Faced with new consumer habits and new forms of commerce, the retail industry must adapt to a changing environment. Philippe Goetzmann, CEO and founder of Philippe Goetzmann &., an expert on consumption and distribution, gives his vision of the challenges ahead.
What is your assessment of the year 2021?
The digital acceleration has been confirmed. The reflex to consume on the web has taken hold, including among senior citizens and in rural areas. This is changing the nature of the customer relationship, which must be omnichannel. The second effect of this digitalisation is the CRM revolution with an increase in digital contacts. We have also seen the development of pedestrian drives and quick commerce. The customer experience is twofold, with on the one hand a need for a human relationship - the raison d'être of physical stores - and on the other hand, consumers who prefer contactless home delivery.
But I don't oppose the two because tomorrow, customers will use both vectors according to their needs. Commerce will continue to offer a richer relationship but on a smaller perimeter of needs.
The phenomenon of teleworking has shifted consumption unevenly over the territory. Moreover, we know that teleworkers use digital technology more than the average population. Finally, it is important to note the huge share of home delivery in the restaurant industry. In 2019, delivery sites represented 6% of the volume of commercial catering, compared with 14% in 2021. One in six meals is now delivered.
What do you think has changed in consumers' relationship with brands?
Generally speaking, consumers are becoming more environmentally aware. Local food has taken precedence over organic food, and this is not linked to a reflex to turn inward. In an increasingly digitalized world, the customer needs to be embodied. Confidence comes from tangible elements such as the physical presence of a factory or a producer. Local value reflects a need for the reincarnation of trade and consumption. Customer relations also involve sharing the brand's values and vision with consumers. As we know, mistrust in brands has been growing for many years, but the health crisis has had the effect of strengthening customer confidence in the major brands, which have been able to reassure. Consumers have perceived the efforts made.
In your opinion, what are the major challenges for 2022 for retailers?
All the players are focused on quick commerce. I don't think there is a viable business model at the moment and in Paris. But the pure-players as well as the major retailers will undoubtedly get hold of the subject and the model will evolve. But home delivery is a real need, as is the demand for convenience. Another challenge is to go beyond the subject of media (intermediaries such as websites, apps, etc.) and deal with the relationship between the brand and the consumer. The question tomorrow will be to know which retailer will have the best media portfolio to serve the customer in the best way.
Another issue is the target. The retail sector will move towards a precision trade with more segmenting brands, no doubt backed by large groups, such as Supeco, Grand Frais or Picard. One of the challenges for 2002 is also linked to the incarnation of the brand. This is a huge project in terms of organisation and human resources (recruitment and training). Firstly, because the French market is less concentrated than most of its European neighbours. Secondly, because the necessary investments in digital technology mean that resources must be concentrated, including in the back office. The major distribution groups must become multi-brand according to the markets and targets to be reached.