The world of Retail is going through a very challenging period, having to deal with new situations dictated by Covid 19 every day. This is the birth of what has been called “Ki Retail”, an alternative concept of Retail, innovative and dynamic, suitable to overcome these challenges.
On the occasion of the recent webinar “Ki-Best 2020. Ki-Retail is ready“, an in-depth event on current trends in this sector, Fabrizio Valente, Founder and Administrator of Kiki Lab Ebeltoft Italy, a company specialized in Retail at 360 degrees and part of the Promotica Group, illustrated the main directives of this change:
“The new model of Retail, what we have called Ki-Retail, takes shape in four main trends, identified by the worldwide monitor of Ebeltoft Group of which Kiki Lab is part: Store Evolution, Digital Evolution, People Evolution and Circular Evolution. As for the first, we are witnessing a digitalization of the physical store, which is now increasingly integrated with high-tech solutions. Then new store formats are born, such as the mobile store, to bring certain brands even in places where there are no physical stores, or fully automated stores, without staff. These are therefore new solutions to be close to customers at all times and make spending more flexible and agile.
The second trend is Digital Evolution, which includes not only the development of e-commerce, but also all those innovations and digital tools that help to create engagement with customers and boost sales. During the lockdown period, online sales in our country grew at a fast pace, reaching 33%, more than doubled compared to 2019. Despite this result, however, we remain far from the levels of other industrialized countries, so in my opinion we cannot speak of a real digital revolution and e-commerce as a new frontier, although it cannot be denied that we are facing an unprecedented acceleration of this phenomenon. Leroy Merlin, for example, is a player that has distinguished itself for having introduced several digital-based innovations, such as the use of QR queues placed on totems inside stores and the use of smartphones by salespeople to chat with customers remotely, maintaining a relationship with them outside the classic store location. The company then used reviews, which are typical of online channels, even in physical stores: this is a prime example of hybridization and contamination between channels. There are therefore two parallel processes in place: on the one hand, the digital universe enters the offline one and contaminates it, on the other hand the digital takes its cue from the more traditional physical world to be more “human”. Here, for example, the use of influencers, which allow a more personal relationship with the customer, is included. However, it is important to always remember that each channel has defined and specific characteristics, and that customers have different expectations depending on the channel. A further trend is People Evolution, according to which people play a key role in the evolution towards a new Retail concept. Because they contribute in a positive way, it is first and foremost essential that sales staff and all those who interface with the end user are trained. Today the role of a salesperson has expanded to include new skills: we are no longer talking about salespeople, but about consultants and personal shoppers, for example. They interact with the customer in a more direct and personalized way, often through new ways thanks to the use of technology, for example by providing live sessions directly from the point of sale. Finally, the latest trend is that of the Circular Evolution, which takes the form of reusing and valuing second-hand goods, to have a lower impact on the environment. A virtuous example in this sense is the Darty Max initiative in France, a subscription model provided for the repair of household appliances, with a view to reuse and circular economy.
In conclusion, a new Retail model was born based on these four trends that guide the work of every company active in this sector. Successful companies have in common two critical skills: to put people at the center and to enhance the experience. It should never be forgotten that people, customers first and foremost, but also employees and collaborators, are the most important thing. In addition, it is no longer a matter of selling goods or a service, but rather an experience. I am convinced that the companies that will keep these elements in mind and that will be able to adapt to change in a dynamic way will be the protagonists of the Retail of the future“.