GIVEN THE RAPID CHANGES, NEW TECHNOLOGIES AND INCREASINGLY DEMANDING CONSUMERS, HOW DO YOU SEE THE FUTURE OF COMMERCE?
The future of commerce, as well as of other branches of the economy and industry, depends on a number of factors: economic, political, sociological, and increasingly climate change factors – where the speed of technological advancement is only one aspect. New technologies are neither the only nor the most important factor to consider when trying to make informed assumptions about the future, but we certainly need to monitor and apply them carefully – especially in fields related to the efficiency and sustainability of the commerce sector.
The implementation of innovative solutions in all aspects of commerce also affect more efficient responding to customer requests and needs, but this is not all that customers are looking for or expecting. Above all, commerce is a matter of exchanging quality or standards of products and services. Technological advancement is actually a “meta-trend” that permeates all aspects of human life, but doesn’t define any one aspect in particular, not even commerce – although it has a huge impact on it. We are far from automation in commerce.
HOW DOES ONE OBTAIN AND MAINTAIN CUSTOMER LOYALTY AND REACH SO-CALLED “HUMAN EXPERIENCE” IN THE ERA OF DIGITALIZATION?
Customer loyalty is an extremely complex issue. The company METRO is one of the global market leaders in the wholesale of primarily food products. This position is built on three core business principles: commitment to customers, digital innovation and sustainable business models – in all 35 countries in which we operate. Providing customers with what they need, when they need it and how they need it – remains an imperative for the future of commerce. Specially created offers and great shopping experience – whether it happens in shops or online – need to have continuity and be consistently perfected in order for customers to feel that someone really recognizes the importance of their time and the money they are investing in something.
In all of this, an inextricable part is quality communication, which ensures that all participants have clear insight into the supply and demand in the market, in a timely manner. The digitalisation of the “human experience” aspect is only a means of achieving efficiency and effectiveness, but we must not rule out a human approach, i.e. working with people – because it guarantees a partnership relationship with customers, and therefore their loyalty.
TO WHAT EXTENT IS DIGITALISATION REALLY THE KEY FACTOR IN ADAPTING COMPANIES AND BRANDS TO THE MARKET?
Improving and modernizing the business process in commerce, especially in global systems, is a prerequisite for sustainable and efficient business – of course, in addition to a quality offer and service.
Adapting companies or brands to such technical and market conditions is not an option – it is a requirement, but I must underline that adequately defined technological development needs are necessary to make it meaningful and effective. Not every company, brand or branch of commerce will have the same kind of needs when it comes to technological advancement and the process of applying modern technologies. A clearly defined communication of business strategy to all target groups plays a key role in this.
IS ADAPTING TO THE MARKET’S NEEDS NECESSARY FOR A COMPANY SURVIVE IN THE MARKET AND IF SO, WHY?
Of course, adaptation, but also anticipation of the needs of a particular market, are necessary for the company to survive in the market. The alternative is that the company is not competitive in the market – either because it does not respond to the demands of the target groups it is addressing or because it does not define its target groups well.