Posted by Jonathan Choat, Nexus, UK IPRN Member
Laura May, Business Analyst for IGD
From drones to big data, start-ups to smart living, IGD predict the future-shaping areas to watch across the global food and consumer goods industry this year.
1. Store-to-door transformation
2015 is a year for supply chain innovators to shine. As online grocery sales rise in every major market, and the distinction between online and in-store shopping continues to blur, the industry will need to create new solutions for shoppers to order and receive products anytime, anywhere. Pioneers include Amazon, currently experimenting with drone deliveries to reach shoppers within 30 minutes, as well as collaborations such as e-tailer Yihaodian with convenience chain FamilyMart in China, adding hundreds of new pick-up points in prime locations. However, in tough trading conditions, the cost-benefit equation will be critical and retailers will seek ingenious ways to deliver quick, accurate service as efficiently as possible.
2. When technologies collide
The number of smart connected objects worldwide could reach almost 5bn this year and 25bn by 2020*. This will include new technologies, such as the Mink 3D cosmetics home printer, plus a widening array of everyday products that interconnect. For instance, Xiaomi’s air purifier sends an alert to your smartphone if air quality dips or its filter needs changing. As the industry explores further how to interact with consumers in their home, on the go and in the store, we’ll see some exciting developments this year.
3. Finger on the data pulse
As societies across much of the world wrestle with ageing populations and rising obesity, health is a universal hot topic. New breakthroughs will arise from the use of devices such as smartphone apps and wearable tech to help people track their health continuously and in detail, from calories burned, to UV light exposure. If users can be persuaded to share this data, it will help companies deliver personalised communication to help make healthier choices. One company that’s already picking up on this is US retailer Walgreens, rewarding members of its loyalty scheme with extra points for each mile they walk, run or cycle.
4. Big business fights back
Last year many long established industry giants were severely challenged by innovative and agile businesses of various shapes and sizes. In 2015, we’ll see which big businesses can react, adapt and return to form. We’re sure to see retailers revealing new pricing tactics, such as Morrisons, the first retailer in the UK to price-match Aldi and Lidl. Creating new “Stores of the Future” will be vital, as retailers pursue ways to provide a shopping experience that stands up to, and complements, online.
5. Custodians for customers
Shoppers are increasingly expecting an “access all areas” visibility into companies to help them make informed and ethical purchasing decisions. This year, we’ll see further big advances along the road towards total transparency as businesses seek to make the right calls on behalf of their customers to earn and maintain trust.
*Source: Gartner Inc., November 2014 http://www.gartner.com/newsroom/id/2905717