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Full steam ahead into the new year!

21. December 2018, Editorial

The intensity and sheer volume of challenges faced by trading companies of all stripes is increasing with each passing year. We have put together an overview of the exciting times in store, for retailers in particular.

Thema:

delivery
Faked Meat
Geofencing
Retail
trends 2019

Anyone that fails to keep step with the times and adapt their business processes runs the risk of being left behind by the competition. For every development missed, there are three new competitors waiting in the wings – who are potentially better placed to meet consumers’ rapidly changing requirements. To avoid any nasty surprises this year, here are the six most important trends set to shape the retail and food sectors in 2019.

1. The culture coders

Reaching out to millennials has been a challenge for businesses for some time now. But one thing is now clear: gut instinct has more of a role to play in their decision-making process than price point. More than for any generation that has gone before them, for millennials, brands have become cultural personalities with which they identify beyond traditional shopping parameters. Brands are humanised, scrutinised and imitated in the same way that celebrities are. In many cases, younger generations are drawn into the stores by the experiences on offer rather than the products themselves. US media are already starting to refer to brands as culture coders.

 

A case in point is UK footwear manufacturer Dr. Martens, which has a stage in its Camden flagship store that hosts gigs on a regular basis. Iconic shoe designs are displayed in glass cabinets alongside historic artefacts from the world of music. This approach brings the brand’s founding story to life, linking it to the music and countercultural movements of the 1960s.

Many young people are now more likely to refer to themselves as fans of a brand rather than customers of a business. This turns up two possible stumbling blocks for companies: increasingly it is activities that have precious little to do with their core business that are becoming relevant. And secondly, in a world that turns as fast as this one, creating a corporate culture that matches consumers’ changing views and ideologies is no mean feat.

2. Smartness everywhere

According to the latest estimates, around 11 billion everyday products – from smart TVs to intelligent thermostats – are networked through the internet of things. Over the next few years, sales of smart refrigerators in particular will help to send this number through the roof. The fridge of the future knows exactly what products it contains and when they go out of date. Whenever replenishments are needed, the owner is notified via smartphone – along with details of all the best deals and special offers. Alternatively, the refrigerator can get to work on its own initiative, ordering any necessary produce itself from the retailer – the height of practicality.

Shelving systems are also becoming increasingly intelligent: one company, Wasteless, has developed a dynamic piece of technology based on machine learning which updates food prices in real time. The algorithms it uses take factors such as expiration date, supply and demand and upcoming weekends and public holidays into account. The outcome: a win-win situation for everybody. Customers love the bargains, retailers’ sales figures improve and less damage is done to the environment.

3. Subscription society

Subscriptions are in the ascendancy. But anyone thinking of Netflix, Spotify or any of the others is a little wide of the mark. According to a McKinsey study, the market for retail and food subscriptions is skyrocketing – it grew from 57 million US dollars in 2010 to 2.6 billion in 2017. At present, 15 percent of all consumers have a subscription of one form or another. When it comes down to it, there is nothing that cannot be delivered: razors and bathroom essentials, the latest fashion pieces, seasonal vegetables or custom meal prep boxes. Top of the tree are hip companies such as Dollar Shave Club, Ipsy, JustFab Fashion and Loot Crate. But it is not just global companies that are ploughing a furrow in this new market: the weekly organic veggie box from the farmer next door is also growing in popularity. Surveys show that two values stand out above all others for consumers: the additional convenience and a tangible benefit that comes from the way the product or service is tailored to their situation. The trend is set to intensify in 2019, and McKinsey sees emphatic gains for the growth of the industry. More about the huge challenge with delivery of fresh products.

4. Yours or mine?

The most popular restaurant? In 2019 more and more people will be answering this question as follows: my living room. Millennials are increasingly finding themselves priced out of life in the city, as rents reaching dizzying new heights with every passing year. Young people simply don’t have the means to maintain an eating-out lifestyle. At the same time, the current generation is more passionate about cooking than virtually any other that came before it. The logical outcome: cosy nights in are de rigueur. Numerous on-trend food bloggers are showing how to create the perfect menu for spoiling friends in the comfort of your own living room. And, hand on heart, who doesn’t love staying home alone from time to time after a long day at work, and spread out on the couch wearing jogging bottoms with Netflix on in the background. For all of us lacking that little creative spark, companies such as hellofresh deliver new, seasonal recipes including ingredients right to the front door – it doesn’t get much more straightforward than that. And for anyone who has zero energy left in the tank in the evenings, help is at hand: long gone are the days when convenience food was little better than an unhealthy stop-gap for emergencies – as the new range from Ja! Natürlich demonstrates.

5. Meat is so 2018

Ever tried a North Pacific ponti? Similar to a mouse, this little grey animal likes to excavate its burrow next to volcanoes, which gives its meat a slightly smoky flavour. How about a herbast? Handily, they are covered in spices rather than fur (for camouflage). Names still not ringing a bell? Don’t worry, it’s nothing to do with general knowledge. They’re fictitious animals dreamt up by Marije Vogelzang from the Dutch Institute of Food & Design. The Dutch food designer is bang on trend with her fake meats: more and more people are cutting out meat in favour of meat-free alternatives based on soy, seaweed or mushrooms due to environmental and animal welfare reasons.

 

Another breakthrough is expected to come this year in the form of cultured meat – meat produced by in-vitro cultivation of animal cells in labs rather than from slaughtering animals. Industry insiders and related start-ups have named 2019 the year in which artificially cultivated meat will finally become available to consumers at affordable prices.

6. Location, location, location
And finally, there is geofencing, which is tipped to play a bigger role than ever before in retail in 2019. A quick explanation: this smart technology lets apps and other programs send out push notifications once a specific geographical boundary is crossed. GPS, RFID, Bluetooth and WiFi are all part of this of this Big Brother-like network. Macy’s pioneered this method back in 2014, sending information on special promotions and discounts via its app whenever customers approached its stores. One new development in 2019 is that improved algorithms will make it possible for retailers to increasingly combine geographical data with information on consumer behaviour, which, in turn, will allow them to customise and tune advertising messages to ever greater effect. Smaller retailers who do not have their own apps can turn to Yelp to integrate geofencing into their marketing strategies.

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