Retail Summit 2015 more than a thousand participants what represents new record in the history of this largest retail conference in Central & Eastern Europe..
Inspiration for the search of new paths
Retail Summit 2015 offered a variety of inspiring presentations showing the direction to all those searching for new paths. Libor Malý, the visionary - entrepreneur and chairman of the association Adato, highlighted that today, the employees (most of all those of large corporations) are out of energy or even burnt out. They have money but dramatically lack the inner satisfaction. They can handle cost cutting, sometimes even grow the revenues but have no energy to enjoy it and radiate kindness. It is therefore the highest time „to search for new paths of joy“, and employ our hearts. Complete change of business culture, new ways of motivation and engagement of employees are probably the toughest task ahead of us. Blue Events plan to focus on this topic and dedicate several specialized conferences to it.
Grant McKenzie, Marketing Director of Plzeňský Prazdroj, presented five principle options how to drive stagnating and saturated market. In a nutshell: it is a matter of targeting of new consumer segments, overall efforts to uplift the category, creation of new consumption occasions, flawless mastering of all communication touch-points with focus on P.O.S. and – last but not least – efficient innovations. The latter was discussed in detail by Johan Sjöstrand, mezinárodní expert na inovace z firmy Nielsen. Konstatoval, že na trh se uvádí velké množství nových výrobků, které představují významné investice jak ve smyslu peněz, tak international innovations expert from Nielsen. He pointed out that the companies launch immense amount of new products, investing huge volume of money and time. In spite of that the share of successful products, making the real breakthrough, is dramatically low. What makes these products so unique? Global research of Nielsen documents that this is most of all clear consumer orientation and targeting.Demand driven consumer insights, product development and activation are the key. not me-too approach, following the competition or fulfillment of internal ambitions of manufacturer lacking any market rationale. Consistent focus on consumer value was seen also in several discussion panels of Retail Summit 2015, a/o from leaders of Hornbach and Danone,Jaroslav PaděraandKoen Burghouts.
Improvement in relations between retailers and manufacturers represents another significant path to market development. As Pavel Pichlerof Advantage Group proved in his analysis, this strategic relation is in really bad shape and recently even shows further worsening with improvement potential in all key areas. The good news is that namely in this respect, Retail Summit 2015 managed to show good piece of progress. Retailers- manufacturers relations were discussed within the top-to-top discussion panel at the opening of the Summit, with prestigious panelists including top retailers and producers, President of Association of Commerce (SOCR ČR)Marta Novákováand Minister Marian Jurečka,. Another occasion was a specialized discussion organized by ECR ČR/SR where the new Czech and Slovak launch of European Supply Chain Initiative was announced.. This self-regulatory effort, promoting fair trading, is a/o supported by EUROCOMMERCE and has at this point already almost nine hundred members across the whole Europe, key retailers and manufacturers included.
Omnichannel alias how not to get lost on the multi-level junction
New technologies, and most of all the recently rapidly progressing mobile revolution, are driving the changes of the retail market. Changing shopping patterns are calling for creation of new distribution channels. As highlighted by Marek Růžička of O2 Czech Republic: we witness fast growth of omnichannel retailing - next development stage of marketing and sales strategy reaching across distribution and communication channels, at this point already massively fueled by the latest innovations like social networks, mobile technologies or new payment methods. Modern technologies help a lot but can´t save us alone. The granular understanding of complex causalities is a must, together with the needed return back to entrepreneurial basics, to the true essence of retail business.
Martin Dlouhý (TESCO) completed this idea in very clear way:The customer knows exactly what he wants. He searches for our understanding of his needs, wants to shop anywhere and anytime in the most convenient way, defined by him. And he desires for the same brand experience when shopping from a web site, brick & mortar store or home delivery. The customer knows „how to cross the multi-level junction“, both he and the retailer are just approaching. Is the retailer ready to guide him through that crossing? There is the answer to the new requirements – most of all, it is the consistent strategy, based on deep understanding of new consumers, and implementation of the latest technologies. Interesting case study of such solution was presented by Donal Mc Daid of Symphony EYC. Mercator, one of the largest retail chains in South Eastern Europe, launched its Click&Collect service, offering its hypermarket goods to everybody, with the possibility of home delivery or personal collection at the store. New technologies tracking the stock levels in the real time prevented Mercator from potential in-store/shelf out of stock caused by online orders.
Future of traditional retail trade
The whole conference has confirmed that the retail industry stands at the verge of huge changes. Michael Carl of German think-tank 2bAHEAD has fully supported that idea as well when stating that main stream mass market shows intensive convergence with e-commerce and signalizes the growth of integrated retail models as presented above. Retailers are gradually getting used to the fact that one day their shoppers will trust own mobile phone more than human personnel of traditional store. We can expect strong boom of personal digital „helpers“ like mobile payments, smart purchase consulting and support within the whole customer journey. This is all in sharp contradiction with recent approach of retailers who gradually minimized the role of personalized sales service. Traditional brand pyramid, i.e. economy – standard – premium brands, does not help retailers to higher efficiency any more. Analyses prove that „economy“ retail segment will further increase its share and will be transformed into omnichannel retailing. The old middle - standard segment – will gradually disappear and premium segment will pass the process of dramatic change. The future success calls for principle differentiation and offering of unique services and shop atmosphere/ambience. Location and personnel will represent the key factors, co-creating the store identity of the place where the shoppers will on purpose switch off their digital „helpers“ and enjoy the “real shopping” full of emotions.
So the core question of survival of the traditional retail trade is how to uplift the shopping experience. Manfred Litschka, regional lead of TCC agency highlighted in that context that the customers should be motivated to repeated purchases by significant added value. Action prices and discounts are not the answer, there are nevertheless other solutions to promotions including those offered by TCC. One of the attractive options, loyalty and payment card Dobrá karta (Good Card) was presented by Marek Rehberger (ČSOB) and Roman Bruzl (COOP).
was focusing on ways how to succeed in today's uncertain times. It was obviously a very topical subject, as evidenced by the fact that it attracted more than thousand of participants.
Retail Summit 2014 thus broke all-time records in both the number of speakers, as well as commercial partners and registered delegates. Most of all, it excelled through immense variety of information and ideas. That should be an important boost for anyone who has the ambition to succeed in future difficult struggles in the Czech and Central European market.
Speed of changes in the retail market has dramatically accelerated
The retail trade has recently changed profoundly, thanks to new technologies and shifts in consumer demand; said in the introduction of Retail Summit 2014 Christian Verschueren, Director General of EuroCommerce. The pace of the change is accelerating dramatically, internet and multi-channel retailing is becoming a reality. It brings distortion of the original distribution business models and pressure on innovative solutions. How openly admitted Mike Watkins from Nielsen, we certainly can not expect some calm in the future. Rather, we will have "another rollercoaster ride replicating how the trade sector adapts to the new economic reality and the digital age where the consumer is the controlling force."
The dramatic development is of course not passing by the Czech market. Probably the best description of the situation was given by CEO of Pilsner Urquell Paolo Lanzarotti, on the example of the beer market: „In the past three years, the market has changed more than over the past 30 years“. As pointed out by Zdenek Skala of Incoma-GfK, the impact of these changes is enhanced by the relatively small size of the market and its high saturation and competitiveness. Very dense network of rather well accessible stores allows a hard fight for a smaller, „high frequency shopping basket". The retail trade is changing under the pressure of demand and past trends are stopped and partly reverted - large store formats are stagnating, emerges a certain renaissance of small stores and growth of a number of specialists (from butchers the drugstore). Shopping behavior continues to diversify and is profiled by various often contradicting factors, especially by the search for value, pragmatism, increased consumer activity and differential behavior in different situations.
Dramatic changes scare many of us and gives a strong feeling of insecurity. Milan Zeleny, top economist working at Fordham University New York, made a very relevant statement related to that: "The uncertainty generally arises primarily from a misunderstanding of our time, when we already (or still) do not know (or do not even want to know) what is happening and why."
Light at the end of the tunnel, or if you love our time
Two days of Retail Summit 2014 created a number of ideal opportunities for official and informal discussions about how to deal with uncertain times. There were some pessimistic views like „due to the economic crisis, the light at the end of the tunnel was switched off“ but overall optimistic arguments prevailed. Keynote speaker, co-owner of Kofola Jannis Samaras, expressed that in most relevant way: "the unconditional love of what we are doing, takes us through all the pitfalls of uncertain times." He also expressed his believe that the changes and the associated uncertainty are very healthy. As the examples from the nature show us the biggest survival risk is if you fit into the routine. And so it is according to Jannis Samaras in the business world.
Precondition of success is thus being ready for the change which is permanent. As emphasized in this context by Paolo Lanzarotti of Pilsner Urquell, specifically it means"to make quick decisions, bringing new and original solutions that engage consumers and will help retailers to support the development of their business." The basis of success is then long-term partnership between the manufacturer and retailer, with an emphasis on the joint value creation and search for win-win solution.
Solutions for uncertain times
Retail Summit 2014 presented a number of ideas that illuminate why there is no reason for bad mood. That is quite essential as bad mood still not just limits consumer spendings, but also deverts a number of manufacturers and retailers from innovative solutions. The two-day program full of presentations and discussions also brought plenty of ideas how to achieve success. Essential advice in this direction came from the man who in his life really achieved a lot – from Simon Panek, one of the student leaders of November 1989 and founder of People in Need foundation. While it is obvious that not everyone has the opportunity to change large corporations or even states, "let's at least try a little change in what each of us can change".
Like all previous summits, also this year was partly devoted to intense debate on whether and how politicians can help retailers. Christian Verschueren of EuroCommerce expressed the optimistic view that politicians are trying to adapt to a rapidly changing market environment and ensure a equal conditions for all types of business and introduce all levels of consumer protection; so trade should cooperate closely with them. However, among the participants gained more support the view of the President of Slovak Association of Commerce Pavol Konštiak, who described the legislation as "the black plague in business and especially in retail trade." Unlike politicians´ initiatives, in Slovakia just one project succeeded in support of Slovak products – „Quality from Our Regions“, implemented jointly by the Association of Commerce and Food Chamber of Slovakia.
A significant part of the solutions, presented at the Retail Summit 2014, stressed the need to understand changing consumer demand and take full advantage of the possibilities offered by new technologies. Very inspiring was especially the speech of Frank Gotthardt from O2. The key to success is to help people to make the right decisions by providing them with relevant information at the right time and in the right place. The definition of what is important and what is the correct timing and distribution of information is nevertheless radically changing, especially for newly arriving youngest generation of shoppers. Very instructive was therefore the excursion of Frank Gotthardt between members of new "Generation Z", people born after 1995. These new customers are from the birth surrounded by technology, they are always "on-line", instantly share ideas but also criticism. For servicing these customers you need to be like them - have information about your offer always on hand and be at the communications platforms and within communities, relevant to Generation Z. Finally, it also means having a sales team that has the competence and ability to communicate with these clients. In any case, the technology must entertain the customer, help her or him and in no way to bother. At the same time, the technology must help to the retailer to learn about the customer, to find out his preferences and create a unique offer for him.
Basic information about Retail Summit 2014
Retail Summit 2014 has been prepared jointly by the Czech Confederation of Commerce and Tourism, University of Economics in Prague and Blue Events.
Retail Summit was associated with the granting of awards to the most successful retailers - under the auspices of MasterCard during the ceremony awards Retailer of the Year 2013. The Summit participants have chosen by thein votes the winners of the categories "Innovation in Business" and "Personality of the Retail Trade".
Thanks to high participation, this year´s Retail Summit was the best attended in the 20 years of its history. The meetings organized during the two days were attended by nearly a thousand representatives of companies and institutions. This confirmed that companies operating in the Czech and Central European markets have a very strong incentive to seek ways to succeed in today's uncertain times.
Among participants of Retail Summit 2014 there were mainly representatives of retail trade (24 % of participants, inc the whole TOP 10 of Czech retail) and the production of consumer goods (26%). Other participants were the suppliers of information and communication technologies, governmental authorities, media, banks, schools and expert institutions. Compared to previous years, 2014 Summit has seen stable participation of retailers and manufacturers. The main source of the increase of the participants numbers were thus representatives of technology and service companies. This corresponds to an overall change in the industry that moves further from the mere sale of goods to service activities, often with a high degree of technology utilization.
57 % of the participants represented the top management of companies, 265 of them were managers with business card CEO, chairman or managing director. Participation of key decision-makers thus significantly increased compared to the past years.
Retail Summit 2014 was held with the support of tens of companies and institutions. Special thanks of the organizers go to the Platinum Partners CSOB, Pilsner Urquell and O2.
Dear participants of the Retail Summit 2013,
thank you for the pleasant surprise you have given us by your massive interest in participation. Thanks to you, the 19th year of the Retail Summit goes into history as the most massively visited event, with over 900 delegates. As it is clear from your feedback, whether expressed in questionnaires or personally, summit has thus fulfilled its most important mission to be an indispensable place for informal meetings and sharing of opinions, ideas, fears and hopes of the owners and managers of retail and supply companies in the Czech and Slovak market.
Consolidation of contacts was this year strengthened by a very successful social evening that provided both much desired area for evening networking dinner, and a great entertaining programme. A common "ballooning" navigated by Lucie Výborná in combination with the performances of the Circus La Putyka belonged according to many of you to the best parties in the history of the Summit.
Many of you agreed that contact and social task of the Summit is often more important than its own program, even though neither that may be bad. This year's topic was the inspiration for the future and "guides" how to live that long.
The biggest success in the main program was the performance by Martin Mravec and Zdeněk Skála from GfK. In particular, Zdeněk Skála gave a very inspirational and precise summary of how is shopping behavior of customers changing, why it is so and what to focus on, in order to satisfy the customer's future needs.
Excellent response of participants was also related to Top to Top panel moderated by Martin Veselovský. A smaller number of six well selected panellists were able to touch some sensitive topics in cooperation of retailers and manufacturers in greater depth. It seems that now when retail sales steadily decline, perhaps the time has finally come for both sides of the market to work better together and search for new Specific ideas for such a solution were revealed in the second day of the Conference within the discussion section Retail and Suppliers.
The best rated speaker of this section Lubomír Chvalovský from Intersnack stressed that to face the critical state of dependence on sales promotions creating disloyal customers we need to have the courage to respect the mutual contracts and revise existing business conditions so as to serve the long-term development of retail trade. Future is not in the stars but in our heads. "We have to deal with the people who have decision-making powers and understand the business. Or we don't have to do anything at all - economic survival is yet not mandatory."
Also other of the 10 thematic workshops of the second day brought very concrete examples from practice and many opportunities to develop retail on our complicated market. One of the most successful sections Retail & Future Markets thus ended with a very optimistic: "The one who is not afraid, has ideas and is able to surround himself with people who can help him to implement them, will never suffer from "his" market being saturated".
On behalf of the organizers we look forward to meeting you at the next year's 20th Jubilee Retail Summit!
Dear participants of Retail Summit 2012,
we are very pleased that together we have managed to show that the Czech trade has reached the maturity and is open to substantive discussion. The conference confirmed that in spite of the current difficult market situation, there are many reasons for optimism. Two days full of presentations and discussion sessions, have shown many opportunities for the trade development on the saturated and complicated market.
Both spontaneous reactions given directly at the Summit or results of a written survey among participants signalized that our message was received most positively. The representative research with active participation of almost one third of the audience indicates that Retail Summit 2012 received the highest perceived information and provided the best opportunity for negotiation/business contacts in its history. The favourable assessment of the Summit is undoubtedly connected also with its transfer to the Clarion Congress Hotel Prague.
High information benefit is related to the overall very balanced quality of the programme, what is proved also by the fact that 3 speakers received the completely identical average "school rating" (1.71). Therefore the competition for the best presentation has 3 winners – Jan Bureš (ČSOB/Poštovní spořitelna), Tomáš Drtina (INCOMA GfK) and Peter Fizgerald (Google).
Czech retail market begins to search for inspiration "from elsewhere", and the discussion section with this title and topic was a prove for that being evaluated as the best one. With average excellent mark (1,39) the section received many positive comments, such as: "an excellent idea to bring speakers from other markets" or "concentration of inspirational personalities with great moderation of Mr Tůma, stimulating a rich debate". Favourable response was given also to other parts of the Summit, namely the sessions Retail strategies and Retail and its managers.
Your comments in questionnaires included also critical messages, suggesting that not all speakers or discussions reached the hoped-for adulthood. Some of you openly warned that the normal daily routine Czech retail is still very far away from the "high-minded" lectures. Yet we believe it is very useful to create new visions and to inspire and promote the individual market players, regardless of their size or form of ownership, as well as to contribute to the greater openness and veracity of relations between retailers and producers. With this aim we are already starting the preparation of the next year of Retail Summit, which will take place on 5-6th February 2013.
In the name of organizers
Dear friends of Retail Summit,
17th year of the traditional expert and social meeting of top representatives of the Czech and Central European retail was, according to spontaneous reactions as well as according to the questionnaire among participants, very successful. The representative research, in which every third attendant participated, signalizes that Retail Summit 2011 had the highest perceived information value the history of this event.
Presentation of speakers was evaluated with average mark of 2,07 – it is similar friendly number as in previous two years. The positive news is that all speakers received a really good evaluation. According to participants it was the very well balanced program that contributed to the overall quality of the conference. In general the best evaluation was given to Czech top manager of American company AFP, Miroslav Hošek, who received the mark 1,62 (“poignant and at the same time funny way to present ideas and innovations”, “inspirational/ making people think”). The second best was the “really funded” presentation of Vladimíra Dvořáková from VŠE Prague, who mapped the transformations of Czech society and politics “with grace and humor” (“welcomed thematic inspiration”, “innovation – a new view on what is really important in business”). Very close to this there was the European retail expert of ACNielsen, J.J. Vandeheede (“he had interesting information and knew how to present them”) and Managing partner of Globus, Thomas Bruch. Conference participants commented his presentation with many spontaneous complimentary notes like “interesting view into the background of successful retail concept and its corporate culture” or “he was interesting with openness, pleasant presentation and emphasis on gaining inspiration from his own employees”.
According to the questioned participants especially the discussion sections contributed highly to the high informational value of summit. They gained even the best evaluation ever in the history of conference (average mark 1,72). The parallel discussion sections had very equal quality, but among them the best evaluation was given to Retail and People led by Dana Zadražilová from FMV VŠE Prague and Bernd Hallier from European Retail Institute. The positive evaluation was not connected only with the fact, that “the panel discussion was well featured and led” but mainly because it “resulted into specific tasks for increasing the qualification of workers in retail, which SOCR ČR should further communicate with Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs”. The above-average evaluation was given also to discussion sections Retail and World 3.0 led by Luděk Niedermayeer from Deloitte company ("great input analysis, and moderation, amazing case studies") and Retail and (Re)development led by Tomáš Drtina from INCOMA GfK (“interesting panel with many information and interactions”).
Organizers are glad that many respondents completed their answers to individual questions also with closing spontaneous comments. For all we can quote at least these following, which really pleased us:
“Those who participated at the conference could make their own conclusions on innovations as a tool ‘how to get out of crisis’. To realize, where it really is, and especially think what their role is in the current game with global, sustainable business.”
“The conference is still better, each year the lath is higher. The topic was chosen perfectly!”
“It is really necessary to have such events which are pushing the development forward and connecting people. According to me the conference met expectations, the program was made functionally, the quality of speakers was good and everyone could choose interesting topics he liked.”
Interrogation among participants provided many other interesting suggestions on what works and what is necessary to change for the following year. Organizers will take them seriously in preparation of the 18th year. It will take place on 31st January – 1st February 2012and we will be honoured if you put this date to your diary already now. On behalf of the preparational committee of Retail Summit
At the Retail Summit 2010 more than 850 delegates gathered. this was a record for this event. At the same time this year´s informational benefit was the best in history, as participants expressed in the questionnaire.
The conference dealt with topic How to bounce off the bottom? It offered topics for discussion like cooperation among retailers and suppliers, role of key players on the market, strategies based on ethics and their positive impact on supporting initiative. Very interesting was also the summary of what lesson we can take form the crisis development and which opportunities the crisis offers for creating competitive advantage.
Panel discussion then offered experience from international business, methods to revive demand, information on customer behavior in fashion sector under the influence of crisis. Insight into the world of unfair practices in retail and brief introduction into shopper marketing were also interesting. Panel discussion focused on trust looked at support of regional products, other section discussed retail future from the aspect of current situation, another dealt with question whether the bottom exists and what way in costs cutting to take.
Even though all speakers received almost same evaluation, the best references were given to Goetz Werner, founder of dm-drogeriemarkt, Petr Bena from Procter & gamble and Thomas Bachl from GfK. people appreciated also remarks of Andrej Babiš from Agrofert Holding, who was first time ever on such event, during the discussion of the first session.
This year was stigmatized by the expected stagnation of turnover in retail. Participants were discussing challenges they are facing. As customers tend more to save, it is crucial for retailers to understand their needs better and also to operate with the qualified labour force. Simple price reduction shouldn’t be the main goal of retailers. It is necessary to emphasize the product quality. Retailers themselves should consider more strategic solutions for cost reduction, especially energetic, processes optimization and communication and information technologies.
Among the most interesting presentations there was the one of Bob Robbins from Tesco and Ivo Řehák from BauMax. All the participants agreed it is necessary for the government to support the effort of retailers in some important areas, especially in labour force cost reduction, simplification of tax payment systems and reduction of bureaucracy. Considering the current crisis of the financial sector, which is expected to continue, retailers would also appreciate the government to work on development of guarantee mechanisms to support certain activities.
In its opening part the conference dealt with the issue of relationship between state and retailers. This part of the program has received the highest evaluation from the participants; they considered several other sections very inspirational too, including Retail & People, Retail & Brands and Retail & Internet.
Among the main pulls of the conference there belonged the presentation of Feargal Quinn, the President of Eurocommerce, Alain Caparros, CEO REWE, and Bob Burlton from the management of British COOP system. Participants appreciated their knowledge of issues of this field.
All the attendants could take from the plenary session and discussion panels many specific practical ideas, visions and inspirations for their further work.
This year of the conference has brought new conception of the discussion sections, their titles were changed into one form “Retail & …”. Differences in evaluating of this summit have confirmed retail trends suggested by analytics, the fast and big segmentation.
Main conference speakers dealt with topics like consumer role in retailer’s marketing strategy, discount stores and trends in demand and life style. Participants appreciated especially the discussion panels, the most interesting one was Retail & State. Unequivocally the best speaker was Nick Chiarelli from GfK Roper Consulting. Stefan Engeseth from Detective Marketing company and Günter Fergen from Schwarz group gained better marks but some participants expressed their negative feelings about these presentations.
The significant segmentation was evident at the conference as well as in retail itself and it is a great challenge for the future. In spite of all this participants agreed the conference was inspirational also in the aspect of making new business relationships.
This year the conference was moved to the new place. The participants required this and they positively accepted this change. The positive response was given also to the speakers’ presentations and some discussion sections, especially the one discussing the development opportunities on the markets of further EU members, shopping centers and dialogue “suppliers vs. retailers”.
The most interesting presentations were those of Stephan Sigrist from Swiss Gottlieb Duttweiler Institute, Michael Morrisson from Australian Center for Retail Studies and Euro commissary for Trade Peter Mandelson. They all talked about strategies and trends of the future.
Retail Summit 2005 was connected this year with “Zlatý Dukát”, an award of Moderní Obchod. The conference gathered representatives of retail from 25 European countries who discussed important questions related to new countries joining EU. Among the most interesting issues discussed at the conference there was seeking the balance between liberalization and regulation of the retail market and the market development after joining EU.
Delegates said it is necessary to find ways to reduce the market less but more efficiently, support education and innovations. For the retail chains operating in different countries it is important to centralize regionally but keep strong marketing targeting at national and local markets.
The jubilee year of the Retail Summit conference in 2004 focused on the retail development revision within past years and Czech market perspectives in the coming years. Customer service was the main topic of most presentations and discussions, as customer is becoming the key character of the Czech retail.
Jan Peter Karelse, Prezident of UGAL (European Association of Independent Retail) and Milan Růžička, Chief Operations Manager of Ahold Czech Republic were the main conference speakers.
At this year’s conference Retail Summit 2003 which was held in Brno, the readiness of Czech Republic to enter EU and its influence on our market were discussed. The speakers designed possibilities to gain inspiration from the EU lifestyle and perspectives for retailers in the EU environment. In the discussions the topics of product innovations using category management, shopping behavior trends, retail development funding or franchising were opened. During the gala dinner the awards Top Retailer 2002/03 were presented.
The participants were interested the most by the presentations of Madeira Lopes, Vice-president of APED (Association of Portuguese retail Companies), Ian Hutchins, Head of Corporate Affairs of Tesco (Plc) and joint presentation of Javier Perez de Leza, general Manager of Makro Cash & Carry ČR, and Bruno le Ciclé, General Manager of Nestlé Česko.
Approaching the date when Czech republic will join EU the readiness of our market for this event was discussed at this year of the conference Retail Summit. There met representatives of Eurocommerce, Retail Alliances and Associations of Central and Eastern Europe.
The market analysis showed that thanks to the big chains expansions the market has been saturated and there is strong competition there. Thanks to it retailers are seeking new ways to attract and keep customers, who are more and more demanding. The presentation of Oldřich Dědek, Vice-governor of Czech National bank, John Maynihan, Retail Development Director of Coca-Cola HBC Europe, and Paul–Louis Halley, President of Eurocommerce, were ranked among the best.