The Retail Agenda Forum 2018 touched on global trends, technology and creative thinking that would put retailers on the path of success.
After a successful premier last year, StrongPoint APAC hosted its second Retail Agenda Forum at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre on April 17th. StrongPoint APAC SVP and Managing Director Roine Gabrielsson kicked off the morning by highlighting global trends affecting the retail business, especially in the face of a soft economy and the fast-growing e-commerce sector. He emphasised the need for retailers to embrace the Online-to-offline (O2O) concept as a way to diversify their market reach.
Good practice and pitfalls
StrongPoint Global Product Director Andrius Kalašinskas spoke on the digitalisation of retail operations and improved shopping experience for customers. He highlighted some of the solutions that worked well and those that did not.
He touched on the business of Amazon and Alibaba, pointing out that last year Amazon invested 20% of its revenue in innovation. This showed that Amazon recognised the store as a media, especially after the purchase of Whole Foods.
He also shared the story of the first fully automated store called Keedoozle that was introduced in Memphis, in the United States in 1937. Customers were given keys to use while shopping. As dry and canned goods were displayed behind glass displays, shoppers used the keys to select the quantity they wanted.
However, technology at that time was not equipped to handle heavy traffic. This resulted in crossed wires and wrong items being delivered. It also slowed down conveyor belts. Keedoozle closed down in 1949. “This is an example of a good idea with an underdeveloped technology,” Kalašinskas said.
Following a short break, the forum resumed with a panel discussion comprising Malaysian retail leaders. They all agreed on the need for human-centric technology in their line of business. Another key takeaway was that price wars would not be sustainable in the long run.
The event ended with professional speaker and author Fredrik Hären. He conducted a lively session on business creativity to spur retailers to approach issues in their business in a remarkably different way.
Later, a post-conference workshop was held where invited guests witnessed the launch of StrongPoint’s E-commerce Logistics Suite.
Another successful Retail Agenda Forum came to an end, and we are excited to see the 2019 edition next year.