A retailer is a final stop for goods in a supply chain before the consumer buys the product. Therefore, being the gatekeeper for consumers; retailers hence have a crucial role to play in the rest of the supply chain.
Meanwhile, the European industries have highly consolidated their supply chains. In addition, they have a reputation of being efficient, even with cross-border presence. Hence, all European countries, including east European regions, have seen a strong network of retail supermarkets, hyper stores, and discount stores.
The average consumer has had a greater choice, convenient availability, and better prices.
Today with the internet being a big part of consumer lives, retail formats have drastically changed. For instance, online-only brands like Amazon have transformed the way supply chains operate. As a result, traditional retailers have witnessed a sharp decrease in margins. They have to innovate, because they have no choices.
“Retailers report that 19% of their sales are no longer purchased in physical stores and they expect this share to increase to 27% by 2020”. 
Sales from online retail stores are steadily rising. Back in 2014, this global market’s value amounted to $1.34 trillion. In 2018, it was already $2.84 trillion. In 2020, it’s forecast that the revenue will cross $4 trillion. By 2021, it’s expected to reach $4.88 trillion. 
Major European retail chains like Carrefour, Morrisons, Decathlon, and Migros have not only integrated private labels to their portfolios but are also self-producing some of their vertical items. In addition, we can see priorities shifting from bare negotiations with top brands to planning & purchasing of raw materials for in-house production.
“By 2021, analysts estimate 53.9% of all ecommerce sales will happen on mobile devices”. 
Supply chain networks in the retail industry are some of the most complex networks. The consumers are in need of speed and convenience in each phase of the buying cycle. One expects retailers to be ready for the challenge. The European regulatory changes like Brexit have imposed uncertainties in Procurement & Sourcing systems.
Such challenges are an opportunity for procurement to provide value by levering technology such as:
This is the new paradigm of retail format. The retailers need to equip themselves and increase efficiency in their supply chains. Advanced & scalable automation technology that is intelligent, easy to use & integrate will be the need of the hour.
The use of such technology solutions will keep suppliers satisfied with process transparency. Besides, this will enhance customer responsiveness, sustain savings, and reduce cycle times.