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Grocery Retail's Dark Future

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Grocery Retail's Dark Future

It’s no secret that physical retail is struggling, the rise of e-commerce giants such as Amazon has put traditional retail...

5 Minutes Read

It’s no secret that physical retail is struggling, the rise of e-commerce giants such as Amazon has put traditional retail under extreme pressure and in the UK our much loved high streets are looking barer than ever. Grocery retail is no exception to this disruption, the likes of Amazon Fresh, Ocado, and ready meal delivery companies like Hello Fresh have radically changed the way consumers shop for groceries. In response traditional grocery retailers have upped their game to provide a more seamless, digitally focused, experience.

So how then is grocery retail changing in 2018? Well here are three top trends we are seeing emerging in this industry today:

  • Smart shopping: our smart speakers (Amazon Echo, Google Home, Apple Homepod, etc) are now our in-house personal speakers. A simple command of “Alexa, order me kitchen roll.” Will see said item delivered to your door within 24 hours
  • Home delivery innovation: drone delivery is now a reality. Amazon has toyed with this idea for the last few years, but with SF Holdings in China finally getting the go-ahead by the national aviation authority to use drone delivery, this concept is gaining traction. But changing methods of delivery aren’t always cutting edge. Albert Heijn in the Netherlands is now offering an app enabled express delivery service by bicycle courier that can reach you within the hour.
  • In store digitization: it’s not only the online retail experience that is going digital. Today numerous stores are offering self-scanning checkouts using hand held scanners. And of course the flagship in seamless in store retail goes to Amazon with their cashier less Amazon Go stores.

So what do all of these innovations have in common? Well they all rely on platforms, which we define as layers of software that synthesize large data sets. But herein lies the problem, these data sets are vulnerable. And this data vulnerability has now made the retail, and grocery retail in particular extremely vulnerable to cyber-attacks. In the last half of 2016, 43% of all phishing attacks were aimed at retail organizations. Compounding this problem is a recent finding by MediaPro which stated that only 29% of retail employees are prepared in any way to deal with a cyber-attack. Overly all of this with the fact that 84% of shoppers would change their buying habits if their favourite store was hit by a data breach, and the scale of the problem becomes all too apparent.

So what should grocery retailers be focused on if they are to avoid catastrophe brought on by a data breach? Well in our recent report Securing the Digital Future, we lay out the LEAP methodology for making cyber security a core component of your companies DNA:

Lead: Cybersecurity needs to be a fundamental concern of every employee, but ultimately this directive needs to come from the top. This top-down approach doesn’t just entail sponsoring cybersecurity initiatives; instead leaders need to understand the technology and the processes behind cybersecurity for it to become a vital component of every strategic decision made.

Evolve: Organizations will need to continually evolve their cybersecurity strategies as they will never entirely win the race against cyber threats. Furthermore, R&D needs to be an integral part of the organization’s security divisions. R&D doesn’t need to be confined to an in-house endeavor; making use of new business practices like hackathons and war-rooming are practical ways to bring in external talent and co-create security initiatives.

Automate: With crippling global cybersecurity talent shortages and an increased scale and variety of cyber threats, AI-based approaches are progressively becoming readily available and should become a part of any organization’s larger cybersecurity execution strategy. Businesses should work quickly to make AI-based tools, such as Darktrace and Deep Instinct, work in their security departments. Rote, repetitive work is being automated in the front, middle and back offices of organizations, and cybersecurity should be no different.

Prepare: Prepare for the new technologies that will entirely shift the current dynamic of the cybersecurity strategy, including blockchain and – further out on the horizon – quantum computing. Although the ability to quickly adapt to current security needs is vitally important, it’s fundamental to keep an eye on the future. Just as the Internet changed our lives, so will blockchain and quantum computing change cybersecurity.

Ultimately digital will define your retail business in industry 4.0, but careless digital initiatives could also spell disaster. Aim to make cyber security the cornerstone of both your digital build out and your R&D activities to prosper moving forward.


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