Romanian Distribution Committee Magazine, Volume 8, Issue 1, Year 2017

Page 1


Romanian Distribution Committee Magazine

Volume: 8 Issue: 1 Year: 2017 Scientific Review of the Romanian Distribution Committee


Romanian Distributtion Committee Magazine / April 2017 /

Ion Ababii, Chişinău

Aurel Iancu, Bucharest

Constantin Roşca, Craiova

Nicolae Albu, Brasov

Mitsuhiko Iyoda, Osaka

Analisa Romani,Turin

Ruxandra Andreea Albu, Bucharest

Mohamed Latib, Gwynedd

James Rowell, Buckingham

Levent Altinay, Oxford UK

Dong II Lee, Seoul

John Saee, Virginia Beach VA

Kathleen Andrews, Colorado Springs

Min-Sang Lee, Gyeonggi-Do

Cătălin Sfrija, Bucharest

Virgil Balaure, Bucharest

Claude Magnan, Paris

Adrian Socol, Strasbourg

Dan Barbilian, Bucharest

Radu Titus Marinescu, Bucharest

Eliot Sorel, Washington D.C.

Riccardo Beltramo, Turin

James K. McCollum, Huntsville

Mihaela-Luminița Staicu, Bucharest

Richard Beresford, Oxford Uk

Nicolae Mihăiescu, Bucharest

Radu Patru Stanciu, Bucharest

Dumitru Borţun, Bucharest

Dumitru Miron, Bucharest

John L. Stanton, Jr., Philadelphia

Leonardo Borsacchi, Turin

Dan Mischianu, Bucharest

Peter Starchon, Bratislava

Mihail Cernavca, Chişinău

John Murray, Dublin

Felicia Stăncioiu, Bucharest

Ioana Chiţu, Brasov

Alexandru Nedelea, Suceava

Marcin Waldemar Staniewski, Warsaw

Doiniţa Ciocîrlan, Bucharest

Hélène Nikolopoulou, Lille

Vasile Stănescu, Bucharest

Tudorel Ciurea, Craiova

Olguța Anca Orzan, Bucharest

Filimon Stremţan, Alba-Iulia

Alexandru Vlad Ciurea, Bucharest

Gheorghe Orzan, Bucharest

David Stucki, Fribourg

Maria Negreponti-Delivanis, Thessaloniki

Elena Mihaela Pahonțu, Bucharest

Ion Voicu Sucala, Cluj-Napoca

Jean-Sébastien Desjonqueres, Colmar

Rodica Pamfilie, Bucharest

Kamil Pícha, Ceske Budejovice

Aurel Dobre, Călăraşi

Iulian Patriche, Bucharest

Laurenţiu Tăchiciu, Bucharest

Luigi Dumitrescu, Sibiu

Carmen Păunescu, Bucharest

Emil Toescu, Birmingham

Mariana Drăguşin, Bucharest

Mircea Penescu, Bucharest

Simona Ungureanu, Bucharest

Ovidiu Folcuţ, Bucharest

William Perttula, San Francisco

Vlad Budu, Bucharest

Luigi Frati, Roma, Italy

Virgil Popa, Targoviste

Eva Waginger, Wien

Petru FILIP, Bucharest

Marius D. Pop, Cluj-Napoca

Léon F. Wegnez, Brussels

Victor Greu, Bucharest

Ana-Maria Preda, Bucharest

Răzvan Zaharia, Bucharest

Bernd Hallier, Köln

Monica Purcărea, Bucharest

Gheorghe Zaman, Bucharest

Sang-Lin Han, Seoul

Cristinel Radu, Călăraşi

Dana Zadrazilova, Prague

Florinel Radu, Fribourg

Sinisa Zaric, Belgrade

Gabriela Radulian, Bucharest

Hans Zwaga, Tornio




Romanian Distributtion Committee Magazine / April 2017 /

Andreea Apetrei, Iasi Adalbert Lucian Banyai, Bucharest George Bobîrnac, Bucharest Roxana Codita, München Stefano Duglio, Turin Larisa-Diana Dorobat, Geneve Marinela-Filofteia Hostiuc, Bucharest Darius Ilincaş, London

Adrian Lală, Bucharest Irina Purcărea, Bucharest Ivona Stoica, Bucharest Dan Smedescu, Bucharest Constantin C. Stanciu, New York Radu Pătru Stanciu, Bucharest George Cosmin Tănase, Bucharest Oana Patricia Zaharia, Bucharest

Alexandru Ionescu, Romanian-American University Adriana Bîrcă, “George Bariţiu” University Brasov Nelu Florea, “Alexandru Ioan Cuza” University Iasi Ana Ispas, Transilvania University Brasov Irena Jindrichowska, University of Economics and Management in Prague Costel Iliuţă Negricea, Romanian-American University Adina Negruşa, “Babes-Boyay” University Cluj-Napoca Anca Purcărea, Academy of Economic Studies in Bucharest Monica Paula Raţiu, Romanian-American University Gabriela L. Sabau, Memorial University, Sir Wilfred Grenfell College Andreea Săseanu, Academy of Economic Studies in Bucharest

Vlad Barbu, Bucharest Gabriel Brătucu, Brasov Ion Bulborea, Bucharest Mircea Buruian, Targu Mures Iacob Cătoiu, Bucharest Jean Constantinescu, Bucharest Beniamin Cotigaru, Bucharest Radu Diaconescu, Iasi Valeriu Dulgheru, Chişinău Constantin Floricel, Bucharest Valeriu Ioan-Franc, Bucharest

Gheorghe Ionescu, Timisoara Christophe Magnan, Montréal Pompiliu Manea, Cluj Andrei Moldovan, Bucharest Dafin Fior Muresan, Cluj Neculae Năbârjoiu, Bucharest Constantin Oprean, Sibiu Dumitru Patriche, Bucharest Florian Popa, Bucharest Dumitru Tudorache, Bucharest Ion Smedescu, Bucharest Victor Părăuşanu, Bucharest

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Romanian Distribution Committee Magazine Volume: 8 Issue: 1 Year: 2017

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Romanian Distributtion Committee Magazine / April 2017 /


PAGE 8. Editorial: Looking at Trends and Designing a Next-Generation Operating Model Putting CX Reshaped by Digital at the Heart of It Theodor Valentin PURCĂREA

PAGE 10. Developing Information and Communications Technologies with More Artificial Intelligence, Using Artificial Intelligence, When Internet of Things is “Intelligence Everywhere” -Part 2Victor GREU

PAGE 20. Customer Benefit as a Determinant of Repeat Purchasing George Cosmin TĂNASE

PAGE 24. Retail Revolution and the Always Connected Consumers Theodor PURCĂREA

PAGE 32. (by courtesy of) - (by courtesy of) – “Shoppers’ Claims that Determine the Success of the Stores”, initially published in the prestigious “Distribution d’aujourd’hui”, 57ème année, November 2016, Brussels


PAGE 34. by courtesy of) - Store-Checks (EuroShop), Macro-Economic Impacts, Eurasian Club of Scientists, ERA Holistic Approach, Challenge Food Waste, Silk Road Network, Focus Africa, Academic Publications, and CIRCLE Warsaw Bernd HALLIER

EDITORIAL: LOOKING AT TRENDS AND DESIGNING A NEXT-GENERATION OPERATING MODEL PUTTING CX RESHAPED BY DIGITAL AT THE HEART OF IT As we were witnessing in the last seven-eight years a challenging conversation about the so-called “Exponential Organization”, we remarked in the summer last year, thanks to the prestigious Harvard Business Review, how the Founder and Chief Epiphany Officer of “Shift Thinking” , Mark Bonchek, showed that the opportunity for real innovation comes with a shift (required by the digital business models, which are defined by their ability to create exponential value) from the incremental (focused on making something better) to exponential mindset (focused on making something different).1 While a year before we also observed the so-called framework “Six Ds of Exponentials” (digitization, deception, disruption, demonetization, dematerialization, and democratization) introduced by Peter H. Diamandis and Steven Kotler (in their book “Bold: How to Go Big, Create Wealth and Impact the World”, Simon & Schuster, 3. Februar 2015), who underline that: “These Six Ds are a chain reaction of technological progression, a road map of rapid development that always leads to enormous upheaval and opportunity”.2 There is no doubt that the industrial world business is in full transformation: “Internet of Things” (so-called in US), “Industry 4.0” (so-called in Germany), “Made in China 2025” (so-called in South East Asia).3 According to the arguments brought by the Dean of Executive Education at ESMT Berlin, Olaf Plötner: there are possibilities for tapping great sales potentials thanks to innovative developments in the IT sector (especially important being two factors: data mining, and connectivity); within the three ways used generally by the companies to approach strategic change and achieve revenue growth (find new customers, offer new products, adopt a new business model), many established industrial companies take the way of “business models 4.0”, the implementation of new technologies strengthening customer needs’ knowledge and quickly revealing new business opportunities.

Figure 1: The cost traps impeding business models 4.0 success and the potential countermeasures Source: Plötner, O., After After-Sales: New Business Models Tempt, Fail Industry, January 27, 2017, retrieved on 02.02.2017, from: Plötner attracted the attention on the need of using modern technologies for innovative business models, but also taking into account the nine cost traps (identified by him, also indicating the potential countermeasures) as impeding business models 4.0 success: overambitious profit targets, overestimating own capabilities, ignoring unpredicted developments, outdated sales force, risky pricing models, misguided marketing communications, failed customer integration, urge for perfection, inflexible corporate structures (as shown in the above figure). On the other hand, the author of the book “Getting In Front on Data: The Who Does What (Technics Publications, 2016), Thomas C. Redman (“the Data Doc”),4 showed two years ago, in the same prestigious Harvard Business Review, four emergent ways to compete with data (to pursue competitive advantage through data): cost reduction through improved data quality; “content is king” (providing additional, more relevant, or newer data to the customer through: pure content providers, informationalization of existing products and services, and infomediation); “Building a better data mousetrap” (data-driven innovation); becoming increasingly data-driven (in everything one does, combining data with intuition). Recently, the VP and Global Internet of Things Evangelist for SAP, Tom Raftery,5 asked about where he sees the Internet of Things in 10 years answered (despite the fact that we are only starting our IoT journey) that the term Internet of Things will be superfluous (but many other areas of our lives and businesses will continue to be improved and enhanced by the IoT advancements), and we will see new trends and developments such as: connected agriculture moving to vertical and in-vitro food production; connected transportation enabling tremendous efficiencies and safety improvements (given the transition to predictive maintenance of transportation fleets); connected manufacturing transitioning to manufacturing as a service; connected energy moving to a system in which demand more closely matches supply.


Romanian Distributtion Committee Magazine / April 2017 /

Indeed, the all world business is in full transformation, but as McKinsey’s representatives argued in February 2017,6 beyond the many existent elements to a transformation (from end-to-end journey redesign and embedding analytics into processes to open tech platforms), is often missing a comprehensive view of how to both architect the right elements for this transformation, and systematically and holistically undertake the change journey. And companies can thrive by adapting, learning, and finding new solutions quickly in identifying uncovered new customer needs and developing new ways of meeting these needs. Here is worth remembering the significant contribution brought by the McKinsey Global Institute (MGI) 2011 report “Big data: The next frontier for innovation, competition, and productivity” (taking into account the rapidly development of the field of analytics since that special moment) on the continuously important path of right using data analytics in companies’ struggling to transform industries, create new business models, and take advantage of opportunities in different industries, including in retail.7 In the opinion of MGI partner Michael Chui the data have to be understood and well used in order to get good answers. McKinsey senior partner Nicolaus Henke showed how it was helped a retailer with thousand outlets in a very large city (looking for more store spaces) to identify other opportunities to grow. Based on analysis with artificial-intelligence and machinelearning applications, they found that highly successful would be the stores (for a particular segment of people) located next to a laundromat, this way being identified 850 new store locations that the retailer wouldn’t have thought about before. On the other hand, as the shoppers’ behavior is continuously changing, social-media analytics is becoming an extremely increasingly important source of information, as shown in another episode of the McKinsey Podcast.8 According to McKinsey partner Alex Rodriguez and specialist Anne Martinez: an actually globally trend, for example, is the commoditization around what’s “for me” versus what you might argue; as consumers are continuing to look for value, highest-performing companies are watching trends across multiple sources of information, trying to learn from consumer-sentiment trends, and moving quickly based on the insights, so as to remain relevant for both consumers and different markets on the basis of the provided customer experience (consumer sentiment being an input into CX); the relevance of a channel (brick and mortar versus online, for example) is impacted by the recognizing a trend in consumer sentiment; “click and collect” are extremely powerful in in France and in the UK. In fact, as other Mc Kinsey’s representatives showed: in order to take a forward-looking view in assessing the link to value, customer-experience programs has to look at the trends;9 company has to link customer value to the operational drivers that underpin it, then design accordingly a new next-generation operating model, putting customer experience (reshaped by digital) at the heart of it, implementing the desired operational improvements by activating five key capabilities and approaches: digitization, advanced analytics, intelligent process automation, business-process outsourcing, lean.10 Allow us to finally mention that US food giant Kraft Heinz (consumer goods firm whose key investors are the well-known Warren Buffett and Jorge Lemann; Kraft Heinz took over Cadbury in 2010, for example) tried without any success to buy, this year in mid-February, Unilever (the Anglo-Dutch maker of Marmite and Flora, among other products).11 “PR Week”, the leading source of news, analysis, features & jobs for the Public Relations industry, commented at the beginning of March12 that within the news cycle for the past eight months (dominated by the fallout from Brexit and the US presidential election) only two business stories were noticed by more than 30% of the interviewed population (according to Populus, a leading research & strategy consultancy, who interviewed a nationally representative sample of GB adults aged 18+ online for each week between 3 March 2016 and 25 February 2017), one of them being the “Marmite-gate” spat between Tesco (the most important UK’s retailer, and one of the world’s largest retailers) and Unilever (its brand Marmite), a kind of pricing war intensively offline and online mediatized within the context of Brexit. The approach taken by the US investors in previous big deals backed by 3G (which focuses on cost-cutting) didn’t work, in the opinion of Unilever the key to long-term growth being nurturing brands and social responsibility. Unilever’s CEO announced besides a strategic review making Unilever leaner and delivering better returns for shareholders, offering protection against such further aggressive approaches. What concerns the so-called “Marmite-gate” spat, it is also worth mentioning that Chloe Rigby, Editor, InternetRetailing.

net, made in October 2016 a good analysis,13 on this occasion also revealing how retailers rely on brands, and brands rely on retailers, changing relationships between brands and retailers being obvious in this Omni channel world. While in February this year, Rigby revealed some authorized opinions reflecting “Insight around the world”:14 Cyber Monday became a global phenomenon; delivery is considered by the online marketplaces as a crucial competitive differentiator (being funded as a cost of sale); the ecommerce market in 2017 will also be shaped by Brexit; it is very important to take into account that consumers want choice, value for money and convenience; retailers can improve performance by connecting email (nearly 50% being opened on a mobile device) to in-store actions, creating responsive designs and rethinking subject lines. As we have already seen in the pages of our magazine in the last years, being in the “converged lifestyle” (a new phase of convergence - consumers being enabled by technology - which is pushed by connectivity, the digitization of our lifestyles becoming the norm and virtualization disrupting power relationships between companies, customers, and employees), “the 21st Century Retail Customer” will continue to expect a consistent experience whether he interacts with a brand in-store, online or via mobile, while retailers will continue to meaningfully improve performance by looking at this consistent experience as an end-to-end experience, and innovating so as to create mutual value within the experience with a solution, retailers’ experience strategy ultimately becoming retailers’ business strategy, achieving this way better results, and confirming the strong beliefs both in insights, and in the whole mix of insight tools actively used… while focusing on making something different. Theodor Valentin Purcărea Editor-in-Chief

References 1 Bonchek, M., How to Create an Exponential Mindset, July 27, 2016, retrieved from: 2 Morris, B., The “Six Ds of Exponential Development”, January 28th, 2015, retrieved from: the-six-ds-of-exponential-development 3 Plötner, O., After After-Sales: New Business Models Tempt, Fail Industry, January 27, 2017, retrieved on 02.02.2017, from: 4 Redman, T.C., 4 Business Models for the Data Age, Harvard Business Review, Information & Technology, May 20, 2015, retrieved from: ps:// 5 Raferty, T., What Will The Internet Of Things Look Like In 2027? 7 Predictions, retrieved from: iot/2017/03/29/what-will-internet-of-things-look-like-in-2027-7-predictions-04998096 6 Dahlström, P., Ericson, L., Khanna, S. and Meffer, J., From disrupted to disruptor: Reinventing your business by transforming the core, February 2017, retrieved on 18.02.2017, from: our-insights/from-disrupted-to-disruptor-reinventing-your-business-by-transforming-the-core? 7 London, S., There’s greater potential in big data. What’s ahead as the field matures? McKinsey Podcast, MGI partner Michael Chui and McKinsey senior partner Nicolaus Henke, retrieved on 11.01.2017, from: 8 Toriello, M., What’s new—and what’s next—in consumer behavior around the world? McKinsey Podcast February 2017, McKinsey partner Alex Rodriguez and specialist Anne Martinez retrieved on 21.02.2017, from: com/industries/consumer-packaged-goods/our-insights/whats-new-and-whats-next-in-consumer-behavior-around-theworld?cid=podcast-eml-alt-mip-mck-oth-1702 9 Maynes, J. and Rawson, A., Linking the customer experience to value, March 2016, retrieved on 10.03.2016, from: http:// 10 Chheda, S., Duncan, E. and Roggenho, S., Putting customer experience at the heart of next-generation operating models, retrieved from: 11 Davies, R., How Unilever foiled Kraft Heinz’s £115bn takeover bid, The Guardian, 20 February 2017, retrieved from: https:// 12 Racadio, D., RBS and Unilever lead most noticed business new stories in February, March 06, 2017, retrieved on 14.03.2017, from: 13 Rigby, C., Analysis, What does the Tesco and Unilever fallout say about brands and multichannel retail? InternetRetailing, October 14, 2016, retrieved from: 14 Rigby, C., Insight around the world, February 8, 2017, retrieved from:


The paper presents an analysis of the emergency of advanced artificial intelligence (AI) devices/systems/services and Internet of Things (IoT), in the context of Information and Communications Technologies (ICT) exponential evolution - as main driving factor of the progress of the Information society (IS) toward Knowledge Based Society (KBS). In the paper analysis, some trends and challenges of AI/IoT/ICT development, evolution and implementation issues are pointed, versus the benefits and consequences these issues could bring for humankind and Earth, in the IS/KBS context. The analysis premises include the impressive perspective of IoT, that would encode trillions of objects, covering, among others, smart home/cities, e-health, environment monitoring, smart grid, smart transportation, industrial applications, but besides others important fields where intelligence penetration is growing, including robots, smart communication networks, defense/security, social media, business intelligence etc. As expression of the IoT proliferation, the paper also presented the family of terms used for different areas of IoT applications, which are extending too, including a lot of important areas of humankind activity and also new fields and concepts, like Crowdsensing, TaaS, M2M, V2V, BAN, IoE etc.


Romanian Distributtion Committee Magazine / April 2017 /

Despite the explosive evolution of IoT, which is an incontestable reality, the figures largely promoted in the last years, about the IoT forecasts, tend to be corrected and in the paper some reasons which led to these corrections have been identified, as it seems that the reasonable doubts are based on the counting models which led to the initial figures, but globally the correction factors include security, powering or e-waste for billions of sensors/devices. Because the ICT specialists world is hardly working to find the best solutions for a sustainable development of ICT/IoT/AI, considering the high complexity, performance and efficiency already reached today, the paper also presents some important examples of new technological advances intended to fight the mentioned corrected factors, including fog computing and nanorobots. After analysing the “line between AI and wisdom”, it resulted that AI must be conceived and then implemented by an intelligent design, in order to lead toward sustainable development – depending on wisdom involved when using the „double sharpened” power of Technology, i.e. without forcing its complex potential as wisdom is more and more difficult to obtain when complexity is increasing. Consequently, for AI/IoT/ICT development, in the future IS toward KBS, it will be very difficult to define and reach wisdom as complexity and other challenges generated by an exponential powerful development are also increasing. The analysis of some literature references confirmed that the preoccupation for the ICT exponential pace development, with complex challenges and difficult to forecast consequences, is largely spread and argued. Also, another concrete conclusion, confirmed in references, is that this development could become „unknowably’’ complex, because technologists could overdo in creating complex systems. Based on the these conclusions, it became obvious that their link with the AI growing evolution is just the essence of our paper point, because arriving in the situation to be more and more dependent of ICT/AI devices/ systems that are „unknowably’’ complex, i.e. difficult to manage, is a real challenge for humankind and Earth survival! As support of this last (general) conclusion, the paper also analysed some actual examples, including emergent robo-taxis and fly robots, which could be relevant cases of AI amazing complexity, performance and proliferation, where there is a human - AI competition in making-decision vital processes and the specialists have hesitations when they have to give in the main decision attributes to robots/machines.

Keywords: advanced artificial intelligence, Internet of Things, information society, knowledge based society, robo-taxi, fly robots, nano-robots, crowdsensing, fog computing.

JEL Classification: L63; L86; M15; O31; O33

Building ICT/IoT with intelligence everywhere

One of the most impressive features of ICT development is their multiplying power over everything they “touch“ and if this is not sufficient, it is happening ... everywhere on Earth and ... beyond. With other words, here again we may quote Sun Tzu who admirably observed, thousands of years ago, that “opportunities multiply as they are seized” [22]. For an accurate picture we also have to observe that, excepting the “species evolution“, probably nothing else proved so efficient multiplying consequences on Earth scale, like ICT! By multiplicity factor here we understand not only the obvious spreading effects in all fields of humankind activity, but the intrinsic feature of digital technology to easy/efficiently multiply/combine its hardware modules and processing functions, in order to obtain new structures and functions. More than these, we already presented [13] the crucial importance of the ICT digital operating and developing models, which are applied in many other activity fields, just due to their proved efficiency. As a consequence for IS/KBS, ICT could enable people to more efficiently work and innovate and this way the ICT development must be a continuous human centric innovation. This way it is not a surprise that every day we can observe these ICT development overwhelmingly spreading models, products, services and consequences, everywhere! On the other hand, the same ICT could generate, in unsustainable development scenarios, negative influence to human evolution and potential. As we have already pointed [2][10], the essential issue of this development, we have to carefully analyse, is to be sure that it is sustainable, as general consequences for humankind and Earth! The actual phase of this issue is mainly characterized by the complexity induced through the exponential ICT developing pace and the huge processes which ICT generate, as progress prominent factors in IS toward KBS. Now we just could point the revolutionary transformation IoT and AI tend to generate over the general above picture of ICT development and consequences. Because “the picture” is in fact such an immense ”movie” (i.e. a lot of changing pictures), we can only try to analyse some prominent ”frames” and eventually try to see if they prove intelligent design or only contain a level of intelligence capacity. First of all, about the ”immense” dimension, it is interesting to recall a projected image of IoT [14]: “The Internet of objects would encode 50 to 100 trillion objects, and be able to follow the movement of those objects. Human beings in surveyed urban environments are each surrounded by 1000 to 5000 trackable objects” Of course, even in our days, IoT is a prominent part of the above mentioned picture, covering, among others, smart home/cities, e-health, environment monitoring, smart grid, smart transportation, industrial applications, but besides others important fields where intelligence penetration is growing, including robots, smart communication networks, defense/security, social media, business intelligence etc. These premises express the complexity and the overwhelming importance of the emergent processes where „intelligence” is more and more present. Our above mentioned „picture/movie”, even shorted, could not be completed outside the IoT, as 12

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the main frame where the future ICT/AI devices, systems and services will be deployed, under the large cover of Cloud [20][14][6]. As a concrete expression of the IoT proliferation, the family of terms used for different areas of applications are extending too, including a lot of important areas of humankind activity and also new fields and concepts [4]. Probably the most dynamic and largely implemented family consists of sensors networks, where every pair of (transceiver + sensor) is now usualy called “mote” (remote). Also very promising is the vehicular IoT family, which will include both vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) and vehicle-to-person (V2P) applications, all these representing in the future the big family of Internet of Vehicles (IoV). Extending the above concepts to general/industrial applications, we will be surrounded or even integrated in large combinations of machine-to-machine (M2M) or machine-to-person (M2P). In [21] we have mentioned the important and spectacular applications of IoT in the e-Health areas, implemented for the human benefit inside the body, thus leading to body area networks (BAN), a field with dramatic benefic results for our health, but also supposing an incredible level of difficulty, complexity and performance. It is here the place to notice that BAN should be perhaps one of the most important, as priority for humankind, areas of IoT to be sustainably developed, as body monitoring is implemented along with all revolutionary e-Health involved technologies. Without entering details, one of the primary and largely implemented areas of applications, assigned as domestic informatics, is called Domotics. Here the diversity of smart home applications will be deployed, all being connected and integrated in management and optimization processes by IoT sub-networks. Social networks, as prominent fields of ICT/IS/KBS, will generate, through mobile communications networks as social-aware component of IoT, what is going to be called Social Web of Things (SWoT) [4]. Extending these awareness features by the context aware communications and IT, we have already presented [13], the environment data will lead do to the general concept/feature of Crowdsensing, which can enable a huge amount of applications for the optimizations of all humankind activities and Earth environment. Actually, the most general term that is going to cover the huge expansion of IoT tends to be naturally called Internet of Everything (IoE). Of course, specialists and generally literature could use a lot of relevant words, assigned to IoT areas, but, technically speaking, an emergent prominent reality, as IoT main support, needs also to have a name. The most extended support for IoT data processing and services management is going to be the “Cloud”, this leading to Things as a Service (TaaS), not only because TaaS seems to be the highest, although an apparently abstract, concept, but because it covers the essential trend of ICT, which could not be missed by IoT. As we repeatedly presented [6][21], in spite of the overwhelming diversity of ICT devices and systems, all over the Earth for humankind in IS/KBS, the most dynamic and innovative ICT developing direction is to offer new services – this trend being more and more manifest also as business/commercial model in the digital age we live. In fact, if we link Crowdsensing and TaaS the result is a planetary frame to monitor and then optimize everything (by IoE).

If these “iceberg tips”, we have already approached as metaphor [10], could create the impression of a symbolic “sea of fictions”, against a World of concrete and dramatic changing realities, recent events could be relevant. Unfortunately, recently we have been shocked by a series of terrorist attacks, last at London Westminster/Parliament. Perhaps many security specialists work on the means to implement new preventive ways against this “asymmetric war”, where imagination sets the limits. Linking this fundamental need with Crowdsensing and TaaS, we may imagine how much help we could get monitoring (eventually, if necessary, controlling) relevant data and actions scenarios with appropriate devices, applied on EVERYTHING could generate risks for people’s lives (for example: vehicles). Still, some opinions converge toward to doubting the realism and sustainability of certain ICT trends, when observing the above mentioned impressive diversity of applications (terms), as the authors of [4] asked: “Just because you can, does it means You should?” This doubt, we also approached before [10][6], is arising more and more as IoT/ICT new devices/ systems/applications “explode” with an exponential pace and unpredictable consequences everywhere on Earth. Although the explosive evolution of IoT is an incontestable reality, the figures largely promoted in the last years, about the IoT forecasts, tend to be corrected [8]. For example, the largely spread estimation of connected IoT devices, for (30-50) billion by 2020, began to be reconsidered and corrected, as the last estimations for 2020 do not exceed (20-25) billion. The most important fact is to identify some reasons which led to these (benefic if argued) corrections. It seems that the reasonable doubts are based on the counting models which led to the initial figures, but globally the correction factors include security, powering or e-waste for billions of sensors/devices. Our opinion, already expressed when speaking about Earth resource fading [2], is that first to produce these billions of devices could be a challenge and then come recycling, ethics and legal conformity etc. These corrections finally prove that the doubts about the too fast pace of ICT/IoT/AI development are eventually sustained by the industry/market and specialists – and we consider this a long expected wisdom sign. Naturally, beyond such welcomed signs, the ICT specialists world is hardly working to find the best solutions for a sustainable development of ICT/IoT, considering the high complexity, performance and efficiency already reached today. As we have mentioned above, the tens of billions of IoT devices will need huge (material) resources, but there will be included the communications and computing resources necessary to handle the exponentially growing amount of data. This way, one of the promising solutions is fog computing (FC) [7]: “The fog computing paradigm aims to address these problems by extending cloud computing toward the edge of the network ... a novel FC-IoT paradigm designed to move computing, storage, and applications/services close to IoT objects so as to reduce communication bandwidth and energy consumption as well as decision making latency. The proposed IoT-based solution has been designed to have intelligent and autonomous IoT objects that are integrated with an FC and fog networking 14

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approach. The distinguishing features of the intelligent FC-IoT platform are low latency, self-adaptation, low energy consumption, and spectrum efficiency” A similar new approach is pointing energy consumption of ICT/IoT networks, another basic resource and in the same time involving AI in “green ICT” optimization [18]: “The need to manage the energy consumption of network infrastructure has been addressed by a significant body of work in recent years. In general, energy management capabilities were developed independently and optimized for particular network layers and node features. The interaction between multiple such green capabilities when deployed simultaneously, as well as potential interactions with other existing functionality such as quality of service functions, need to be managed transparently by the operators. We developed SLIM, the SustainabiLity Information Model for Energy Efficiency allow unifying the management of green capabilities throughout the network” Such solutions could cover in the future the increasing need for standardized automated coordination management systems of the network of networks IoT will represent, in order to transparently optimize both energy consumption and service quality requirements. An other confirmation of our already presented essential trends of ICT developing, when getting physical and innovation limits [16], is represented by the actual approaches of bio-inspired promising new technologies [11]: “Recent progress in bio-nanomachines have motivated the research on bio-inspired, biocompatible, and biodegradable nanorobots such as flagellated magnetotactic bacteria (MTB) with nanometer-sized magnetosomes. These bacteria can be utilized as efficient carriers of nanoloads, and thus can serve as diagnostic and therapeutic agents for tumor targeting applications” With such premises, the future technologies could leverage not only the e-Health fields, but step by step inspire other ICT/IoT/AI technologies and applications, due to the “wisdom” mother nature inserted in the living world, in millions years of “research” (evolution). Speaking about AI and wisdom, it is worth to further analyse how the AI/IoT/ICT evolution should be oriented to implement more wisdom in their intelligent devices, systems and services, for a sustainable humankind progress on Earth in IS/KBS. The line between AI and wisdome

In order to have a clear reference for this section, a quote of Thomas Jefferson [23] could be very relevant for the actual challenges of Ai/ICT: “I hope our wisdom will grow with our power, and teach us, that the less we use our power the greater it will be” Starting from this quote, our opinion, already generally approached in the first lines of the paper, now could be further developed/confirmed, as in the AI/ICT evolution AI must be conceived and then implemented by an intelligent design, in order to lead toward sustainable development – depending on wisdom involved when using the „double sharpened” power of technology. With other words, applying T.Jefferson advice for the ICT (incredible) power in our days and beyond, means that it must be used very carefully, i.e. without forcing its complex potential, observing that wisdom is more and more difficult to obtain when complexity is increasing. Consequently, we consider that for AI/IoT/ICT development, in the future IS toward KBS, it will be very difficult to define and reach wisdom as complexity and other challenges generated by an exponential powerful development are also increasing.

Perhaps one of the most complicate issues of the analysis we have started is quite inside the word „intelligence”, we have generally approached in [2], but this time the emphasis is most on the technical side. It would be easy to consider that almost all electronics are intelligent, or, with the well known pace established by the Moore Law, became more and more intelligent. But speaking only about AI, the context is much complicated, including the term definition or interpretation. As an evidence that this approach is not singular, we can quote [5], which presented a documented and intersting analysis on AI, pointing: <<The concept of what constitutes AI has evolved as technology has evolved. A colleague of mine has said, “It’s artificial intelligence until you know how it works.” An interesting perspective indeed. I found support for this in material from an MIT AI course ... For instance, compilers used to be considered AI, because […] statements [were in a] highlevel language; and how could a computer possibly understand? [The] work to make a computer understand […] was taken to be AI. Now […] we understand compilers, and there’s a theory of how to build compilers […] well, it’s not AI anymore. […] When they finally get something working, it gets co-opted by some other part of the field. So, by definition, no AI ever works; if it works, it’s not AI>>. Without agreeing with all the above assertions, we rather conclude that developing standalone or embbeded AI devices, systems and services represents a very complex, complicated, challenging and important direction of ICT in IS/KBS, which is worth to be designed with maximum responsibility, due to its dramatic consequences for humankind at Earth scale. Coming back to our analysis, we may also observe, by some relevant examples, how AI is evolving following the ICT general exponential evolution, but presenting complicated issues because of their increasing complexity and performance. On the other hand, we have to notice that, naturally, these special issues, including ethics, come mostly from those fields where AI tends to compete with sensible human activities, like creation and decision making. A relevant confirmation of this approach is given by [9]: “I enjoyed Samuel Arbesman’s first book, The Half-Life of Facts, which was a discussion of the exponential pace of change, as exemplified by Moore’s Law, among other things. When I saw the title of his new book, Overcomplicated, I assumed that it would be a warning that we technologists had gone too far in creating complex systems. It would advocate moving to simpler systems, just as a doctor might advise an overweight person to go on a diet. I was prepared to argue against such a conclusion, but as I discovered upon reading the book, Arbesman does not say that complexity is necessarily bad or that we should seek simplicity. Instead, he maintains that systems are now unknowably complex, that they will become even more so, and we should…just get over it. Much of the book is spent in discussing the reasons why complexity is inevitably increasing. “ We can notice that our preoccupation for the ICT exponential pace development, with complex challenges and difficult to forecast consequences, is largely spread and argued [15]. An other concrete conclusion, we generally share, is that this development is unknowably complex, because technologists had gone too far (they could overdo) in creating complex systems. Of course, it is not sure that things have been pushed „too far”, but the fact that they (ICT) could become unknowably complex is a scaring scenario we can not neglect! More than this, the link with the AI growing evolution is just the essence of our paper point, because arriving in the situation to be more and more dependent of ICT/AI devices/systems that are unknowably 16

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complex, i.e. difficult to manage, is a real challenge for humankind and Earth survival! As actual examples, the emergent robo-taxis, buses or even fly robots could be relevant cases of AI amazing complexity, performance and proliferation [1][12]. Robo-taxis (and buses) are the actual trials we have to face and the above mentioned challenges are clearly confirmed by [1] starting from the emergent trend of advanced AI called deep learning: <<A deep-learning system’s ability to recognize patterns is a powerful tool, but because this pattern recognition occurs as part of algorithms running on neural networks, a major concern is that the system is a “black box.” Once the system is trained, data can be fed to it and a useful interpretation of those data will come out. But the actual decision-making process that goes on between the input and output stages is not necessarily something that a human can intuitively understand. This is why many companies working on vehicle autonomy are more comfortable with using traditional robotics approaches for decision making, and restrict deep learning to perception>> If on ground we face some worries, how we will feel „in the air”, where soon we could be guests of a fly robot? Some answers are given by aviation specialists [3], when analysing the perspectives of taxidrones or fly robots: <<In the future, the joke goes, airliners will each have a pilot and a dog. The dog will be there to bite the pilot if he touches the controls, and the pilot will be there to feed the dog. It’s no joke, though, when NASA scientists begin entertaining the idea of replacing the copilot with a wideband connection to a ground controller. Who will take over the plane should the pilot become incapacitated? Nor is it a joke to carry the argument to its logical conclusion and do away with the pilot altogether>> Besides these positive premises, the main question, again on target of our paper but also approached in [3], rises: <<“It can be done-we could be flying around in pilotless planes, just as we could be living on cities on Mars-but is it worth the cost and the effort?” asks Patrick Smith… “I fly airplanes for a living, and my jaw drops when I hear people say that flying is already mostly automated. Even the most ‘automated’ flight is still subject to so much human input and subjective decisions”...>> With other words, it appears the same already presented issue [2][19][17] of the human - AI competition in making-decision vital processes. Perhaps that is why the specialists have the same hesitation when they have to give in the main decision attributes to robots/machines [3]: <<And should one of these outfits ever offer seats to the paying public, would you entrust your life to a robotic pilot? “People want a pilot in the cockpit, to know there’s someone in charge who shares their fate,” says Missy Cummings, a former U.S. Navy fighter pilot, now a professor of mechanical engineering and materials science at Duke University. “I don’t think we’ll ever have a passenger airliner be a drone-there will always be some version of a Captain James T. Kirk on board.” But, she adds, things are different for hops of, say, 50 miles (80 kilometers), where for some people, at least, convenience might outweigh fear.>> The AI-responsibility dilemma we meet today, as AI is the result of summing the past data/ experiences, was foreseen by inspired minds, as George Bernard Shaw [23]: “We are made wise not by the recollection of our past, but by the responsibility for our future”

Here our opinion is that all actual facts and serious analyses should lead us all to more wisdom and responsibility about developing complex but difficult to completely understand, as consequences, AI/IoT/ICT devices, systems and services, in order to increase chances for a sustainable progress for humankind on Earth, in the future IS/KBS. Obviously, such great and complex objectives needs further analyses and evaluations, as time changes everything... so fast! Conclusions

Through the paper analysis, some trends and challenges of AI/IoT/ICT development, evolution and implementation issues are pointed, versus the benefits and consequences these issues could bring for humankind and Earth, in the IS toward KBS context. As premises, we have considered the impressive perspective of IoT that would encode trillions of objects, covering, among others, smart home/cities, e-health, environment monitoring, smart grid, smart transportation, industrial applications, but besides other important fields where intelligence penetration is growing, including robots, smart communication networks, defense/security, social media, business intelligence etc. As a concrete expression of the IoT proliferation, the paper also presented the family of terms used for different areas of IoT applications, which are extending too, including a lot of important areas of humankind activity and also new fields and concepts, like Crowdsensing, TaaS,M2M, V2V, BAN, IoE etc. In spite of the explosive evolution of IoT, which is an incontestable reality, the figures largely promoted in the last years, about the IoT forecasts, tend to be corrected and in the paper some reasons which led to these (benefic if argued) corrections have been identified, as it seems that the reasonable doubts are based on the counting models which led to the initial figures, but globally the correction factors include security, powering or e-waste for billions of sensors/devices. As beyond such welcomed signs the ICT specialists world is hardly working to find the best solutions for a sustainable development of ICT/IoT, considering the high complexity, performance and efficiency already reached today, the paper also presents some important examples of new technological advances intended to fight the mentioned corrected factors, including fog computing and nanorobots. Analysing the “line between AI and wisdom”, we may conclude that AI must be conceived and then implemented by an intelligent design, in order to lead toward sustainable development – depending on wisdom involved when using the „double sharpened” power of technology, i.e. without forcing its complex potential as wisdom is more and more difficult to obtain when complexity is increasing. Consequently, we consider that, for AI/IoT/ICT development, in the future IS toward KBS, it will be very difficult to define and reach wisdom as complexity and others challenges generated by an exponential powerful development are also increasing. After analysing some literature references it has resulted that our preoccupation for the ICT exponential pace development, with complex challenges and difficult to forecast consequences, is largely spread and argued. An other concrete conclusion, we generally share, is that this development could become „unknowably’’ complex, because technologists could overdo in creating complex systems. 18

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Based on the these conclusions, it became obvious that their link with the AI growing evolution is just the essence of our paper point, because arriving in the situation to be more and more dependent of ICT/ AI devices/systems that are unknowably complex, i.e. difficult to manage, is a real challenge for humankind and Earth survival! This last (general) conclusion was also confirmed in the paper by analysing some actual examples, including emergent robo-taxis and fly robots, which could be relevant cases of AI amazing complexity, performance and proliferation, where there is a human-AI competition in makingdecision vital processes and the specialists have some hesitations when they have to give in the main decision attributes to robots/machines. REFERENCES [1] Evan Ackerman, How Is Mastering Autonomous Driving With Deep Learning, IEEE Spectrum, March 2017. [2]Victor Greu, Developing information and communications technologies with more artificial intelligence, using artificial intelligence, when internet of things is ’’intelligence everywhere’’-(Part 1), Romanian Distribution Committee Magazine, Volume 7, Issue 4, Year 2016. [3]Philip E. Ross, Fly Robotic?, IEEE Spectrum, January 2017. [4]Matt Ciciari, The Internet of Word-Things, IEEE Spectrum, October 2016. [5] Seth Earley, There Is No AI Without IA, IEEE IT Professional, May-June 2016. [6]Victor Greu, Information and communications technologies go greener beyond IoTbehind is all the Earth-(Part 1), Romanian Distribution Committee Magazine, Volume 7, Issue2, Year 2016. [7]Cesare Alippi, Romano Fantacci, Dania Marabissi, Manuel Roveri, A Cloud to the Ground: The New Frontier of Intelligent and Autonomous Networks of Things, IEEE Communications Magazine, December 2016. [8]Amy Nordrum, The Internet of fewer Things, IEEE Spectrum, October 2016. [9] Robert W. Lucky, Cozying Up to Complexity [Reflections], IEEE Spectrum, January 2017 [10]Victor Greu, Searching the right tracks of new technologies in the earth race for a balance between progress and survival, Romanian Distribution Committee Magazine,

Volume 3, Issue1, Year 2012.

[11]Yifan Chen, Tadashi Nakano, Panagiotis Kosmas, Chau Yuen, Athanasios V. Vasilakos, Muhamad Asvial, Green Touchable Nanorobotic Sensor Networks, IEEE Communications Magazine, November 2016.

[12]Nathan A. Greenblatt, Self driving cars and the law, IEEE Spectrum, February 2016. [13]Victor Greu, Context-aware communications and IT – a new paradigm for the optimization of the information society towards the knowledge based society (Part 2), Romanian Distribution Committee Magazine, Volume 5, Issue4, Year 2014. [14]*** More Than 30 Billion Devices Will Wirelessly Connect to the Internet of Everything in 2020, ABI Research,London, United Kingdom - 09 May 2013, [15]Susan Hassler, Building robots we can trust, IEEE Spectrum, June 2016. [16]Victor Greu, Information and Communications Technologies are Learning from Nature’s “Research” to Push the Performance Limits, Romanian Distribution Committee Magazine, Volume 5, Issue1, Year 2014. [17]Erico Guizo, Evan Ackerman, When robots decide to kill, IEEE Spectrum, June 2016. [18]Ana Carolina Riekstin, Bruno Bastos Rodrigues, Viviane Tavares Nascimento, Claudia Bianchi Progetti, Tereza Cristina Melo de Brito Carvalho, Catalin Meirosu, Sustainability Information Model for Energy Efficiency Policies, IEEE Communications Magazine, November 2016. [19]Victor Greu, Tomorrow’s paradox: refining knowledge by smarter information and communications technologies while humans tend to become a limited factor of performance, Romanian Distribution Committee Magazine, Volume 7, Issue1, Year 2016. [20]Dave Evans, How the Next Evolution of the Internet Is Changing Everything, Cisco White Paper - The Internet of Things, April 2011. [21]Victor Greu, Communicate on … Communications - From a Conference every 2 years to the need to communicate everyday and everywhere, Romanian Distribution Committee Magazine, Volume 5, Issue 2, Year 2014. [22]***, [23]***, topics/topic_wisdom.html]

George Cosmin Tănase

Customer Benefit as a Deter minant of Repeat Purchasing


Repeat purchasing is the result of certain constellations of the customer benefit. To develop an understanding of this concept, such constellations must be differentiated. The bonding plays a key role as a behavior determinant. The customer’s repeat purchasing behavior can be differentiated in this sense by whether it would occur without the influence of such a bonding or whether the bonding was decisive. Repeat purchasing in which bonding is not a factor is founded either on the effect of the core offering or on the effect of the ancillary services. Bonding itself is attributed to economic causes or to the effect of rather psychological causes such as trust and commitment.


Keywor ds: customer bonding, demand, loyalty, ancillary services, differentiated marketing, repurchase, economic effects JEL Classification: L20, L80; M31

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We see a core service of an offer to be the element of the service that are fundamentally or substantially suited to meeting the functional needs of the customer. These needs are characterized by the fact that they give the customer grounds to enter into exchange activities with suppliers. Ancillary services, on the other hand, can enhance the benefits of a core service, but alone they are not capable of meeting the functional needs of the customer. So they merely provide ancillary benefit. Both categories can promote repurchase.

The essential benefit for the customer is derived from the composition of the core service. If the supplier is successful in creating benefits to the customer on the basis of the core service, the customer will enter into the exchange with this supplier and not with a competitor. The customer has two offers to choose from: one from the focal supplier, the other from the competitor, which is in this case the most appealing alternative to supplier for the customer.

To even be considered by the customer, both offers must on their own demonstrate a positive net benefit, meaning that the anticipated benefit of the offer must exceed the price to be paid. But the customer will still only choose one of the offers, namely the one with the greatest net benefit. We refer to this difference as the relative net benefit. If the supplier is able to maintain the customer benefit over the long term, the customer will continue to favor this supplier over competitors, meaning that he will make future purchases from the supplier as subsequent transactions. So in this case repeat purchasing is the result of enduring, “simple” customer benefit.

It should be noted, however, that repeat purchasing behavior is linked to the sustainability of customer benefit from the core service of the exchange relationship. If the structures of the exchange change, e.g. if a competitor increases the benefit of his offer to the customer or reduces the prices, the basis for repeat purchasing behavior is negated. Innovations, price changes or a stronger pace in the competition can affect switching. The customer will then immediately switch to the supplier making the most appealing offer. Thus repeat purchasing behavior is linked to the sustainable maintenance of the customer benefit in the exchange relationship; long-term security of the customer benefit must be the focus of the supplier.

Ancillary Services as the Reason for Repeat Purchasing

Ancillary services can take many different shapes, whereby the aspect referred to as customer service, often has particular significance. Examples of customer service are: technical and administrative customer support; ordering service; delivery; assembly; supply of spare parts; maintenance; repair, option to exchange a product; training and courses; hotlines; internet-based services; and also the availability of the supplier’s distribution centers. Just like the core service, ancillary services change the exchange relationships.

If the benefits of the relationship change, e.g. due to measures taken by the competitor, the customer will immediately change suppliers and cease repeat purchasing. However, it is often said that particularly ancillary services are harder for the competition to imitate than core services, and repeat purchasing founded on ancillary services is more resistant to competitors’ measures than is repeat purchasing based on a core service. As the following definition demonstrates, ancillary services implemented by the supplier for the express purpose of motivating the customer to repurchase are summarized by the term Customer Relationship Management: CRM is a customer-oriented corporate philosophy that, with the aid of modern information technology, attempts to build and solidify profitable customer relationships over the long term by applying comprehensive and differentiated marketing, sales and service concepts.

Repeat Buying Due to Bonding

While customers who repeatedly buy from the same supplier because of the core and ancillary services continue this behavior as long as the exchange relationship with the respective supplier remains beneficial, repeat buying based on

bonding is resistant to such changes, at least in the short and middle term. Relevant literature differentiates between a demand-or output based understanding of the term customer bonding and a supplier- or input-based understanding of the term. When describing customer bonding, demand-based describes customer behavior that leads to repurchase. In regard to the supplier, the term bonding summarizes all measures taken by the supplier intended to promote the customer’s behavior. So it would be correct to refer to customer bonding management.

Economic Effects as the Reason for Customer Bonding

Bonding based on economic effects is referred to as obligation—as opposed to bonding—of the customer. Economic obligations (lock-in) means that certain elements have to be considered in the exchange relationship that make it more difficult for the customer to change from his current supplier to a competitor. Individually, these elements can be about the impact of specificity and of satisfaction.

Specificity very generally describes a characteristic of resources. It means that the resources can only deliver their full benefits in a certain, specific context. If the initial acquisition of the resources is linked to a payment, one refers to a specific investment. Specificity becomes interesting to business relationships when the context deals with the continuation of the exchange relationship with one and the same partner. Satisfaction always creates a bonding effect when, in an exchange situation, the offers of competitors seem to be uncertain. Uncertainty can be the result of uncertain elements related to benefit or price.

Opportunistic behavior, which the customer has to assume of all suppliers, can lead to an absence of benefits. Opportunism refers to conscious acceptance of a disadvantage for others with the intention of furthering one’s own best interest. Transaction costs that the customer incurs due to measures intended to protect him from such opportunism, force up the price for the customer. The same is true for hidden prices, for ancillary services for which the necessity is not apparent until later, and for high maintenance and service costs that the customer is not informed of until after conclusion of the contract.

The supplier who succeeds in achieving an exchange with the customer has the unique opportunity to deliver satisfaction and eliminate uncertainty with the constellation of the service offered. This happens by not displaying any opportunistic behavior and by performing the service as it was promised and as the customer expects. Transaction costs to overcome uncertainties are no longer incurred once the customer has experienced such satisfaction.

In published literature, satisfaction is often named as the central element determining customer bonding and thus ensuring repeat purchasing. Satisfaction is the root of a bonding effect to the extent that changes in the competitors’ offerings do not affect the decision of the customer as long as the market remains uncertain. This is the difference between repeat buying based on satisfaction as well as on specific resources and repeat buying based on core and ancillary services, where a change by the competitor in the exchange relationship immediately causes the customer to reconsider his choice of supplier.

But it should also be pointed out that the bonding effect of satisfaction should be considered weaker when the number of competing offers is not characterized by uncertainty. If the customer can be certain that the services will be performed as expected, he can definitely assess all of the alternative offers, even if he has had no previous experience with the suppliers. Satisfaction then poses no more switching barriers. Confirmation of this can be found in studies performed in certain industries, proving that even customers prone to switching are highly to very highly satisfied with the original supplier. However, this insight does not absolve company decision makers from their obligation to assign utmost importance to satisfaction management.


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Trust and Commitment as a Source of Customer Bonding

While customer bonding on the basis of economic effects is referred to as obligation or lock-in, trust and commitment lead to customer bonding in a merely positive sense. The repeat purchasing behavior that this bonding promotes is based on a customer’s positive and outstanding attitude regarding a single supplier. The positive attitude is attributed to trust in the supplier and is manifested in commitment to the supplier. Thus trust and commitment are key factors of customer bonding

in the sense of demand-based bonding. We generally see trust as an expectation construct. The more specific understanding of the term in published literature is multi-faceted and more complex definition is representative of how the term is understood: “Trust is the expectation that a person or group of persons has not or will not act in an opportunistic manner in regard to a deliberate event, at least not towards the person extending the trust”

Trust and commitment make existing business relationships resistant to competitive measures. Similar to repeat based on satisfaction, repeat purchasing based on commitment and trust differs significantly from repeat purchasing on the basis of core and/or ancillary services. In the sense of an argument introduced by Plinke, trust and commitment represent the emotional and conscious attitudes of the customer, which are reason to ignore competitors’ offers when evaluating the exchange relationship. So we can assume that the bonding (loyalty) effect based on trust and commitment is even stronger than that based on satisfaction. Trust and commitment are established over time. They can emerge as a result of all of the other factors mentioned thus far that promote repeat purchasing—core services, ancillary services and economic switching barriers. So the triggers for repeat purchasing that we are dealing with here are not unrelated.


Trust as an expectation on the part of the customer is a behavioral determinant that can definitely be acknowledged as an emergent factor. This means that trust develops implicitly over time, without superficial intentions of the participants. The form and extent of trust always remain emergent or implicit. However, some fundamental correlations to active and systematic management of trust can still be posed. Measures to promote trust apply the effect of references, similarity, self-confidence and reciprocity. The supplier’s past transactions and projects are referred to as references or referrals. They become relevant to the aspect of trust when they prove that the trust that others placed in the supplier was not violated. This type of confirmation can also form the foundation for expectations of trustworthiness geared towards the future. To be able maximize the benefit of their effect for a certain customer, the supplier should carefully select references before presenting them to the customer.

References [1]

Hippner, H., Martin, S., & Wilde, K. (2001). Customer relationship management. Wirtschaftswissenschaftliches Studium, 31(8), 417–422.


Jones, E., Dixon, A. L., Chonko, L. B., & Cannon, J. P. (2005). Key accounts and team selling: A review, framework, and research agenda. Journal of Personal Selling & Sales Management, 25 (2), 182–198.


Lambe, C. J., Webb, K. L., & Ishida, C. (2009). Self-managing selling teams and team performance: The complementary roles of empowerment and control. Industrial Marketing Management, 38(1), 5–16.


Moorman, C., Zaltman, G., & Deshpande, R. (1992). Relationships between providers and users of market research: The dynamics of trust within and between organizations. Journal of Marketing Research (JMR), 29 (3),



Muller, V., & Ivens, B. (2011). Performance effects of different skill types among key account managers: An empirical study. In T. Mahlama¨ki, O. Uusitalo, & D. Jansson (Eds.), Proceedings of the 5th International Conference

on Business Market Management, Tampere, 2011 (pp. 252–257)


Palmatier, R. W., Scheer, L. K., & Steenkamp, J.-B. E. M. (2007). Customer loyalty to whom? Managing the benefits and risks of salesperson: Owned loyalty. Journal of Marketing Research, 44, 185–199.


Wiesel, T., Skiera, B., & Villanueva, J. (2008). Customer equity: An integral part of financial reporting. Journal of Marketing, 72(1), 1–14.


Zupancic, D. (2008). Towards an integrated framework of key account management. Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing, 23(5), 323–331.

Retail revolution and the always connected consumers Theodor PURCÄ‚REA

Abstract: Today there are significant priorities for retailers facing both customers’ more pressing expectations and their unmet buyer journey needs, retailers being forced to constantly innovate in providing a better shopping experience, faster adopting digital strategies while giving their customers a strong sense of value within the context of trying to choose the best experience of the digital and brick-and-mortar environment. Both retailers and consumers can today instantly connect and share information, and retail and ecommerce events are bringing new ideas and open new opportunities, including on the Romanian market.

Keywords: Retail priorities and challenges; Retail revolution; Omni channel retailing

JEL Classification: L81, L86, M31, Q55


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Retailers today’s significant priorities and the unmet buyer journey needs On the occasion of “Mobile Shopping Europe 2017, Mobile Shopping Europe: Europe’s Only mCommerce Event Designed by Retailers for Retailers” (organized on 08 Feb - 09 February 2017 by Worldwide Business Research at Park Plaza Victoria London in London, UK), Tom Rooney, mobile product manager for the 48-store merchant “John Lewis” (more than 150 years of retailing history; six years of mcommerce efforts), shared some important lessons to learn, such as: while about 40% of John Lewis’ purchases happen digitally (with half of those being transacted via mobile devices), around 40% of the retailer’s overall web traffic comes from smartphones; there is a difference concerning consumer usage between smartphones (greater activity in the morning and during business hours) and tablets (more traffic and higher conversion rates in the evenings, but traffic is beginning to slow in favor of smartphones); users of mobile devices go directly from search results or brands’ social media posts to product pages; the most appropriate place to add special features (like barcode scanners, digital receipts and virtual loyalty cards) are the apps; before jumping to trendy technologies (like beacons), retailers need to meet customers’ more pressing expectations, by identifying these ones. (Annicelli, 2017) Retail brands should consider many aspects in their relationship with the customers, including the fact that there is a difference (Gomersall, 2017) between the way the brain process an image (13 milliseconds, according to the neuroscientists at MIT) and a text (200 milliseconds, according to the same source), more important than an accompanying text being the images used (reflecting at their turn mission statement, products, audiences and central brand message). This presupposes to consider the organization within a visual content calendar. And as the physical and digital worlds converge within the store, it is necessary to better understand today’s always connected consumer, and to invest in infrastructure, networks and service oriented architecture layer and do it right, as shown by the Boston Retail Partners’ 2016 POS/Customer Engagement Survey of top North American retailers. (BRP, 2016) According to this BRP Survey retailers have significant priorities, such as: creating a true unified commerce environment (85% of respondents); improving customer engagement and the customer experience (68%); ensuring payment/data security (38%). This made us recall the interesting question launched in September last year by Tony Ulwick, Founder of Strategyn and Frank Grillo, Chief Marketing Officer of Harte Hanks: “Can Bricks and Mortar compete with on-line retailing?” (Ulwick and Grillo, 2016) The results of the application of the Harte Hanks (HH) and Strategyn co-developed methodology (a strategic marketing service) revealed (on the basis of the HH-Strategyn outcome-based segmentation): several unmet buyer journey needs (beyond the brick-and-mortar retail experience’s satisfaction of the leading retailers’ customers which “hire” retailers to help them execute the “buying job”), such as those of the hidden, underserved customer segment of younger families (budget conscious, time-constrained) which is considered to hold the survival and success key (as this segment represents almost 38% of the market); the relationship is the more profitable the more channels (physical and virtual) a customer uses. The eBook’s authors also did’ not forget to remind us of the three specific areas of natural advantage for brick-and-mortar companies: product identification, product selection, and returns. On the other hand, according to the sixth annual Synchrony Financial Digital Study (Synchrony Financial being one of the premier consumer financial services companies in the U.S.) – “Driving Shopper Engagement through Digital Technology” – in order to meet customers’ needs and expectations retailers must fast adopt digital strategies, constantly innovating in providing a better shopping experience. (Yasav, 2016) Two years ago, in July 2015, Marketing Week underlined, (Hobbs, 2015) on the occasion of Amazon’s 20 years in business celebration, different experts’ opinions about how Amazon transformed the world of online retail by giving its customers a strong sense of value, delivering what they want from its retail experience, ensuring faster and easier access to shopping, personalization, choice and convenience, while always trying out new technological things in targeting and retargeting. It is also interesting to note that in May 2015, in an article entitled “The Future of Retail Looks Like Macy’s, Not Amazon”, (Galloway, 2015) L2inc’s representative (a

business intelligence firm benchmarks digital performance of consumer brands, and provides digital research insights to help marketers grow business) showed that Macy’s (that launched click-and-collect in 2013) has one of the most sophisticated Omni channel businesses in U.S. (digital wallet integrating payment options, the store’s loyalty program, and special offers; its iPhone app letting shoppers sort products by local availability, and ship an item home or check prices, reviews and inventory). It is worth remembering within this context a conclusion drawn in relation with “The 2015 Global Omnichannel Retail Index: The future of shopping has arrived”. (Bovensiepen, Schmaus, and Maekelburger, 2015) Omni channel retailing will be what retailers must do to be profitable, as the lines between online and offline become indistinct, and consumers will choose the best experience of the digital and brick-and-mortar environment, this blended online/offline retailing experience being catalyzed by the widening presence of mobile devices and the expanded use of mobile networks as e-commerce engines. The Global Omnichannel Retail Index assesses Omni channel readiness in nine retail segments within each of the 19 countries or regions, this index setting a rating for each country on a scale of 1 to 100 based on four metrics: consumer behavior (the degree to which customers in the specific countries already fulfill their retail purchases via an Omni channel approach), degree of digitization (the level of sales channel digitization), Omni channel potential (the growth potential of Internet and mobile retailing), and infrastructure (the penetration of Omni channel devices and services in the specific country). There is no wonder that the theme of the 5th World Department Store Forum (WDSF), organized by Holt Renfrew and Intercontinental Group of Department Stores on 1st - 2nd June 2017 in Toronto, is “Digital and Bricks&Mortar - One Magic Experience”. In an email message (entitled “Great Speakers at 5th World Department Store Forum 2017 in Toronto”) sent on January 12, 2017 by Mario Grauso, President of Holt Renfrew, and Werner Studer, Executive Director of IGDS it was underlined from the very beginning that: “Digitalisation has made it possible for customers and retailers to instantly connect and share information on events, purchases, advice and requests. However, retailers are finding it challenging to wisely use this technology and its opportunities to increase footfall and turnover.” Revolutionizing the retail company of the future At the beginning of the current year, expert opinions also underlined the potential to revolutionize the retail landscape given the new technologies and influences (augmented and virtual reality, next-gen biometric capabilities and functions etc.). (Alliance Data, 2017) On the other hand, on the occasion of the Shoptalk 2017 (the new blockbuster retail and ecommerce event, March 19-22, 2017, Aria, Las Vegas), attendees were impressed by a lot of cutting-edge, innovative announcements, such as: Instagram’s new shopping feature, new digital capabilities of retailers Jos A Bank and Pottery Barn, a next-generation store format (scheduled to debut in the Houston suburb of Richmond, Texas fall 2017) unveiled by the Target CEO Brian Cornell. On the same occasion, there were presented other interesting aspects such as: “Clicks, Bricks & Broccoli: The CPG & Grocery Trend Report,Clicks, Bricks & Broccoli: The CPG & Grocery Trend Report” of the performance marketing technology company Criteo (the report revealing among others that: 40% of eGrocery purchases are made on mobile phones, 43% of eGrocery shoppers searched online for a coupon, and 46% of baby care purchases are made on impulse); the selection of RELEX Solutions’ supply chain planning solutions by Delhaize America to forecast and replenish perishable categories within its distribution centers (this partnership will service Delhaize brands Food Lion and Hannaford); the launch by the product content management platform Salsify of the “Product Content Grader” (free tool enabling the measuring of the effectiveness of brand manufacturers’ product page content on major retail web sites, the latest version highlighting analysis for pages on etc. (Tirico, 2017) But let’s also take a look at some important and interesting eTail events to come up this year in North America and Europe with fresh ideas: ▪ “Transforming Retail. Together”, May 16-18, 2017, Hyatt Regency Toronto, Ontario (borderless commerce and beyond; navigating marketing touchpoints across platforms; the future of innovative retail is now), ( this eTail Canada event also approaching how to really revolutionize the retail company of the future (from online, to in-house, to in26

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store), and awarding best in class Omni-channel retailers; an infographic entitled “Edging Out the Competition in Canadian Retail” ( showed that to stay ahead of the divide Canadian retailers (only 44% have an aggregated view of customer crosschannel history, and 64% do not have a mobile app which recommends promotions based on store locations and online purchasing behavior) must create mobile-first strategies, better merchandising, and seamless path from inspiration to purchase; ▪ “Transforming Retail. Together”, The Conference For eCommerce & Omnichannel Innovators, August 14 - 17, 2017, The Sheraton, Boston (eTail was born in 1999, as a place where the top minds at America’s most successful retailers meet and learn); ( ▪ “eTail Delivery 2017”, “Transforming eCommerce Delivery. Together”, Europe’s most seniorlevel Omni-channel fulfilment and delivery event, 20 - 21 September, 2017, Amsterdam (this event providing Europe’s top retailers’ representatives with a 360° perspective on how to revolutionize their customers delivery strategies to enhance loyalty, increase revenue and streamline operations; ( according to its agenda it is a “doing” event approaching current challenges, such as: creating a first class end-to-end customer centric fulfilment model; building an agile supply chain flexible enough to adapt to stress and evolving consumer demand; diversifying delivery options and successfully implement a click & collect programme; maintaining brand prestige when working with multiple transportation partners; speeding up returns processing and eliminate the financial strain of returns; building a successful global delivery strategy and standardizing fulfilment for international customers; overcoming the most common fulfilment challenges of operating in emerging markets; anticipating change and future-proof delivery business model. Allow us finally to quote the opinion expressed (in the Retail TouchPoints’s “2017 E-COMMERCE OUTLOOK GUIDE” - Retail Experts Reveal Top Digital Trends And 2017 Predictions) by Jonathan Wu, co-founder of Touch of Modern, and Managing Partner of Tomo Ventures: “Retail is a unique blend of art and science; the art comes from the hand curation in the products we feature and the science comes from the analytical methodology in terms of the customer experience in buying that product… One of the most exciting trends in e-Commerce emerging is the split between the utility of buying something you need and shopping for something that you might not know you want.” Evolution, innovation, and inspiration on the Romanian retail market The largest pre-accelerator for young tech startup teams in Romania, Innovation Labs 2017, organized by Tech Lounge with the help of Carrefour (advocate of retail direction, which aims to propose technologies that improve both industry sales and customer shopping experience), Orange (Imagine with Orange being a crowdsourcing platform for innovation and a launch pad for entrepreneurs), BRD Groupe Société Générale, Enel, and The Romanian-American Foundation (strategic partner), is opening its gates again (let’s remember, for example the most interesting proposals in 2015-2016 at the category Disruptive Retail: Buyerbrain, FindTH@, ShopIt, SOSGift), this year between March 4 and May 24. In what concerns Carrefour, it is worth mentioning that its Romanian network includes 290 stores: 32 Carrefour hypermarkets, 117 Market supermarkets, 44 Express proximity stores, 10 Contact proximity stores, 86 Billa stores, and, of course, the Carrefour online store (Magazinul Progresiv, 2017) Within this largest pre-accelerator, the young tech startup teams have been invited to take an eye-opening journey from idea to product, choosing their track from one of the Smart Teritories categories (Agriculture, Cyber-security, Energy, Health & Lifestyle, Smart Cities or Retail), and developing and pitching a first prototype of their idea in front of a jury including top-level people from diverse industries in Romania. ( At the end of December 2016, in the Volume 7, Issue 4, of the Romanian Distribution Committee Magazine (RDC Magazine), we show that according to IKA Romania – Retailer Analysis, the total current number of shops on the Romanian retail market (2,620 compared to 2,501 international retail chains stores in September 2016) per channel type was as follows: Cash&Carry – 57 (55 in September 2016); Discount Store – 404 (385 in September 2016); Hypermarket – 192 (188 in September 2016); Proximity Store – 726 (686 in September 2016); Specialized Store – 85

(84 in September 2016); Supermarket – 433 (417 in September 2016); Rural Store – 82 (49 in September 2016, a spectacular increase). Compared to the number of international retail chains stores in November 2015 (1,717 as mentioned above), there is an increase with 784 stores; (IKA.Progressive Magazine, 2016). While in the Volume 7, Issue 3, of the RDC Magazine, within the approach of the evolution of retailing on the Romanian market, we remembered that Cora Romania - S.C. Romania Hypermarche S.A. as part of Louis Delhaize Group - present on the Romanian market since 2003, launched in 2013 the platform, Cora becoming also the first large commercial chain which proposed drive delivery type in Romania (by inaugurating later the online service And as in the same Volume 7, Issue 3 of RDC Magazine we showed some of significant aspects highlighted on the occasion of the GPeC Summit (the Spring edition of the Most Important E-Commerce Event in Central and Eastern Europe), which took place in Bucharest on May 25-27, 2016 (850 attendees, 9 international speakers, other speakers representing top local companies such as Altex, eMAG, Google, Netopia mobilPay, Orange, Oracle, Microsoft etc.), allow us to salute the interest for the next GPeC Summit – which will take place in Bucharest between 16-18 May 2017 – but not forgetting to mention the last GPeC Summit (11th edition), whose works took place between November 15 (having two international speakers invited: Talia Wolf, Conversion Optimization Expert, and și Craig Sullivan, Optimizer of Everything; eCommerce Awards Gala took place in the evening), (Savu, 2016) and 17 (the special invitee Bryan Eisenberg, an authority in the field of Online Marketing and Conversion Optimization, co-founder and Chairman Emeritus of Digital Analytics Association, having a whole event day dedicated; eConsultancy called him the “User Experience Guru”; he contributed to Amazon’s sales growth), (Blanaru, 2016) 2016. It is also worth remembering some of the GPeC 2016 winners of the: Special Awards (as, at the “Best price comparison” category, for instance), Online Stores Awards (as, at “Food & Beverage” category;, at the “Organic and natural products” category;, at the “Health & Beauty” category;, at the “IT&C, Electronics, and Home Appliances”, for instance), and eCommerce Awards (, at the “Best experienced trader” category;, at the “Store of the year” category). According to the above mentioned expert Talia Wolf (interviewed by a GPeC reporter; she is founder of Conversioner, and Chief of Growth for Banana Splash), (Rotaru, 2017) marketers make mistakes by not giving enough attention to customers, not following a well thought process, and not having established a clear methodology for optimizing their sites for e-commerce. On the other hand, in the opinion of one of the GPeC 2016 Contest’s Jury members, Răzvan Acsente (Head Of Marketing Naspers and Europe CLM Group Expert Lead OLX): (Rotaru, 2017) there is an obvious transition towards mobile, the shops began to adapt its content and communication, but personalization is still a big problem for online stores in Romania; e-commerce market is reactive rather than proactive, the stores reacting to user needs; customer segmentation is very important as the conversion rate is low because most of consumers are still not at the stage of buying. In a third interview (Rotaru, 2017) done on the same occasion (and also posted on the GPeC blog), Mihai Pătrașcu, Founder & CEO evoMAG (founded in 2005) & Shareholder WatchShop (the largest online store for watches in Romania), showed that mobile phones are the most sold products on evoMAG site (this category skyrocketing to all their competitors and major operators in Romania), but even if traffic on the site is high, very few complete command at the phone.


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Conclusion In the last two years we invited to reflections on working together to build the foundation for the “Road Map for the Store of the Future” Project, taking into account different aspects such as: the retail space is a crucial factor influencing the customer’s feelings, being a necessary increased focus on integrating retailers’ various channels, while considering the impact of the converged lifestyle which has empowered consumers, and step by step better understanding the need of driving convenience, service, and relevant personalized experiences through the use of digital store technology; (Purcarea, 2015) there is no doubt that success is dependent on constant innovation in ensuring a convergent holistic experience, retailers being forced to consider e-commerce and mobile shopping, to align the right customer with the right product or service, considering the new technology and marketers’ need to use predictive models within the context in which retailers can disrupt the traditional ways of doing business, adequately supporting their transformational aspirations by a skilled workforce sharing the learning environment; (Purcarea, 2015) while today’s shoppers are turning to their mobile devices throughout the shopping experience, businesses are choosing among many different ways to make the in-store experience mobile-friendly, developing a deep understanding of the decision journey that the new shoppers undertake; (Purcarea, 2015) within the increasing preoccupation for the Omni channel integration experience, retailers are under real pressure for identifying the best solutions while facing challenges, Omni channel practices being considered essential for a quality shopping experience, and mapping the customer journey being the first step in creating a proper problem-solving company’s framework within a strategic digital marketing approach taking into account what matters to always connected consumers; (Purcarea, 2016) retail personalization is transformed including with the help of the artificial intelligence, and there is a real retail marketers’ opportunity to drive increased levels of personalization thanks to improved tracking and attribution technologies across all the channels (CPG companies are also committing to Omni channel retail as one of the identified imperatives); (Purcarea, 2016) today’s Omni shoppers looking for richer experiences have great expectations from retailers, which must create insight matched with relevant market intelligence, being continuously aware of the rise of social media, the top retail trends, the perspective of the retail marketing environment and of the challenges ahead. (Purcarea, 2015) Indeed, retailers and consumers are instantly connecting and sharing information, looking at constantly improved experiences on the basis of a more actionable roadmap enabling identifying needs, and even anticipating unmet ones, combining direct interactions with those mediated by technology, knowing that in today’s Omni channel world must be no weak part of the customer decision journey.

References Annicelli, C., Lessons Learned from John Lewis’ Mcommerce Efforts. Evolving alongside customers a better bet, February 10, 2017, retrieved on 13.02.2017, from: Bovensiepen, G., Schmaus, B., Maekelburger, B., The 2015 Global Omnichannel Retail Index: The future of shopping has arrived, November 17, 2015, from: Blanaru, C., GPeC 2016 includes an all-day event with Bryan Eisenberg, 7 October 2016, retrieved from: gpec-2016-includes-day-event-bryan-eisenberg/ Galloway, S., The Future of Retail Looks Like Macy’s, Not Amazon, 1 May 2015, retrieved from: Gomersall, C., 3 Steps to Retail Brand Consistency, February 10, 2017 , retrieved on 13.02.2017, from: Hobbs, T., Amazon at 20: The brand, the challenges and the future, 15 Jul 2015, retrieved on 11.02.2017, from: https://www.marketingweek. com/2015/07/15/marketing-isnt-the-reason-amazon-is-successful-experts-say/? Purcarea, T., Road Map for the Store of the Future, World Premiere, May 4, 2015, at SHOP 2015, Expo Milano 2015, Romanian Distribution Committee Magazine, Volume 6, Issue 2, pp. 36-45 Purcarea, T., Retailers: Facing the disruption of the traditional ways of doing business, Romanian Distribution Committee Magazine, Volume 6, Issue 3, 2015, pp. 20-23 Purcarea, T., Challenges of the modern retail trade, Romanian Distribution Committee Magazine, Volume 6, Issue 4, 2015, pp. 30-37 Purcarea, T., The Challenge of a Truly Omni Channel Approach for Retailers, Romanian Distribution Committee Magazine, Volume 7, Issue 2, 2016, pp. 26-31 Purcarea, T., The retail market under the pressure of the technological change, Romanian Distribution Committee Magazine, Volume 7, Issue 3, 2016, pp. 26-37 Purcarea, T., Retail in the era of Omni channel marketing, Romanian Distribution Committee Magazine, December 2016, Volume 7, Issue 4, pp. 24-30 Rotaru, L., Talia Wolf: Clienții tăi nu sunt reprezentați doar prin vârstă, sex și orașul în care locuiesc | VIDEO, 6 Martie 2017, retrieved from: http:// Rotaru, L., Răzvan Acsente (interviewed by Gabriela Bejan), OLX: În continuare piața de e-commerce din România este reactivă și mai puțin proactivă | VIDEO, 15 Martie 2017, retrieved from: Rotaru, L., Mihai Pătrașcu, evoMAG: Traficul pe mobil este de aproximativ 50%, dar foarte puțini finalizează comanda de pe telefon | VIDEO, 21 Martie 2017, retrieved from: Savu , M., Gala Premiilor eCommerce a desemnat Câștigătorii Anului 2016 în Comerțul Electronic Românesc! 18 Noi 2016, retrieved from: https:// Tirico, K., #ShopTalk17: Target Debuts New Store Prototype; 2017 Will Be The Year Of eGrocery, 24 March 2017, retrieved from: Ulwick, T. and Grillo, F., Can Bricks and Mortar compete with on-line retailing? September 2016, eBook, retrieved on 22.02.2017, from: https:// Yasav, S., Driving Shopper Engagement through Digital Technology, Synchrony Financial, October 2016, retrieved on 26.01.2017 from: https:// *** 2016 POS/Customer Engagement Survey, retrieved on 26.01.2017, from: *** A look beyond what’s next in trends, Alliance Data’s perspective on the industry, January 27, 2017, retrieved from: insights-news/look-beyond-what%E2%80%99s-next-trends?utm_medium=email%20&utm_source=totalretail&utm_campaign=beyondtrends *** 2017’s hottest retail & ecommerce event: The new community for innovators, March 19-22, 2017, Aria, Las Vegas, retrieved from: *** Transforming Retail. Together, May 16-18, 2017, Hyatt Regency Toronto, Ontario, *** Edging Out the Competition in Canadian Retail, retrieved on 17.02.2017, from: *** Transforming Retail. Together, The Conference For eCommerce & Omnichannel Innovators, August 14 - 17, 2017, The Sheraton, Boston, http:// *** eTail Delivery 2017, Transforming eCommerce Delivery. Together, Europe’s most senior-level omni-channel fulfilment and delivery event, 20 21 September, 2017, Amsterdam, *** 2017 E-COMMERCE OUTLOOK GUIDE, p. 37, RTP_RT098_GD_E-CommerceOutlookGuide_Oct_2016_Final.pdf *** Carrefour susține startup-urile tehnologice în retail, 13 Feb 2017, Progresiv, retrieved on 14.02.2017, from: stiri/carrefour-sustine-startup-urile-tehnologice-retail? *** *** IKA Romania – RetailerAnalysis,


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Léon F. WEGNEZ (by courtesy of) - Shoppers’ claims that determine the success of the stores, “Distribution d’aujourd’hui”, 57ème année, November 2016, Brussels Sharing with our distinguished Readers a well-known source of usable and useful knowledge… Prof. Dr. h. c. Léon F. WEGNEZ is an Honorary Member of the Romanian Distribution Committee, and distinguished Member of the Editorial Board of our “Romanian Distribution Committee Magazine“. He was honored by the European Retail Academy (ERA) as the 2015 “Man of the Year” (the distinguished personalities who have been honored by ERA in the last five years were: John L. Stanton, Léon F. Wegnez, Romano Prodi, Klaus Toepfer, and Robert Aumann). Knowing our distinguished readers’ thirst for knowledge, we offer you, by courtesy of this remarkable personality, the above mentioned article published in the prestigious “Distribution d’aujourd’hui”.


Romanian Distributtion Committee Magazine / April 2017 /

Store-Checks (EuroShop), MacroEconomic Impacts, Eurasian Club of Scientists, ERA Holistic Approach, Challenge Food Waste, Silk Road Network, Focus Africa, Academic Publications, and CIRCLE Warsaw Bernd HALLIER

Prof. Dr. Bernd Hallier, President of the European Retail Academy (ERA), an Honorary Member of the Romanian Distribution Committee, and distinguished Member of the Editorial Board of “Romanian Distribution Committee Magazine” (he is also Honorary Member of the Romanian Scientific Society of Management - SSMAR) attracted our attention on great events happening in the first quarter of 2017, and allowed us to present them. It is also worth mentioning that immediately after visiting Romania for the first time on the occasion of the 24th International Congress of the International Association for the Distributive Trade (AIDA Brussels), Prof. Dr. Bernd Hallier sent us, in May 2008, a memorable letter we have referred initially in the Journal of the Romanian Marketing Association (AROMAR), no. 5/1998, and also later, in 2010, in the first issue of the Romanian Distribution Committee Magazine.

Store-Checks On March 20, 2017, European Retail Academy (ERA) informed us that the EuroShop exhibition in Duesseldorf, Germany – that started in 1966 – is today the number 1 worldwide show for store-fitting, POS-Marketing, electronics for retail, lights, refrigeration ( ). It covers 120.000 square meters net all three years. Linked to the visit of the exhibition are guided store-checks by Prof. Dr. Bernd Hallier especially for groups from Central- and Eastern Europe as well as from Asia to understand the distribution system in Germany.

Thanks for the cooperation in the Cologne/Duesseldorf area go in the food-sector to ALDI, BioSupermarkt, EDEKA, HIT, Kaufland, Lidl, Netto, Reformhaus and REWE, in textiles to C&A, kik, P&C, the department stores Karstadt and Kaufhof, and the out-door specialist Globetrotter. Macro-Economic Impacts ERA let us know on March 15, 2017 that Prof. Dr. Bernd Hallier, President of ERA, stated on the occasion of a Retail Conference in Mumbai/India that Asia and Africa will determine tremendously the future shape of the world. Due to the different growth of population and the gap of exchange rates between the continents of Asia/Africa versus Europe/Northern America there will be major uncontrolled migrations of capital, jobs and physical human resources (very often based on speculation ) - as well as impacts onto the environments globally. Unfortunately Governments are not yet prepared to understand the impact of the present changes from national economies to global economies (more: ).

Preparing a Nairobi/Kenya Conference about Postharvest Optimization ( ) in the end of March 2017 Prof. Dr. Bernd Hallier is asking for engagement for a Global House of Harmony within the trio Economics, Ecology and Ethics (see also ). Goals of the 70’s of the last century to support the development in Africa have to be revived and to be fulfilled the demands. Eurasian Club of Scientists On March 2, 2017, The Silk Road Network informed us that it has an additional partner: EECSA. The Eurasian Economics Club of Scientists Association (www.linkedin. com/eurasian-economic-club-of-scientists) was established in 2008 as an initiative of the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan, Nursultan Nazarbayev.

Among the members of EECSA are Nobel Prize Laureates of Economics like Robert Aumann, Finn Kydland, Eric Maskin, Sir James Mirrless, Robert Mundell, John Nash (1928-2015, Edmund Phelps, Christoph Pissarides and Edward Prescott. One of the major projects of EECSA is the Astana Economic Forum ( ). ERA is represented at EECSA by the Professors Hanon Barabaner, Mikhail Fedorov and Bernd Hallier. ERA Holistic Approach Although within its name “Retail� is the key-word of the European Retail Academy, its education is a more holistic approach integrating also Culture and History or Art or Leadership. Therefore by a permanent evolution process was enlarged by additional Subsites.

The historical enlargement started already in 2005 by AgriBusinessForum followed in 2006 by and www. (ForumArtBusiness), in 2008 by ERM (EnvironmentalRetailManagement), in 2012 by a special for an exhibition: www.duerenstudentart. ; in 2013 by (Global Green University) , in 2014 by and finally in 2017 by (Almaty Eurasian University Complex). Challenge Food Waste ERA let us know on February 15, 2017, that in the beginning of the 21st century, due to global mass distribution, the world is divided into countries with affluent society and poor countries where 80 percent of the children suffer from hunger. The explosion of population will widen this gap - in the year 2050 about 40 percent more food is needed! If production at the best would keep its present volume, the prices for food will increase and the poorest of the poor will suffer even more. Research about the food distribution shows that at the moment nearly the same rate of food products is wasted as crop on the fields, due to insufficient storing and transportation, lack of processing, within the distribution and at the consumer level. Theoretically the gap between available food and demand could be closed by a better transfer of know-how and a change of consumer habits.


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The first African Postharvest Congress organized under the leadership of the University of Nairobi/Kenya ( ) will bring together worldwide experts of the agriculture, processing, and total supply chain to work on solutions of this problem. The exhibition of the IKV-Club of international artists ( ) in the Museum of Nairobi wants to support the awareness for Food Waste as a challenge by joint exhibits of African and German artists. Moreover, a painting session with children of the Shangilia-slum is planned. Silk Road Network On February 6, 2017, ERA informed us that due to its joint activities with the Eurasian Economics Club of Scientists, the World Youth Economic Forum at the Astana Economics Forum and a close cooperation with G-Global Development Community, it started in the beginning of 2017 a new Silk Road Network as a vocational educational platform under the name of Almaty Eurasian University Complex.

The homepage has been designed and established by the former ERA-

trainees Alina Pukhovskaya/Russia and Valto Vaaraniemi/Finland. The founding partners of AEUC are the European Retail Academy based in Germany and Trade Help as a first sponsor from Kazakhstan. Focus Africa ERA let us know on January 25, 2017, that within a Global House of Harmony of Economics, Ecology and Ethics the African Continent has to be more in the focus of the global society, as Prof. Dr. Bernd Hallier stated again in the beginning of 2017. Africa has to reduce its food waste at the level of crops as well as by better logistics and processing towards upgraded margins. Retail players can play a major part in this development. According to Planet Retail/ LP International the biggest players at the moment are:

To support Africa a first Food Waste Conference will be hold in Nairobi/Kenya at March 29-31st 2017. Beside the Conference also parallel an awareness-exhibition from the international Art-Club (see www. ) will promote the topic at the National Gallery of Nairobi. Academic Publications On January 15, 2017, ERA underlined that to be accepted as an international scientist two columns are becoming more and more important: an active participation in conferences and research-results in academic publications.

In the start of 2017 three of the academic journals of ERA-partners have to be mentioned: “Marketing Science & Inspirations” edited by Peter Starchon and his team from Comenius University in Bratislava, “Holistic Marketing Management” edited by Theodor Purcarea from the Romanian-American University in Bucharest, and the “International Journal of Management Cases” edited by Gianpaolo Vignali from Manchester University. More information available here: 38

Romanian Distributtion Committee Magazine / April 2017 /

CIRCLE Warsaw ERA let us know on January 3, 2017, that since 2004 CIRCLE organizes international PhD-Conferences - rotating each year to another European country, and the 14th edition will be in Warsaw between April 19th21st 2017.

The European Retail Academy is supporting CIRCLE as well as its distance e-learning diplomas via VITEZ University/Bosnia Herzegovina from the early beginning. Its former ERA-trainee Alina Pukhovskaya (https:// is taking part at the CIRCLE/VITEZ PhD-program. More about Warsaw:


Romanian Distributtion Committee Magazine / April 2017 /

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