The Future of Commerce confirms its place in the calendar
On July 6, the Luxemburg Confederation held its second event on the theme of "The Future of Commerce" to inspire its members and all retail professionals. It was a day full of conferences and networking opportunities that I had the pleasure of attending, and here are the main lessons to be learned.
An interesting and full day
In terms of conference content, it has to be said that the program was fairly balanced, with speeches by official representatives, case studies and some lively round tables. Among the various sessions, let me share with you the elements that caught my attention:
- Carlo Thelen of the Chamber of Commerce and his sharing of the Economic Barometer: There's good reason for those involved in retail to question themselves, as the barometer indicates some pessimistic points for the near future: a drop in activity in the last half of the year, investments for the next few months will be down... Fortunately, it seems that consumer confidence is on the rise again.
- Lex Delles, Minister for the Middle Classes and Tourism, rightly pointed out that "promoting commerce is equal to promoting a city". A retailer is obviously focused on his business and doesn't always have time to look elsewhere. The authorities therefore have a duty to help retailers with support packages for training, digitalization and CSR.
- (It's worth noting for Belgians that the Minister said he and his teams went to Euroshop last March to get inspired by future technologies that can digitize and optimize retail. Mr. Delles undoubtedly has his strengths and weaknesses. But he certainly has that quality of curiosity and openness to digital. This contrasts with the apathy of certain Belgian authorities on the subject, and especially with a certain Belgian Prime Minister candidate who declared that he dreamed of a Belgium without e-commerce. But that's not the point, let's get back to the Future of Commerce)
- Wijnand Jongen's keynote was inspiring, providing a comprehensive overview of the current state of commerce. Indeed, the future will not be offline or digital or even phygital. We'll have to focus on a single immersive experience called shopping.
- Auchan seems to be continuing to test new, intelligent concepts. After the first Auchan Go tested at EDHEC, Malvina Nortier presented Auchan Go Le Lab, a new intelligent concept for employees at the group's headquarters. This new point-of-sale allows to test technology by going a step further and relying on other parameters so that customers can benefit from a checkout-free shopping experience.
- The shopper is not just one type of shopper. That's why it's so hard to come up with a finished concept, but it also means that every retailer needs to be responsive and flexible. In fact, each of us has several shoppers inside our mind, who manifest themselves according to the moment or our mood. For example, there's the lunchtime shopper, the Saturday shopper for the week, the one who simply has a craving, the one who's tired at the end of the day and doesn't want to cook anymore...
- Finally, the human factor is central, and this is perhaps one of the main conclusions to be drawn from the day. Even if this has already been mentioned many times, it's important to remember that the main investment must be in people. Whether in your teams, in your staff, in your well-being... any innovation or concept improvement must put people at the heart of its concerns.
My 20/CENT on the Future of Commerce
As far as the organization of this event is concerned, I can't think of anything to point a finger at. Everything went off without a hitch and the timing was almost respected. For a multilingual event, it should also be noted that simultaneous translations were provided and easy to use.
In terms of content, as previously stated, the program was well-balanced.
What I also find interesting to note is that, in keeping with current trends, the round tables welcomed an additional guest with chatGPT. A nice touch that demonstrated the power of this tool. But in my opinion, chatGPT's answers are often worthy of certain prophets and fortune-tellers. The turn of phrase is nice, but the substance remains general.
To conclude, I'd say that in retail, there are plenty of events whose ambition is to make their mark on the agenda. Only a few succeed. However, it seems to me that this "Futur du Commerce" is a new pearl in the calendar, and it deserves attention beyond Luxembourg's borders.
Luxembourg ConfédérationLuxembourg RetailEventFutur Du CommerceFuture