THE TRENDS THAT WILL SHAPE THE FUTURE OF RETAILING

Retailing has undergone a rapid transformation over the last few years. Now there are customers who want a “personal experience”, stores which go far beyond being a simple sales outlet, and brands which predict what consumers will purchase when they next

Capital (Turkey) - - EXPAT CAPITAL -

FULL SPEED AHEAD FOR OMNICHANNEL

In this new era, an omni-channel strategy is the most important prerequisite for all retailers, regardless of whether they are local or global. It is also possible to see the considerable impact of this strategy in Turkey. Indeed, there are those who predict that those who cannot adapt to this strategy will not survive. Bimeks Board Chair Murat Akgiray is one of these. Akgiray expressed his views as follows:

“In the future, the omni-channel model will be essential. Those retailers who cannot completely integrate stores and the web will not have a future. In this regard, those online retailers who do not have a store or corner shop chain will find it very difficult to survive. Every store will also be a depot for online sales and all of the products in the stores will be simultaneously available for sale online.”

THE CUSTOMER IS STILL KING!

The focus on the omni-channel strategy, which now predominates in the sector, requires understanding the consumers’

changing consumer habits and demands. There is no other way for companies to keep pace with this demand. “Customers now want to create their own shopping experiences themselves,” says Mert Karaibrahimoğlu, who is Penti Vice President for Retailing and E-Commerce, and continues as follows: “The customer says ‘I want to be able to use my smartphone to do my shopping wherever I want’. We are redesigning all of our infrastructure, systems and stores accordingly.” Defacto Deputy Board Chair İhsan Ateş is of the same opinion. “Consumers now use online platforms not just to compare prices or research locations but also to have a better shopping experience,” says Ateş. “It is becoming increasingly vital for brands to keep up and keep pace with this rapid change.”

“BIG DATA” IS EVERYWHERE

In the near future, the items that will occupy the most space on retail players’ agendas are retail analysis and reissues related to “big data”. In fact, the inevitable erosion of the division between physical stores and the digital world will clearly change both retailing terminology and ways of doing business. Bimeks Board Chair Murat Akgiray is of the opinion that: “The growth in scale, I mean the growth in turnover, sales items and in the variety and number of locations, means that ‘decision-making and implementation’ computer programs have now become essential in retailing. I mean, in the future, we shall manage the system and the system will manage the business. Smart computer programs will become essential in retail management.”

Whirlpool Corporation Turkey Sales Director Bökehan Şahbaz stresses the importance of data mining. “Data mining will become one of the most important applications in the sector,” he says. “The use of store and consumer data will ensure that the store contains the right range of products. It will be possible to make more accurate decisions in terms of store management, stock management and turnover.”

CUSTOMERS WANT AN EXPERIENCE

Two of the developments that will come to the fore in the future are “personalized retailing” and “customer experience”. JLL Turkey President Avi Alkaş says: “The ability of retailers to offer a personalized customer experience depends on the correct use of big data. In order to meet changing consumer demands at the right time and in the right manner, the sector has to be able to move quickly and to manage different sales channels in a coordinated fashion.”

Companies are in any case trying to use all of the possibilities offered by technology in order to catch this trend. Defacto Deputy Board Chair İhsan Ateş says: “We are the fashion brand that makes the most use of omni-channel in Turkey. In addition, we offer products that provide our customers with scope for personalization. Our customers can use the Your Design application on defacto.com.tr to make their own designs.”

STORE TRANSFORMATION

Another striking trend in the retail sector is the striking transformation in physical stores. This transformation makes itself felt both qualitatively and quantitatively. Bimeks Board Chair Murat Akgiray says: “The era of big box stores is now ending. Stores will be of different sizes but will not exceed 1,000-1,200 square meters.” But this decrease in size will not reduce the importance of physical stores. Because in the future physical stores will be much more than sales outlets and will be transformed into “centers of attraction”. Sportive General Manager Zeynep Selgur explains the transformation of sports retailing as follows: “Traditional stores are giving way to quickly organized large area multi-brand stores. Because customers are now turning towards stores that offer living areas.”

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