Published 2/5/2015

Retail Summit 2015 (Praha, February 3 & 4, 2015) focused on the search of new paths for retail development. This key topic was discussed from different angles, like new strategies or innovation of products, services and retail formats. Nevertheless, the most intensive attention was given to distribution channels and to the search for new paths connecting manufacturers, retailers and consumers. No wonder as this area is most affected by explosion of new technologies, drivers of the digital and mobile revolution. Discussions at Retail Summit 2015 came to the conclusion that the consumer knows exactly what he wants. He asks for deep understanding, wants to shop in most convenient way anywhere, anytime and in the way he prefers to choose. And desires to get the same brand experience in all channels, be the website, brick & mortar store or home delivery. Satisfying this demand is one of the most probable paths to the success at the retail market of near future. A path which is not trivial but passable…

Retail Summit 2015 was held on February 3 & 4, 2015 in the atmosphere which was much more optimistic than the one of past few years of the event. Retail market has finally re-started its growth, the consumers are turning optimistic and ready to spend money. As Vladimír Dlouhý, President of the Czech Chamber of Commerce, pointed, we can´t rely that the times are changing for better definitively. Most of all, the development of European economy is quite risky in several aspects and recent forecasts signalize the deterioration of its outlook. Apart from that, Czech market is confronted with very high saturation and it is not prudent to believe in company survival without principle change of strategy or innovation. No wonder that the topic of the search for new paths attracted to the Retail Summit 2015 more than a thousand participants what represents new record in the history of this largest retail conference in Central & Eastern Europe.

Inspiration for the search of new paths

Retail Summit 2015 offered a variety of inspiring presentations showing the direction to all those searching for new paths. Libor Malý, the visionary - entrepreneur and chairman of the association Adato, highlighted that today, the employees (most of all those of large corporations) are out of energy or even burnt out. They have money but dramatically lack the inner satisfaction. They can handle cost cutting, sometimes even grow the revenues but have no energy to enjoy it and radiate kindness. It is therefore the highest time „to search for new paths of joy“, and employ our hearts. Complete change of business culture, new ways of motivation and engagement of employees are probably the toughest task ahead of us. Blue Events plan to focus on this topic and dedicate several specialized conferences to it.

Grant McKenzie, Marketing Director of Plzeňský Prazdroj, presented five principle options how to drive stagnating and saturated market. In a nutshell: it is a matter of targeting of new consumer segments, overall efforts to uplift the category, creation of new consumption occasions, flawless mastering of all communication touch-points with focus on P.O.S. and – last but not least – efficient innovations. The latter was discussed in detail by Johan Sjöstrand, international innovations expert from Nielsen. He pointed out that the companies launch immense amount of new products, investing huge volume of money and time. In spite of that the share of successful products, making the real breakthrough, is dramatically low. What makes these products so unique? Global research of Nielsen documents that this is most of all clear consumer orientation and targeting. Demand driven consumer insights, product development and activation are the key, not me-too approach, following the competition or fulfillment of internal ambitions of manufacturer lacking any market rationale. Consistent focus on consumer value was seen also in several discussion panels of Retail Summit 2015, a/o from leaders of Hornbach and Danone, Jaroslav Paděra and Koen Burghouts.

Improvement in relations between retailers and manufacturers represents another significant path to market development. As Pavel Pichler of Advantage Group proved in his analysis, this strategic relation is in really bad shape and recently even shows further worsening with improvement potential in all key areas. The good news is that namely in this respect, Retail Summit 2015 managed to show good piece of progress. Retailers- manufacturers relations were discussed within the top-to-top discussion panel at the opening of the Summit, with prestigious panelists including top retailers and producers, President of Association of Commerce (SOCR ČR) Marta Nováková and Minister Marian Jurečka. Another occasion was a specialized discussion organized by ECR ČR/SR where the new Czech and Slovak launch of European Supply Chain Initiative was announced. This self-regulatory effort, promoting fair trading, is a/o supported by EUROCOMMERCE and has at this point already almost nine hundred members across the whole Europe, key retailers and manufacturers included.

Omnichannel alias how not to get lost on the multi-level junction

New technologies, and most of all the recently rapidly progressing mobile revolution, are driving the changes of the retail market. Changing shopping patterns are calling for creation of new distribution channels. As highlighted by Marek Růžička of O2 Czech Republic: we witness fast growth of omnichannel retailing - next development stage of marketing and sales strategy reaching across distribution and communication channels, at this point already massively fueled by the latest innovations like social networks, mobile technologies or new payment methods. Modern technologies help a lot but can´t save us alone. The granular understanding of complex causalities is a must, together with the needed return back to entrepreneurial basics, to the true essence of retail business.

Martin Dlouhý (TESCO) completed this idea in very clear way: The customer knows exactly what he wants. He searches for our understanding of his needs, wants to shop anywhere and anytime in the most convenient way, defined by him. And he desires for the same brand experience when shopping from a web site, brick & mortar store or home delivery. The customer knows „how to cross the multi-level junction“, both he and the retailer are just approaching. Is the retailer ready to guide him through that crossing? There is the answer to the new requirements – most of all, it is the consistent strategy, based on deep understanding of new consumers, and implementation of the latest technologies. Interesting case study of such solution was presented by Donal Mc Daid of Symphony EYC. Mercator, one of the largest retail chains in South Eastern Europe, launched its Click&Collect service, offering its hypermarket goods to everybody, with the possibility of home delivery or personal collection at the store. New technologies tracking the stock levels in the real time prevented Mercator from potential in-store/shelf out of stock caused by online orders.

Future of traditional retail trade

The whole conference has confirmed that the retail industry stands at the verge of huge changes. Michael Carl of German think-tank 2bAHEAD has fully supported that idea as well when stating that main stream mass market shows intensive convergence with e-commerce and signalizes the growth of integrated retail models as presented above. Retailers are gradually getting used to the fact that one day their shoppers will trust own mobile phone more than human personnel of traditional store. We can expect strong boom of personal digital „helpers“ like mobile payments, smart purchase consulting and support within the whole customer journey. This is all in sharp contradiction with recent approach of retailers who gradually minimized the role of personalized sales service. Traditional brand pyramid, i.e. economy – standard – premium brands, does not help retailers to higher efficiency any more. Analyses prove that „economy“ retail segment will further increase its share and will be transformed into omnichannel retailing. The old middle - standard segment – will gradually disappear and premium segment will pass the process of dramatic change. The future success calls for principle differentiation and offering of unique services and shop atmosphere/ambience. Location and personnel will represent the key factors, co-creating the store identity of the place where the shoppers will on purpose switch off their digital „helpers“ and enjoy the “real shopping” full of emotions.

So the core question of survival of the traditional retail trade is how to uplift the shopping experience. Manfred Litschka, regional lead of TCC agency highlighted in that context that the customers should be motivated to repeated purchases by significant added value. Action prices and discounts are not the answer, there are nevertheless other solutions to promotions including those offered by TCC. One of the attractive options, loyalty and payment card Dobrá karta (Good Card) was presented by Marek Rehberger (ČSOB) and Roman Bruzl (COOP).

Basic facts on Retail Summit 2015

  • Retail Summit 2015 has been prepared jointly by the Czech Confederation of Commerce and Tourism, University of Economics in Prague and Blue Events agency, continuing the tradition of previous 20 years. The Summit focused on the Czech market but at the same time retained its international character.

  • Retail Summit was associated with the granting of awards to the most successful retailers - under the auspices of MasterCard during the ceremony awards Retailer of the Year 2014. The Summit participants have chosen by thein votes the winners of the categories "Innovation in Business" and "Personality of the Retail Trade".

  • Thanks to high participation, this year´s Retail Summit was the best attended in the 21 years of its history. The meetings organized during the two days were attended by nearly a thousand representatives of companies and institutions. This confirmed that companies operating in the Czech and Central European markets have a very strong incentive to seek ways to succeed in today's uncertain times.

  • Among participants of Retail Summit 2015 there were mainly representatives of retail trade (29 % of participants) and the production of consumer goods (25%). Other participants were the suppliers of information and communication technologies, governmental authorities, media, banks, schools and expert institutions. Compared to previous years, 2015 Summit has seen growing participation of retailers and stable share of manufacturers. Another source of the increase of the participants numbers were representatives of technology and service companies. This corresponds to an overall change in the industry that moves further from the mere sale of goods to service activities, often with a high degree of technology utilization.

  • More than 60 % of the participants represented the top management of companies, 282 of them were managers with business card CEO, chairman or managing director. Participation of key decision-makers thus again significantly increased compared to the past years.

  • Retail Summit 2015 was held with the support of tens of companies and institutions. Special thanks of the organizers go to the Platinum Partners CSOB, Pilsner Urquell and O2.

Retail Summit 2015 contact information
When: 3rd-4th Feb 2015
Where: Clarion Congress Hotel Prague

More information about the conference:
Barbora Krásná, Blue Events
Tel.: +420 222 749 841, e-mail:

Media contact: Aneta Zímová, Blue Events
Tel.: +420 730 184 505, e-mail: