Paul Presented to the PIX Industry Conference on How Changes for Consumers and the Future of Shopping Will Impact on the Agricultural Supply Chain

The key points were:

  • Consumers are being shaped by their experience with all the companies and organisations they interact with. So you are not competing with other players in your sector, you are competing against every customer experience they have.
  • One possible future for shopping is an increase in online commerce. In the food sector, this is easier to carry out for non-perishables. This means that many non-perishables may become part of an automated ordering and delivery system, reducing the amount of attention that consumers allocate in deciding which ones to buy. This means that more attention will be paid to the perishable goods, increasing the interest that consumers have in where their products come from.
  • A second possible future for shopping is that brick and mortar stores fight back against e-commerce by mirroring the advantages that online shopping has. They will do this by reducing the friction in the shopping process (eg Amazon Go) and increasing the technology that is part of the process including sensors and augmented reality information systems. Tied to information that retailers already have on identity, shopping habits, and payment systems this means that retailers will have far more information on consumers. At its extreme retailers will be able to run A/B testing systems in the store just like websites do now. They will be able to supply consumers with different information and see what effects it has on buying decisions.
  • All of this means that consumers will be far more interested where perishable goods come from and how they have been produced and feedback down the supply chain will get closer and closer to real time. Producers that can figure out in advance what consumers want will have leverage for higher margins in the relationships with retailers.