Baltic Retail Forum: people don’t want to spend their lives in stores

  • 2018-04-17
  • Vootele Päi

TALLINN - On Baltic Retail Forum 2018 conference, StrongPoint Technology Senior Vice President and Managing Director Evaldas Budvilaitis said that in retail business - time is of essence. “People are not looking to spend their lives wandering round in stores – they want to make their purchases efficiently and conveniently and this is the driving force in retail business nowadays,” said Budvilaitis. According to Budvilaitis, automation and innovation should be efficiently applied in order to meet consumer’s expectations and raise the profitability of online retail.

The trend of self-service in Estonian stores should continue to grow. However, Estonian retailers show more and more interest into more innovative solutions that increase efficiency, e.g., smart shelf edge, e-commerce logistics options to mention a few. ““When it comes to e-commerce we have to keep in mind that logistics and delivery and picking point will become the only contact point for the client with the retailer, so the process should be seamless to ensure positive customer experience,” said Budvilaitis. He added that when innovating their processes and sales, retailers should keep in mind that they would reach the breakeven point as soon as possible.

“Baltic Retail Forum 2018” conference brought together experts of retail industry from the region but also from further. The conference focused on the future of retail industry and the discussions concentrated on how digitalization and new technological solutions will influence the retail business in coming years. The conference is organized by StrongPoint, retail technology company. In addition to 25 years of experience in the Baltic States, StrongPoint is also operating in 15 other European countries and in South-East Asia.

In her presentation, Google’s Associate Account Strategist Greta Pudan focused on online trends in retail business. “The consumer is constantly online, looking for answers and inspiration through web channels and social media,” said Pudan. She noted that most successful are advertisers, who know how to use their client data and tailor their marketing messages accordingly. “If the retailer has decided to launch e-commerce they have to consider that their mobile interface would be user-friendly and that their marketing strategy would be client oriented instead channel oriented,” Pudan added.

SEB banks macroeconomist Mihkel Nestor gave an overview about Estonian economic situation. According to Nestor, retailers have mixed feelings this year. “Employment and salaries are on the rise and consumer’s purchasing power in Estonia is higher than ever,” said Nestor. Nestor also said that the competition is getting increasingly tough and the e-commerce is pushing it even harder. “In coming years we see the growth of turnovers, however the margins will be under increasing pressure. Finding workers will also remain as a challenge for the retailers - getting clients to visit the store would not be such a challenge compared to finding people to work there,” said Nestor.

Baltic Retail Forum took place on 12th of April in Apollo Cinema attracting experts and retailers all across the Baltics. According to the survey conducted at the conference, all of the participants were either planning or considering investing into e-commerce in coming years. Conference was organized by StrongPoint in partnership with NCR, Zebra, Datema, Verifone, Partner Tech, Google and Estonian Traders Association.