There is some work to be done for the shopkeeper! Information flows around consumer goods and food & beverages will bring profits to the retail chain. Not the products will provide the margins, but their data: the logistics process and user behaviour.
Everything will be measured and recorded in data in the coming years. Not only through trusted administrative systems, but also through new technological masterpieces. Think of the Internet of Things, where cameras, microphones, pressure sensors and more are used to monitor and optimise the life cycle of products. For more profits, but also other purposes like more sustainability. Everything can be measured and optimised per product.
This requires substantial investments and scale, and is therefore one of the current consolidation causes in the retail sector. And new players are in fact no retailers, but IT companies. The financial sector already shows that fintech companies bring in the lucrative products and they leave the difficult products to the establishment. In retail, so-called retech companies will also just be involved in products with a relatively high margin. And there is only room for a few (very large) players.
Who is left?
Area of tension - In the years to come we will discover the limits of collecting all that data around a product’s use. Retail chains must carefully think about the way they deal with the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR). For example, can a producer, distributor, retailer or end customer get a discount when disclosing data around the logistics process or during or after the use of a product? We are heading straight for a data dictatorship. With a healthy area of tension between the transparency a retailer strives for on the one hand and the privacy that the end user demands on the other.
Who gets the data?
Data ownership is a new playing field with new settlement models. Sometimes one can trade: data for data. But often this isn’t possible, as the data flow with meaningful information goes into one direction. For example, from the end user through a retail outlet to a distributor, importer and producer. Which chain partner is in control? I’ve experienced that the party that has its IT in order and is able to provide the chain partners with real-time information, is the winner.
Lieke Lamb is Trend Strategist & Innovation Ambassador at the Future Expertise Centre | www.TrendWatcher.com