In retail the customer is the key figure. Successful will be the business that understands the need of the consumer and digital technologies can be of assistance here. Retail digitalization was discussed by the participants of the More Than Just A Store. Smart Retail Technologies discussion.

Due to constant changes the retail has to divert from the classic model, demonstrate flexibility, and look for new ways of interacting with customers. Thus, chain stores “Magnit” use surveillance cameras not only for security purposes, but also to study the behavior of their customers.

“We analyze why promo merchandise isn’t selling, why people won’t go near shelves with discounts, the paths they take around the store in general. Technology allows us to better understand the needs of people and modify our inner workings accordingly,” clarified IT & Information Security Director of “Magnit” Evgeny Melnikov, and added that their company was the first retailer to introduce the Face ID payment system.

Another new trend is that people are no longer willing to spend time on going into stores. This is the key to the success of IKEA, as their business was initially based on the customer convenience, stated Head of the IKEA retail chain in Russia Pontus Erntell. “The three keywords for the customer are “merchandise relevance” “convenience” and “added value.” 80% of customers begin their journey in the store online. Therefore, in my view, a synergy of digitalization and traditional promotion methods is needed.”

This position is shared by Metro Cash and Carry Marketing Director Alexander Fedosov: “The reality of the situation is that during the last few years the mall market has been steadily declining by 5% a year. It is vital for us to find new sale channels and create collaborations which will support our business. We are looking into developing B2C and B2B online systems as an important trade instrument for that purpose.”

Co-Founder of Lamoda Group Florian Jansen, Yandex.Market Director General Maksim Grishakov, Microsoft Rus President Kristina Tikhonova also took part in the discussion.