What are the trends shaping the future of retail?

Our take on the World Retail Congress 2019 in Amsterdam

High Velocity Retail was a fitting theme for this year’s World Retail Congress. Our three days in Amsterdam have gone by at lightning speed. We’ve spent them listening to innovative ideas on the future of retail and participating to insightful debates around the forces driving high-speed change in the industry.

We were happy to bring our perspective to the table by holding a conference with Guerlain’s Jean-Denis Mariani. Together, we have explored the evolution of the luxury industry in the face of the growing digitization of customer journeys. Our shared experience has shown that luxury brands can use data to form high-quality, seamless customer relationship on-site, in-store and beyond.

The 180 speakers, panellists and moderators had varying opinions on the changing landscape of tomorrow’s retail industry, but they all agreed on one thing: things are changing, and changing fast.


We’ve listed the important topics that sum up the tremendous impact data has had on the world of retail. Below are the key take-aways of our three days spent at the WRC.


1 – DTC

Direct To Consumer is more than a mere trend. Brands are increasingly eager to interact with their customers independently in order to understand their behaviours, needs and aspirations. As the customer journey becomes increasingly digital, new touchpoints are allowing them to do so at an unprecedented scale. Levi’s is using laser technology to customize their jeans on demand according to their customers’ preferences. In their words, they have gone from “Selling what they make” to “making what they sell”.


2 – Personalization

Mass communication seems to be a thing of the past. Personalization is the cornerstone of an insightful customer relationship that brings added value to the consumer. Data-savvy companies know to adapt their marketing strategies to their audience, but the products and supply chain can also be customized according to every particular customer’s tastes and needs. Personalization is at the core of Numberly’s collaboration with Guerlain. Numberly leverages on data to provide Guerlain’s customer with high-quality, relevant marketing messages.


3 – AI

From understanding unstructured data to the creation of innovative products, Artificial Intelligence is becoming increasingly powerful. But the rise of powerful AI makes human understanding, skills and abilities all the more critical to put meaning behind algorithms.


4 – Relationships

It’s all about relationships! The ability for brands to form strong relationships is a true game changer. It determines the strength of their collaboration with retailers, partners and suppliers and the loyalty of their customers. Trust plays an important role in the implementation of new digital trade models: the African e-commerce platform Jumia, for instance, now allows its customers to make cash payments upon delivery.


5 – People

Diversity in gender, skills, backgrounds, trainings… companies can’t do away with inclusivity if they wish to foster environments that breed innovation. Diverse teams are more fit to face the challenges of an increasingly complex world.


6 – Influencers

The power of social media influencers can sometimes seem limitless. Tommy Hilfiger is among the many brands that put such strategies as the heart of their marketing campaigns by building strong networks of local and global influencers. However, measuring the impact of investing in influencers is still a challenge. The ROI of influencer marketing is an important equation that data and marketing experts will have to crack in the near future.


7 – Experience

Physical touchpoints are not dead! In-store experience is still a priority for retailers: but this experience needs to be personalized by using the strength and precision of digital. A question remains for marketers, retailers and data experts alike: how to turn physical touchpoints into data collection hubs?