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Retail industry urged to act now to address future problems as digital commerce grows

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The retail industry is being urged to work together on developing solutions for future problems set to arise from the twin ‘megatrends’ of a move to digital commerce alongside predicted shortages of resources.

The call from the Consumer Goods Forum and Capgemini comes in a new report, Future Value Chain 2022: Industry Initiatives Address Challenges of the Digital World and the Fight for Resources. It argues that the two trends are those likely to have “the greatest impact on the consumer goods and retailer industry in the coming five to 20 years.”

“Digitisation is changing consumers’ lives and shopping behaviour,” said Thomas Storck, member of the management board, merchandising and multichannel retailing officer at Galeria Kaufhof. “At the same time, global demand for resources like food, water and energy is rising rapidly with the potential for demand to outstrip supply in the next decade.

“The industry must work together to develop concrete milestones to respond to these megatrends and build an action plan to move these from theory to reality.”

The report comes from the Future Value Chain programme which has run for the past seven years. It sees more than 200 retail and consumer goods executives work together on research and analysis to focus on how, through a set of collaborative initiatives, the industry can benefit consumers in the light of significant changes taking place in society, consumer behaviour, the environment and technology.

“This is a historic moment. The thorough process across desk research, online surveys and crowdsourcing as well as a workshop has helped achieve a defined roadmap for us as an industry to follow and commit to deliver on the recommendations. This is an exciting time to be a consumer – they are in control. The next 10 years will mark a radical change in how products are sourced and purchased,” said Peter Florenz, corporate vice president and global head of governmental relations and public affairs, Henkel AG & Co KGaA and co-chair of The Consumer Goods Forum’s emerging trends steering committee.

The report has singles out three areas for action.

A consumer engagement protocol project aims to establish guidelines to address changes in consumer behaviour, balancing interaction through social media and other digital channels with the right to privacy.

A next-generation product identification aims to provide the industry and the consumer with accurate product information by using new technology capabilities for product identification to replace the current barcode.

Plans for a sustainable packaging coalition aim to improve the sustainability of packaging across the different value chain stages.

“The industry is at a critical tipping point and must ensure its future by implementing these initiatives to drive innovation,” said Sabine Ritter, executive vice president, strategy, industry initiatives, strategic alliances at The Consumer Goods Forum. “Success is hard to quantify but we must focus on collaboration and non-competitive improvements that will protect consumers and the vital components that will create one of the most innovative and forward-thinking sectors.”

The full report is available at

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