The new shopping experience gains prominence this Christmas

Stores offering immersion experiences, spaces where customers can test a variety of products, shops with augmented reality. Digital transformation is changing the rules of the retail game. Today, there is no point in talking about physical stores or digital stores, as the lines separating them are disappearing to give way a new hybrid shopping experience. A new store that uses technology to improve customer experience and combines the best of both worlds. This Christmas, this is consolidated as one of the main trends.

Click & Collect (shop online and pick up at the physical store), Research Online, Purchase Off-line (search online and buy at the store) or Store-to-Web and Web-to-Store (offer assistance to clients on the website so that they can buy a product that is not in the store or vice versa) are some of the commercial strategies that combine the online and off-line world, which are becoming popular in recent years, and are here to stay. The same goes for Spain.

In Spain, however, this tendency is still in its infancy and during the Christmas season, tradition will continue to push hard; physical stores will continue to be the preferred space for Spanish people to do their shopping, with e-commerce on the rise but still far behind. This is shown by the “2018 Christmas Study” by the consulting firm Deloitte that indicates that 73% of total spending during the holidays will take place in conventional stores and 27% online, although the latter has grown 5.3% compared to last year.

Contrary to predictions based on the advent of online commerce a few years ago, traditional stores are living a second youth. Since 2015, the percentage of consumers shopping at least once a week in physical stores has grown from 36% to 44% worldwide, and in Spain, from 40% to 46%, as reported by the 2018 Consumer Insights Survey by the consulting firm PwC. At the same time, however, shopping via mobile devices is also growing and already accounts for 17% of the total, very close to computer-based shopping. All in all, the increase in online and off-line shopping reaffirms the demand from customers of a hybrid, omni-channel store-mobile experience.

According to the director of Retail & Brand Experience World Congress, Alba Batiste, “During this Christmas, the symbiosis between the online and off-line world will be very noticeable. A trend mixing the present and the future that is still a long way to go in our country, especially among small retailers.”

Retail, from Barcelona to the world
The next edition of the Retail & Brand Experience World Congress will be held next May to analyse these and other current and future trends, as well as the new opportunities generated by the wave of technological innovation in the retail trade sector. A new event, fully international in scope and organised by Fira de Barcelona from May 27 to 29 at the Gran Vía venue that will bring together the main experts in the field to discuss the digital transformation of a key sector in the world economy that has grown an annual average of over 3% since 2015, generates a turnover of more than 19 billion Euros per year and that in Europe alone employs more than 18.5 million people, according to PwC.

For the Director of Self-Owned Businesses at Fira de Barcelona, ​​Salvador Tasqué “Retail & Brand Experience World Congress shows Fira’s commitment to innovation and a determined commitment to continue to boost our economy, move forward with the trends and introduce new features at a moment when the retail trade is in the midst of a process that is changing the rules of the game and laying the foundation for the future of the sector”.

Meanwhile, the director of the event, Alba Batiste, says that “We needed an event that would analyse these changing times in the sector from a general point of view. The main difference with other existing proposals is that we do not distinguish between online and off-line commerce, but we place the consumer at the centre, since the purchase process can begin in one channel and end in another, and on this premise we structure the congress and the trade fair”.

Retail & Brand Experience World Congress will have an approach to business development specially focused on the real impact that technology is already having in stores. “The goal is to analyse the multitude of data generated by the digitalisation of the purchase process and benefit from such data, understand the consumer’s needs, detect how the new purchasing methods work in relation to new distribution channels, new products and new ways of selling”.

In this regard, there will be a wide variety of topics that will be discussed in the congress. Among them is the digitalisation of stores, digital marketing, user experience, supply chain, new e-commerce solutions and innovative IT services, big data, and new business models. “We will add knowledge to solutions and a platform of new proposals, with a very experiential part that will show how technology can impact on the retail business,” Batiste adds.

The first edition of the Retail & Brand Experience World Congress will take place from 27 to 29 May, 2019 at the Fira de Barcelona Gran Via venue and will feature a hundred speakers, an exhibition area with 120 companies, as well as 75 startups, 25 of which will participate in a competition featuring the best new retail companies, and the remaining 50 will be part of a commercial exhibition area.

Barcelona, 20th December 2018