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Busy, impressionistic city shopping street scene made from ones and zeros and overlaid with glowing computer numbers.

Yes! But the real question should be how to transform the constant data flow into a tool to reinvent our customers’ view and their relations with brands, seamlessly between on and offline.

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As the birthplace of retail trends, Paris is a leading capital city for international chains and brands. New York meanwhile presents itself as the world’s retail lab.

Why do French retailers choose New York to test their projects? Why is French Expertise such a big hit across the Atlantic? Do these two cities, both symbols of retail, really complement each other? 

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Target customer concept. Stand out from the crowd and be individual..

Candidates must emphasise their Soft Skills, rather than their technical knowledge, if they have their sights set on a position in the constantly-evolving Digital sector. Digital jobs require candidates to be able to adapt, to learn quickly, to demonstrate a cooperative spirit and to continuously reinvent themselves to keep pace with the fast-moving Digital sector.

What are Soft Skills? Unmeasurable, unlike technical skills, they are the human qualities which make up the personality of each individual.

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During recent years consumer behavior has changed, as well as the consumer himself. Evolutions in technology and society cause the rules of the game to change at an increasing pace.

I extracted three relatively new shop-phenomenons consumers today appreciate:

First, consumers are much more aware, and want to be more aware, of what they buy and what they consume. Knowing where the product is coming from, who is selling it, which price is fair, etc. are aspects of interest which relate to the ‘slow shopping’ phenomenon, as I like to call it.

A second phenomenon relates to the digital revolution. Next to the urge of consumers – especially the young generation – to be connected at all times, consumers are able to search for relevant information whenever they need it. Moreover, they are able to buy products with the same ease as pushing a button. This way of shopping I like to call ‘swipe-shopping’.

Third, consumers are looking for (new) experiences, increasingly within retail. They want to FEEL something when shopping, the want to experience pleasure (and this is pleasure not derived from the purchase itself) when shopping. More than we might expect, consumers want to interact with a retailer, feel connected and associated with to the store (in scientific literature this phenomenon is called the self-congruity theory). This one I refer to as ‘experience shopping’.

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Young woman using mobile phone at hair salon and reading text message.

A new era is opening up before us. Physical retailing is joining forces with digital retailing to create a retail experience focused on à la carte services. As borders are being eradicated, the winners are the hyper-connected consumers in search of experiences. Retailers are looking to create a symbiosis with the individual – what we call Augmented Retail, the theme of the 2016 Paris Retail Week.

With the arrival of digital technology in our daily lives, new opportunities of consumption through mobile tools are emerging and expanding. These moments of transition between two activities are opening up the way to a new form of shopping, one which is increasingly online, connected and ultra-personalised.

What are these new consumption times, are they the same as 10 years ago? When do French people want to consume, and how?

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The increase in the number of customers who shop online and the frequency of online visits by these consumers is unequivocally the most important reason for digital growth in retail. Part of that process in these hectic times finds consumers switching from mobile telephone to laptop to tablet. This behaviour is referred to as cross-device shopping. The phenomenon can be useful for retail.

Cloud commerce involves completing entire transactions (from offers and sales to completing administrative procedures) outside of the seller’s domain. This was just pie in the sky barely five years ago but is now a daily cost at American glossy blogs and luxury brands. Uniting the shopping experience across devices is crucial. When moving from one device to another, the person shopping expects the websites to handle the switch effortlessly. Retailers must ensure that personal elements such as the shopping cart, sales items and even customer recommendations follow the shopper seamlessly from one device to another.

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The fast evolution of customers’ habits is posing a challenge for retailers, brands and E-commerce nowadays in China. This is particularly true with the emergence of a large middle-class with the same buying power as Europeans and the youth population educated at the best American and international universities.

During my last visit in April 2016, I was immersed in the Chinese and international population of Beijing and Shanghai. I observed the customers’ behaviors in stores, in public transports and in the streets. It is surprising to see the addiction of Chinese people to their Mobile phones, which they use to interact with friends, watch movies, meet new people around them with the “Shake” option, order online…. The Mobile is at the center of their daily lives and it is becoming the pillar of their social experience.

Digital advertising is also much more developed there than in Europe or in North America — For example, as you ride the subway, short videos and ads are projected on the wall along the rails. It is new kind of billboards.

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The delivery to a customer remains one of the decisive elements of an online sale. A failed delivery can ruin all the efforts you have put into winning over the customer and securing the sale.

The connected customer is fickle, moving from one seller to another and forcing the sales models to be constantly reinvented.

In this context, can the delivery be a lever of growth and differentiation? Logistics today achieves good operational performances, but it must now concentrate on the customer’s expectations.