retailArena 2019 – Key Takeaways

On 23-24 October, retailArena took place in Bucharest – Romania,  joined by large retail chains representatives, online stores and service providers, logistics and marketing specialists, business owners and FMCG manufacturers, it aimed to decode the retail of the future.

Retail market megatrends

Euromonitor International opened the event by introducing five key trends that drive the retailing industry in present days and are expected to shape it over the next years as well: hunting the value, shopping goes digital, hyperconnected consumers, experiences in retailing and sustainability.

Innovations and digitalisation in retail

In order to support sales and development, innovation happens in many forms. This was visible in the shared experiences of participating companies: from searching growth potential in less penetrated regions and smaller cities, adapting outlets formats to existing commercial real estate or developing multichannel presence, which becomes the new normal for all leading players. In terms of digitalisation, this happens in stores and outside it. At different levels, customers’ journey is supported by technology.

Sustainability is a growing topic

Sustainability was one of the most popular topics, discussed in multiple panels by companies’ representatives from Carrefour, Jysk, Hervis, Mondelez, Cris-Tim and others. In addition, an increasing number of retailing companies and FMCG manufacturers consider sustainability in their strategies, adapting their product portfolio and operations. At the same time, customers’ shopping behaviour evolves: products’ features are sought to be better understood and a will to pay the premium for a sustainable product is increased. However, sustainability is just emerging compared to more developed markets.

E-commerce – Growth and challenges

E-commerce remains the hottest topic in retailing, maintaining the strongest sales dynamics in the industry. Although it is a significant market in terms of size, Romania represents lower online sales compared to other countries in the region, such as Poland or the Czech Republic. As a result, threats from global players are not yet seen as major, with eMAG comfortably leading the channel.

With growing sales, some main e-commerce players such as Fashion Days and elefant.ro are reconsidering some benefits previously and currently provided to consumers, like free or negligible priced delivery. This was a strong tool to support their fast market share gain in order to see how other players and the customers themselves would react to such changes of the status quo. And soon to come, Black Friday remains one of the most important seasonal shopping events of the year, with e-commerce as the main channel.

The retailing industry is transforming and with an increased competition among companies, those who are not able to keep the pace will be left behind. Understanding the consumer traits which reshape the retailing industry will favour retail channels and retailers that respond to them.