Jan Zijderveld, president Europe, Unilever, urged the industry to put the heart back into the centre of the store and create customer engagement.
According to Zijderveld, the biggest impact of the digital revolution is going to be in bricks and mortar stores and there is a need to “reinvent the store experience”.
Zijderveld highlighted Apple as a business leading the way and a productive retailer/supplier and called for retailers to introduce a similar amount of passion for their products.
He gave examples where retailers have cross merchandised fresh products in the centre of the store and driven sales as a result. Zijderveld highlighted Unilever’s Maille mustard standalone stores in Paris, which offer mustards on tap and gift bags, and said aspects of the offer had been introduced in retail outlets and delivered €60,000 in sales.
He suggested grocery retailers took at leaf out of the health and beauty departments at airports and offered product demonstrations and make-overs etc.
Apple has in-store geniuses, Zijderveld said, and revealed Carrefour in Asia now has 15 geniuses in-store, driving sales by suggesting what to cook tonight etc.
“The heart of the store is a growth opportunity,” he concluded.