Interview with Karen Serfaty and Pascal Clouzard
Pascal Clouzard is a retail expert, former CEO of the Carrefour Group in France, currently working on other projects and co-organizer of Tech for Retail.
Karen Serfaty: The experience of Food Hotel Tech has shown us that the digital transformation, which I know well in the hospitality world, is now taking on considerable proportions. And I think that one of the major sectors of the industry, which is distribution, whether food, non-food, luxury, etc., is facing a real challenge, which is the digitalization of its businesses. The symbol being Amazon, of course. So I decided to create another show, on technology and the digital transformation of retail.
Pascal Clouzard: When Karen explained her project to me, it immediately clicked in my head. For 10 years, when I was working for Carrefour in Spain and France, I had to experience this transformation. And I am still shocked by all the technologies that are revolutionizing distribution.
For example, we understood very quickly that e-commerce was going to be important, but when we see today small companies like Cajoo or Gorillas that offer 15-minute delivery for groceries, we can imagine the transformation that this represents for the sector. And the movement never stops. Blockchain is becoming an obvious thing that nobody knew about 7 years ago, facial recognition is coming, digital payments are taking over, etc.
So when Karen told me about the project, I thought it was the right way to send a kind of shock to retailers and get them to take the transformation issues head on.
Karen Serfaty: That's exactly it. The first people I spoke to immediately told me that Europe lacked a unifying event comparable to the NRF in New York where European retailers could meet.
Pascal Clouzard: my first idea was to gather around us a series of talents that would help us structure this first show, whose ambition is to become a European NRF.
Karen Serfaty: We very quickly received the support of SAP, Google, Accenture, we just had L'Oréal join us, we have distributors with Carrefour, the world of luxury, and this immediately gave us strength and an incredible impetus.
Today, registrations are underway and the show is being structured. We are paying particular attention to the Startup Village to make sure that all the talent is there and to give a very broad representation of everything that exists.
And finally, we will be inviting top speakers and organizing debates with very high-level players in the world of digital transformation, whether they are suppliers, like Accenture, or distributors. It's very interesting to listen to companies like L'Oreal explain how they reached 25% of their sales in e-commerce. It's also very interesting to listen to very large food companies such as Carrefour, Casino or Leclerc explain how they are going to develop on e-commerce.
Pascal Clouzard: and then, to talk about the food industry, which I know well, there are new entrants who are changing the game today. Distributors in France and in Europe have to be aware of the tsunami that is about to break out. Multiplied by 5 or 10 by the Covid crisis, which has removed the reluctance to order on the Internet. There will be no turning back.
Karen Serfaty: this is also why this show is so timely after the confinements: it will be an opportunity to meet, to see the best exhibitors, the best startups of the moment, the best tech companies, to listen to retailers talk about what they experience and their problems, to meet also the new e-commerce companies that have a very interesting look at innovation