Open Voice Network, Unieuro and Baker McKenzie at the #TCG2021

 In Business
Jon Stine, Executive Director, Open Voice Network

Voice assistance – your new battle for shoppers and data


Voice assistance is now re-shaping the relationship between shoppers and retailers. We’re in early days, but it’s clear that voice assistance is a technology for flawless digital customer service. For no-touch, hygienic warehouse and in-store support. For instant purchasing and easy search. For listening to and understanding your shoppers. When done well, it’s a one-way passage into membership programs and brand loyalty. It’s also a nearly endless source of personal data. This is not just a new technology. This is a behavioral, social, ethical, and legal phenomenon that will reward early adopters and leave others behind. Join Jon Stine, Executive Director of the Open Voice Network, an open-source community of the Linux Foundation, for an overview (and action plan) of voice assistance and retail.

Andrea Scozzoli, Chief Corporate Development, Unieuro, & President, Aires

Stronger collaboration between retail and industry to boost efficiency


EDIEL is a retail-industry co-project aimed at standardizing EDI across retailers and industry via a single protocol. Ten years since its launch, it is still the only initiative of its type in the CE sector worldwide. In today’s hyper-competitive market focused on consumers and quickly changing business paradigms, affected by disruptive difficulties created by the worldwide lockdown, but also of great opportunity to ride technology with more determination, there is limited space for inefficiency and over-engineered back office and complex administrative processes. Resources and investments have to be primarily focused on consumers’ changing habits and technology development rather than individual customized back office and supply chain processes which may not bring added value or competitive advantage. Through EDIEL, a project co-founded by retailer and industry associations, the adoption of a single EDI standard has the enormous advantages of reducing cost by up to 75% via a global protocol for the entire order cycle and logistics process. EDIEL has also centralized the product catalogues into a simplified yet high quality real time product spec for the entire CE sector. EDIEL is now planning expansion at European level to share the same efficiency advantage across all European countries.

Fiona Carlin, Partner, Baker McKenzie

Vertical restraints – can competition rules keep up with market trends?


The European Commission has launched the review of the EU competition rules governing distribution. It is generally accepted that the rules provide helpful legal certainty – a safe harbour – but they need updating to reflect market developments. The debate on how to reshape the law in this important area will touch on many interesting topics – some new, some old. Should resale price maintenance be treated more leniently? Should selective distribution be limited to luxury or high tech products? Should the list of prohibited hard-core restrictions be expanded to include online platform bans, retail MFNs and retail channelling (segmentation of retailers based on their price levels/pricing practices)? Should the competition rules govern data – who owns it, who can share it, for what purpose?

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