Demand for a convenient and frictionless shopping experience has led to more automated stores, Judith Kolenburg reports. On her side, Meryl Perrot examines the “refill or return” trend.
Watch video here.



The challenge of sustainability with Ana Amaral, Private Label Director at Sonae MC; Filip Wallays, Co-CEO of Agristo NV; and Marjan de Bock-Smit, Managing Partner at Impact Buying BV.
Watch video here.



PLMA E-Scanner – January 2022

January, 2022
Hack attacks on chains signal greater investment in cybersecurity

Last year, several retailers were hit by a cyber-attack. In July, Coop Sweden had to close all of its 800 stores for days after point-of-sale tills and self-service checkouts stopped working. The company itself was not the target, a large software supplier that it works with was hit. In October, the Tesco app and website went down for two days after a hack that left customers unable to place orders. In December, more than 300 James Hall-supplied Spar stores in the UK fell victim to an attack and had to close their doors. The wholesaler’s IT systems were invaded, and hackers gained access to its internal systems, operating everything from stock control to logistics.

The cases highlight the growing concern among retailers about both direct targeted attacks as well as attacks where hackers claim multiple victims by attacking their suppliers. In this increasing digitalizing retail world, investing in cybersecurity is becoming more important. Schwarz Group, owner of Lidl and Kaufland, just bought a major stake in Israeli IT security provider XM Cyber. The company simulates attack paths, using simulated attacker techniques in vulnerable parts of companies’ IT system in order to close them.

Where is it? Retailers trialling in-store wayfinding apps

In the UK, several retailers have launched tests with apps that show the in-store path to a desired product. Marks & Spencer uses a tool developed by start-up Dent Reality. When users enter a product, they follow an on-screen path to its shelf location. In addition, users can enter a full shopping list and the app will calculate the optimum route between items. The tool uses augmented reality, when the phone is held up it shows markers and points to a product on the shelf. When the phone is held down, a compass points which way users should walk to reach it. The retailer wants to improve both the customer’s in-store experience and its online order picker efficiency. If the trials are successful, the app will most likely be integrated into the Marks & Spencer app.

Asda is also trialling a wayfinding app. The in-store service was developed with US company Goodmaps. The technology should make it easier for blind and partially sighted people to navigate their way around the store. The app can pinpoint the user’s location to within a meter of accuracy and then it communicates directions to an object or area via audio, enlarged visual, and touch commands. Shoppers will be able to search for key landmarks within the store such as the pharmacy, bathrooms, and tills, but the app can also be used to search for specific goods on the shelves with the aim being to guide the customer as close as possible to the item they are looking for. Although the app has an obvious benefit to disabled shoppers, the usability of the app is not limited to those whom are blind or partially sighted only.

Carrefour embraces Meta (formerly Facebook)

Carrefour has announced a strategic partnership with Meta, the new name of Facebook. The partnership will be rolled out across the group's integrated countries of France, Italy, Spain, Romania, Poland, Belgium, Taiwan, Argentina, and Brazil.

The cooperation will span many aspects of Carrefour’s business from internal communication and employee experience to customer relations, digital advertising and the digitization of leaflets, local communication and social commerce. It will include multiple Meta platforms and services, such as Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, Messenger and Workplace.

Meta will integrate Carrefour into its mobile experience development programs. In this way, Meta will help Carrefour build the future of its mobile environment. To digitalize its customer experience, the Group will also work with Meta to provide instant and more personalized experiences via WhatsApp and Messenger platforms.

The companies will develop a joint tool to target and measure campaigns within Carrefour Links, Carrefour's platform that brings together all retail media solutions to improve the effectiveness of advertising campaigns. In addition, Carrefour will begin exploring with Meta the opportunities that virtual reality might create for employee training.

Aldi harmonizing its brands across several national markets

Aldi Nord wants to make its private label ranges more uniform on an international level. In the first stage, product ranges in France, Belgium and The Netherlands are going to be scrutinized and checked for possible synergies. Those product containers and designs that work best in several countries will remain in the range.

The retailer does not want to deprive the respective countries of their independence, it emphasizes that synergies saves effort and costs for manufacturers and the retailer alike. Aldi has deliberately chosen the countries with the highest sales in order to achieve savings quickly.

Zero waste e-grocer Pieter Pot eyes expansion

Dutch fully circular e-grocer Pieter Pot has received a €9 million investment boost to expand its service across Europe. The company runs a zero waste, circular economy grocery delivery service. Customers order online and get their groceries delivered in reusable jars for which they get charged a deposit. With the next order, the driver collects the empty jars and deposits are credited back to their account. The jars are reused at least forty times.

The retailer is making the supply chain circular, too. It sources in bulk, for example, olive oil, which it receives in a tank of 1,000 litres, and it’s returned to the producer to get refilled.

The company was founded in Rotterdam in 2019 and is now active across the Netherlands and parts of Belgium. The fresh funding will enable it to expand into new geographies like the UK, France, Germany and Scandinavia soon.

Big cities put light on flash deliverers’ dark stores

Six major cities in The Netherlands will come together to discuss the multiplication of the storage warehouses used by quick commerce players. The West district in Amsterdam didn’t wait and has already ordered flash deliverer Zapp to close a dark store. In France, the cities of Paris and Lyon want to limit the set up of dark stores in their city. Nuisance for the neighbourhood, non-compatibility with the urban plans and threat to local stores are some of the issues that bother the cities.

In the Stores 

Czech delivery service Rohlik is looking for suppliers across Europe to expand its private label business. The company, active in the Czech Republic, Germany, Austria and Hungary wants to enlarge its entry-level own brands as well as add own brands in the premium segment.

Tegut is expanding its vending machine format. Twenty Teo stores are planned for the coming year in addition to the existing ten stores. The design award-winning automated store without cashiers will be rolled out in urban spaces and also as a village shop.

Aldi UK is increasing the number of regional suppliers in the UK. The company aims to add 100 new British suppliers and plans to spend £ 3.5 billion more annually on regional purchases.

Carrefour introduces a new range of gourmet products under the Carrefour Extra brand in Spain. The range is made up of around 200 items, of which 70% are manufactured in Spain.

Pam Panorama has launched Pam Flash, a grocery shopping service with home delivery within half an hour.

Morrisons is setting up insect “mini farms” on free range egg farms to provide natural food for the hens and cut soya use. The insects will be fed waste from the retailer’s fruit and vegetable site, creating a circular waste feeding scheme.

Netto Marken-Discount opened its first Pick & Go autonomous store in Munich. It is a hybrid store: Customers can choose to do their shopping trip autonomously without scanning or a checkout process or opt for traditional shopping and go through a cashier.

Spar Slovenija is offering innovative premium products from three local Michelin chefs under its exclusive SPAR Premium line.

Aldi will start the large-scale roll out of its new Aniko 2.0 format in The Netherlands in the first half of this year. The 2.0 pilot stores were so well received by customers that the company decided to accelerate the conversion.

Carrefour is changing its checkout system worldwide. The new programme, called Smartpos, was designed to eliminate irritants to shoppers and make it a relational tool with them.

Caprabo is investing €100 million in the next five years. Part of the investment will go to its plan to transform stores to a new generation model. This plan is expected to end in 2023 with a global investment of more than € 60 million.

Penny has rolled out its Scan & Go service to 160 stores. Customers can record their purchases with their own mobile phones. In the future, all stores are to offer the service.

X5 Group, a leading Russian food retailer, announces that Perekrestok will pilot a new store format under the name of Jam Perekrestok with a floor area of less than 300 sqm and a limited product range comprising its bestselling products. The share of private label goods is 30%.

Monoprix relaunches its entire make-up range. Changing the name from Monop’ Make-Up to Monoprix Make-Up, the range was revised to make it greener, both in product composition and in packaging.

Croatia's Konzum has introduced an option of paying with cryptocurrencies in its online shops, it is first local retailer offering the payment service.

Albert Heijn is testing an app for smartwatches under the name AH Wear that could make shopping easier. After installing the app on the smartwatch and phone, customers can use AHs loyalty card and redeem purchase stamps through the watch. In addition, they can see the shopping list they created and add or remove products.

Lidl UK announced plans to create 4,000 new jobs across the country with a new store target of 1,100 stores by the end of 2025. The stores will feature solar panels and electric vehicle charging points.

Market Research 
Report: “Food prices remain high in 2022”

According to Rabobank, a grim combination of inflationary pressures will keep grocery prices up this year – even with prices already sitting at 10-year highs. The bank expects that weather conditions would continue to hamper key grower countries in the Americas and Australasia, prolonging ongoing food inflation caused by increasingly expensive fertilisers, labour and shipping. Upward pressure on global food prices, fuelled by a perfect storm of unpredictable weather, rising consumer inflation, and an energy and labour crisis, is unlikely to let up anytime soon, says the bank. Therefore, prices would not fall back to pre-pandemic levels in 2022.

Redesign of shopping cart handles can boost consumer spending

A study by Bayes Business School in London among 2,359 UK shoppers has found that repositioning the handles on trolleys could increase sales by 25%.

The study explores how using the standard shopping trolley with a horizontal handlebar – such as you would likely find in a supermarket – activates the triceps muscle of the arm, whereas using a newly-designed trolley with parallel handles – like that of a wheelbarrow – activates the biceps muscle. Psychology research has proven that biceps activation is associated with things we like, while triceps activation is associated with rejecting things we don’t like.

The findings indicate that retailers are likely to accumulate more revenue by providing customers with shopping carts with parallel handles, while consumers are likely to exercise more control over their spending if they use the standard shopping trolley.

Interviews found that leading shopping trolley manufacturers had not previously considered using parallel handles on their carts and were surprised to know that the position of the handles was able to impact sales.

PLMA News 
Speakers confirmed for PLMA's Online Roundtable Conference, 23-24 February 2022

This year’s theme is “The power of sustainability”. Driving a sustainable private label business is a challenge for retailers and manufacturers. It touches every aspect of companies' operations. From sourcing, product composition and transport, to processing, packaging, waste management and store and warehouse design. What are the drivers and barriers of making sustainable choices? What is the role of the consumer? How can companies turn the cost of change into future success?

Among the speakers are Boris Planer, Head of Consumer and Market Insight at WGSN, who will give insight into the Online Retail Landscape and Marjan de Bock-Smit, Managing Partner at ImpactBuying will discuss the Purpose of Sustainability. Moreover, Kevin Vyse, Head of Technical at ProAmpac will cover the topic Net Zero and the Circular Route to better Packaging while Peter Hinnsen, Futurist, author and key-note speaker, will elaborate on the New Normal in the Global Technological Landscape, followed by a Retail Case Study and a Panel discussion on the Power of Sustainability.

For registration and more information, please click here.

PLMA Global Online Private Label Trade Show – 28-31 March 2022

Complementing its in-person trade shows, PLMA is pleased to announce PLMA Global, an online event set for 28-31 March. It will allow manufacturers from around the world to meet with buyers from PLMA’s industry-defining Amsterdam and Chicago events combined - regardless of their home country. PLMA Global will enable buyers to connect with exhibitors through video calls, business card exchanges, and other online communications tools. Buyers’ ability to preschedule meetings is a key feature of the platform.

For more PLMA Global exhibitor or visitor information, click here.

23 & 24 February 2022

PLMA's Online Roundtable Conference

28-31 March 2022

PLMA Global Online Private Label Trade Show

31 May & 1 June 2022

PLMA's “World of Private Label” International Trade Show