Some 350 participants attended the annual RetailDetail Congress on 28 April. With three parallel sessions and a plenary evening programme, it was a well-filled, inspiring day. An (incomplete) retrospective in eight remarkable quotes.
“To be human, you need technology”
“You must learn from each other – not copy, but learn. Don’t invent the hot water every time,” says media personality and entrepreneur Eline De Munck of optical brand Odette Lunettes. “Make sure you can use your human capital for exactly what it is: human capital. Just to be human, you need technology.”
“Salespeople are not interested in customers”
Lies Eeckman of the disruptive electric car brand Polestar took the traditional car sector and the entire retail sector to task: “A salesperson today is not at all interested in the customer standing in front of them. We must at least reinvent the middle man so that they are genuinely interested in service and in the customer.”
“Barely 1% of all clothing is recycled”
Just about the most polluting industry in the world? That must be the fashion sector. “The production of clothes has increased by 100% in the last 25 years, less than 1% of all clothes are recycled,” knows Pascale Switten, CEO of the circular private outlet Cameleon: “That is opening the door to overconsumption. It really can’t go on like this.” The retailer bets on second-hand and is also thinking about clothing rental.
“Keep it real”
Influencer marketing may already be the new word-of-mouth, but on social media you don’t just do whatever you want. “Always be open and honest,” says lawyer Koen Vranckaert, but the influencers present were shocked by the guidelines that both the Flemish and federal governments recently published. “We’re not going to organise a witch hunt,” soothes the Flemish Media Regulator. If you soon see the hashtag #gift popping up en masse in your Instagramstories: it all started at RetailDetail.
“This isn’t about China, it’s about the whole world”
People who think that Alibaba is a shop to sell your stuff to Chinese consumers are mistaken: it is the gateway to the whole world, according to Roland Palmer, who sprinkled impressive figures like it was nothing. Belgian companies appear to be doing very well on the platform with food supplements and superfoods, a market with a potential of 40 billion dollars. Fact: 90% of e-commerce in China is mobile commerce. And on live streaming platform Taobao, 150,000 hours of content are published every day. If you want to watch it, that’s more than 17 years… per day.
“Being annoying is good”
You don’t just become a distributor of Rainpharma products like that: there’s an entire intake procedure beforehand. All the fault of founder Dominique Bastin, who wanted a company without investors, meetings or corporate culture. And without troublesome customers. So they went from 500 to 150 shops, to multiply the turnover by eight. Strong. He had another strong statement: “Pharmacies are the coal mines of the future”…
“Follow your customer”
The American Megan Maley spent her youth near Belgium, Wisconsin. So for the Zalando top woman, this conference was a bit of a homecoming. The platform wants to be the starting point for fashion, with an unprecedented range and ease of use. 50% of orders contain more than one brand. Tom Baelden of LolaLiza told us why that is good for brands. Follow your customers, was his advice. Zalando guarantees volume and you can sell at full price. The fashion label is expanding the number of countries and from June will also test Zalando’s Connected Retail service, with the processing of online orders from the shops.
“Digital or analogue? Dialogue!”
The last word was for RetailDetail founder Jorg Snoeck, who took us into a future full of virtual influencers and cyborgs, where humans transform into Phono Sapiens and the metaverse becomes a reality. “Who do you trust the most: your partner, or Waze?” The audience laughed a little uncomfortably. The icing on the cake was the official presentation of the brand new book The Future of Shopping – Re-set, Re-made, Re-tail, with co-author Pauline Neerman on stage and a stunt promotion that the attendees gladly accepted. After which, the networking drink cum walking dinner could start. We will remain discrete about that…
View photos of the RetailDetail Congress on our Facebook page via this link.
The next RetailDetail event takes place on 9 June: the RetailDetail Food Congress welcomes an interesting agenda with speakers from, among others, Deloitte, Nestlé, Coca-Cola, VLAM, Pieter Pot, Kriket, Delhaize, Gorillas and Mosa Meat. More info will follow soon, you can already order dearly bird tickets via this link.