Paris Retail Week 2018: Phygital, China and the Future of Stores

Lemenstraining was at the fourth edition of Paris Retail Week on September 10-12.

            Revolving around Smart Phygital, the event focused on how to provide personalized, unique, and convenient customer experiences to shoppers based on their changing preferences. Technology was particularly present, and most stands were dedicated to offering omnichannel solutions in areas such as data analytics, payment options, logistics, marketing and VR/AR.

             Since “new retail” and “data” were popular terms, it was unsurprising to see China as this year’s shining star. Lemenstraining attended conferences held by industry giants such as Alibaba, JD.com, and Hanshow Technologies, with French agencies such as Havas Paris and Saguez & Partners also providing invaluable market insights.

             One of the main takeaways from Paris Retail Week is that Smart Phygital should be omnichannel, embrace shopper lifestyles and adopt a “customer is king” mentality. According to David Mingeon, Deputy CEO of Havas Paris, 74% of French consumers want to be able to shop whenever they want, wherever they want.

            Demanding customers are also changing package delivery systems. Retailers are investing in one-day delivery, with platforms such as JD.com already being capable of sending 90% of their orders within one to two business days. Investments in smart logistics, smart stores, smart supply chains and drones can therefore pay off in today’s demanding market.

            For western brands, Chinese retail presents an immense opportunity for growth. Florent Coureau, CEO of JD.com France, was very hopeful, saying that better technology and consumer confidence is increasing demand for European products and services, particularly among younger Chinese consumers. For Sébastian Badault, Managing Director at Alibaba France, it was “unthinkable” to “miss out” on a market that is already larger than Europe and the United States put together.

            Despite the importance of e-commerce and delivery solutions, Paris Retail Week also stressed the essential role of physical stores. Cécile Poujade, Retail Design Director at Saguez & Partners, was convinced that brick & mortar could add value by fostering human relationships and exceptional experiences. Mentioning how Urban Outfitter’s UO Café combined fashion retail with New York’s love of coffee houses, she also talked about the Nike store in the emblematic SoHo district. As a part of the Nike experience, shoppers can test products in an in-store basketball court and run on a treadmill with a screen that recreates New York’s emblematic parks.

           

            All in all, Paris Retail Week 2018 was an impressive display of innovation, creativity, and entrepreneurship. We look forward to next year’s large variety of stands and conferences!