Central Europe’s retail sector: An overview
Central Europe is a highly value-oriented market where consumers strive to find new ways to stretch their budget without having to compromise on quality. Consumers in this market are constantly on the lookout for the best deals that both online and offline channels in the retail sector have to offer. In fact, in most Central European countries, promotions are becoming relatively commonplace. However, for companies in the region’s retail sector, winning consumers does not only mean merely offering mediocre-quality products at entry-level prices.
The most successful retail sector companies in Central Europe are those that are successful in finding ways to provide added value while keeping prices low. This can be achieved by improving product quality, offering a larger assortment, or providing a seamless and satisfying customer experience. Although the region is going through a phase of financial insecurity due to recent recession, this does not mean that only inexpensive products attract Central Europeans. As consumers in Central Europe are increasingly becoming omnichannel shoppers, they are educating themselves more on price and on product features. Companies in the CPG and retail sector must, therefore, ensure a consistent, value-oriented presence across channels establish a brand value for themselves in the future of retail in Central Europe. In addition, they must also act on some key priorities.
Invest in ‘value for money’ brands
CPG and retail sector companies are rapidly offering higher quality or even premium products at mainstream price points. Private labels have become one of the most popular retail industry trends with several retail sector companies launching premium quality private label products and heavily investing in their advertisements. Advertisements can be used as a source to communicate emotional cues to consumers in order to make private labels an everyday household name while promoting the idea of value for money.
Companies in Central Europe’s retail industry are providing broader assortments in products to appeal better to consumes. Grocers, for instance, are providing variants including vegetarian, organic, and vegan products. Following this trend will be especially useful for fresh food and prepared meals categories. Retail sector companies can also experiment with introducing newer store formats by expanding their offerings in fresh produce, ready-to-eat meals, and grab-and-go snacks.
Digital technology to enhance CX
Retail sector companies and CPG manufacturers alike are investing in technology to enhance their omnichannel presence. Hypermarkets are incorporating more digital technology into their stores to help shoppers explore broader online assortments. They can also incorporate the use of digital kiosk that suggests specific items, depending on the occasion, food pairings, or customer preferences. These efforts will drive customer loyalty and offer a superior customer experience.
Consumers in Central Europe are a new breed of shopper. They remember the past, were affected by the recession and are quickly trying to embrace a technological revolution. Consumers in this market are characterized by their nature to seek value for money, are extremely demanding, and expect superior technology and customer experience while shopping. As Central European consumers now have much higher expectations of retail sector and CPG companies, both offline and online, companies in the region have little choice but to innovate constantly across channels. Several have risen to the challenge; the rest should act soon or risk losing out to agile competitors.