The 19th of November, KWARTS was present at Horeca Expo. Our mission? Answering the following question:

"How data-driven are retailers in the Belgian catering industry?"

Horeca Expo 2018 - Entrance

We quickly realized that brands, points-of-sale and consumers can all benefit from more granular insights. It is not an easy job to create a 360°-scan of the customer, regardless on which level. All big brands are increasingly present on social media, and can directly approach the end customer there. However, the transactions happen in another (physical or online) environment. This means that reactions on marketing actions cannot be measured 1-on-1, only in an aggregated format. This makes refining customer insights rather difficult.

Horeca Expo 2018 - stand Brugse Zot

In an attempt to link the different environments, brands face another hurdle. While the end customer increasingly finds his way to the brands via coupons, landing pages and web shops (so that brands can map the 'click-and-surf' behavior of each individual end customer based on his IP address), the physical point-of-sale still plays an important role. There is the sticking point: for 90% of the brands, this creates another 'disconnect' to the online behavior. Merchants protect their customers' details for understandable reasons. The beating heart of the retail is in the human contact, and the catering operator has an enormous impact on the success of marketing campaigns. They add 'context'. According to the people we've spoken at Horeca Expo, the biggest challenge brands face is linking the end customer in the point-of-sale (transactional data) to his or her behavior in Facebook or on the website (interactional or engagement data).

To make this translation between the online environment and the physical point-of-sale, system integrators play an important role (for example payment & loyalty platforms). They need to take into account data-privacy and -security of course. There is no sole party that wants to share data without getting added value from it in return. 

Aside from B2C there is also an important B2B market within the catering industry retail. The enterprise- and out-of-home (OOH) segment is dealing with specific challenges. On the one hand company restaurants, night shops, friteries, etc. need a decent infrastructure to prepare, conserve and distribute drinks and foods. The brand needs to take into account "contract duration" and by consequence a low purchase frequency for bigger replacement investments. These typically require strong rational arguments. Capturing online engagement and allocating it to the right customer is crucial to act on periodic 'urgent' needs. On the other hand there is a big diversity of drinks and foods among which can be chosen. For fast-moving consumer goods, a strong impulse reaction can be present. The purchase frequency will typically be higher. Learning from transactions can bring more value to the brand than analyzing online engagement, seen the strong impact of context during a purchase moment.

Horeca Expo 2018 - stand Devos Lemmens

Based on our conversations we've summarized a set of "frequent questions" we've got during Horeca Expo, in the below figure. The good news? We also have the answer.

Horeca Expo - Retail Challenges

Do you as a retailer have a similar question? Don't hesitate to contact us!



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