What will become the worldwide trends for food and fmcg (fast-moving consumer goods) in 2016? IGD's Senior Retail Analyst - Multichannel, Toby Pickard, gives us a small overview.
Health at the heart of the store
British food retail industry's research institute, IGD, predicts the market will shift towards healthy alternatives. Governments increase the pressure on the industry, demanding it contributes to the national healthcare goals. Companies on the other hand consider this an important competitive opportunity.
This will push forward innovation as store layout and displays will be altered to encourage customers to take healthier decisions. Retailers will probably reward customers with discounts, promotions and prizes. Walgreens, in the United States, for example gives shoppers points if they make healthier choices.
Seeing how retailers will alter their product range to enable healthier choices, suppliers will face a crucial task to alter their products' composition as well.
The East sets the tone
The best business practices traditionally flow from West to East in retail, but nowadays these Eastern economies are so dynamic that the trend is buckling. Western retailers are forced to increase their rate of innovation if they do not want to fall behind.
To illustrate: Human robot Pepper is already present in more than 140 Softbank Mobile points of sale in Japan, prior to his mere French introduction by Carrefour.
In order to catch up, the West could acquire a few Asian techniques, like the Singles Day special event or new online business models.
Power of voice
With speech recognition an integral part of smartphones, we are now faced with a new wave of innovation, which should exponentially increase the growth of "big data". We can order products, organize our calendar and request information from devices that can talk back.
Brands will probably have to pay license fees to technology providers, to make sure their product can keep using these technologies while they compete for exclusive selling rights. They will also face new competitors: search engines might become tomorrow's stores.
Consider Amazon Echo, a speaker that can create shopping lists, provide news, do searches, stream music and order from your Amazon order history if required.
Time is money
Retailers will have to consider how they can save a shopper time, which will become a highly competitive edge for those retailers who can. Customer loyalty can be obtained by offering convenient and effortless solutions. Store layouts will alter and new vending machines, like those for prepared meals, will surface.
Albert Heijn launched a self-scan store without any cash registers in Amsterdam. The goal is to get customers in and out of the store as fast as possible.
Emotion versus promotion
How are retailers supposed to differentiate themselves in a stagnant market? An increasing number of companies will move away from an avalanche of promotions, looking for new ways to entice customers, based on the latest innovations in consumer psychology.
Brands will focus on deep consumer insights to deliver more personalized interactions. They will realize it is about people, rather than about consumers, while social media will play a crucial role in the communication between shoppers, brands and retailers.
A prime example is Coca-Cola's new global marketing strategy: "Taste the feeling". Everything is based on the idea that drinking any type of Coca-Cola brings joy to those everyday moments.