Future of Retail 2020

Focusing on the commercial world of the country, and on the trade as a protagonist, the 1st" Future of Retail highlighted the opportunities and challenges of the future 

The Prime Minister of the Hellenic Republic Mr. Kyriakos Mitsotakis announced the official opening of the Conference, expressing the support of the government with the allocation of significant European resources for the necessary digital leap of small and medium enterprises. The modernization of the General Electronic Commercial Registry, the new Insurance Bill and the reduction of taxation were on the agenda of the Prime Minister's speech.

Keynote speakers were Mr. Jonathan Reynolds, Said Business School, University of Oxford and Dan O 'Connor, Executive in Residence, Harvard Business School

The first "Future of Retail" Conference, which took place on February 7 and 8 at the Grand Hyatt Athens, organized by the Hellenic Confederation of Trade and Entrepreneurship, was completed with great success, strong attendance of the commercial world from all over Greece and with important findings. With the presence of the Honorable Prime Minister Mr. Kyriakos Mitsotakis, the Vice President of the European Commission Mr. Margaritis Schoinas, the Minister of Digital Governance Mr. Kyriakos Pierrakakis and the Deputy Minister of Development and Investment Mr. Nikos Papathanassis, all the procedures of the Conference were carried out with the aim of highlighting the future of Trade in the light of the 4th Industrial Revolution and its transition from the traditional to the digital environment.
The conference was attended by more than five hundred delegates, representatives of the business world from all over the country, representatives of international organizations, academics, businessmen and high-ranking business executives. It is noted that the purpose of "Future of Retail" is to consolidate it as a permanent institution to monitor the rapid changes taking place in world trade as well as to ensure a transparent and credible public dialogue forum to serve the new needs that are emerging in the world, consequently in e-commerce.

Within this context more than 50 speakers from Greece and abroad focused on the interpretation and analysis of international trends in order to formulate a new proposal for the future of Trade. Digital technologies, Millennials' consumption patterns, supply chain innovations, new payment trends, innovative strategies, sustainable development and commerce, the future of work and commerce in modern city centers were the main topics of the two-day meeting. At the same time, the participants had the opportunity to attend the specialized seminars on "Consumer Law Ready" and "Platform trust and use- Retail & new horizons in the era of Artificial Intelligence".

The opening of the Conference was announced by the Prime Minister Mr. Kyriakos Mitsotakis on Friday, February 7, emphasizing that "The development of Greece will go through small and medium enterprises. Especially today, when technology gives you the opportunity to build an e-commerce business, even through your own home. Every country must help the private initiative, creating a business environment which, without unnecessary regulatory obstacles, without a high tax burden, highlights and does not stifle entrepreneurship…For the first time, after all, a government actively supports the backbone of the Greek economy but also trusts its people. I therefore expect from you, to take the baton of progress.To make productive use of the new opportunities that are presented, coordinated with the growth rate at which our country is already moving. "

As the President of The Hellenic Confederation of Commerce and Entrepreneurship (ESEE) Mr. George Karanikas "This conference is an ambitious and at the same time necessary initiative of ESEE, which comes to form a framework for reflection on the future of retail. ESEE understands the role of a business organization, as a promotional force in principle. In our view, advocacy is also linked to the ability to anticipate and prevent. In the case of the digital transformation, something that was discussed at the conference, the trend has been evident for the past two decades and the progression of events towards the future is more or less determined.

Concluding the the first day of the conference, the Vice President of the European Commission Mr. Margaritis Schoinas spoke, referring to the three European transitions concerning the Green Agreement, the digital economy and the secure societies of the future, emphasizing, among other things, "In April 2018, Europe published a guide to modernizing the operation of small retailers. This guide provides new approaches to promoting the revitalization of city centers and practical suggestions to support small retailers become familiar with technological change and meet the challenges of the future. Through our initiatives, we support Member States in their efforts to boost innovation, productivity and competitiveness in retail. We are a succorer and supporter to strengthen their presence at European and global level. "Small and medium-sized enterprises, can count on the European Commission's practical solidarity to assimilate technological change with the ultimate goal of creating jobs and stimulating economic growth.

The closing of the Conference was made by the Minister of Digital Government Mr. Kyriakos Pierrakakis, noting that "Our mission towards business and commerce is broader, especially in relation to electronic payments in relation to the obvious shift to e-commerce. We have to provide training, tools, services and infrastructure. In terms of infrastructure, we estimate that we are closer to the European average. But we will get to where we need to be. The 5G spectrum auction that will take place at the end of the year will help. We will invest in new types of infrastructure. "

Particularly interesting was the keynote speeches of Dan O 'Connor, Executive in Residence, Harvard Business School and Jonathan Reynolds, Director, Oxford Institute of Retail Management, Said Business School, University of Oxford, which took place on Friday 7 and Saturday 8 February respectively. In his speech, Dan O 'Connor gave an overview of new developments in retail, emphasizing the potential of rapid changes in automation. Referring to the business model of Alibaba, he highlighted the multiple services that the company offers to retailers, considering that it greatly shapes the business model of the future. He seemed optimistic about the future of retail, saying "it's a great time to be an entrepreneur", while noting that for wholesale, the new era requires attention and good management of the new complex environment. At the same time, Jonathan Reynolds highlighted the key challenges that people will face in the coming decades such as those of demographics, the acceleration of technological development, the environmental pressure, connecting them with specific trends that will be developed in retail.


01 Digital Technologies Changing the Retail 


The spekers’ will seek through their interventions to highlight the fact that the retail sector is undergoing a transformation due to the impact of digital technologies.

Digital technologies have shaped a new business environment, which is dominated by big data sets. Data that are generated while using the Internet and are collected and analyzed. This resulted in the creation of a specific and very credible profile for each user. We could argue that, especially in the retail sector, the personalization resulting from the exploitation of large datasets constitutes a major difference and the most important qualitative feature of digital technologies. The Internet of Things (IoT), for example, is currently a small revolution in technology. With IoT technology we are transitioning into a 'connected' world. A network of connected objects is shaped with built-in sensors in order to facilitate communication, data exchange and smart decision making. Businesses can also benefit enormously from other technologies such as cloud, virtual and augmented reality, blockchain, artificial intelligence, machine learning, 3D printing and robotics. The only condition is to hire qualified staff able to exploit them. 

In this framework, speakers are expected to shed light into particular aspects of the digital business transformation, such as the effective link between human data and processes and how it can be achieved. A project which has increasingly preoccupied the market during the recent years as it is included in the central objectives set by the European Union and its Member States.


Troy Beeler, General Manager, Future Commerce Initiative LLC

Commerce-Changing Digital Technologies: The Digital & Automated Store

Νίκος Κωστρόγλου, Managing Partner Koolmetrix

Λένα Τσιπούρη, Καθηγήτρια, Τμήμα Οικονομικών Επιστημών, ΕΚΠΑ


Plenary Speech


Νίκος Φλίγκος, Γενικός Διευθυντής Εμπορικών λειτουργιών, Ελλάδας, Κύπρου, Μάλτας,ΠΑΠΑΣΤΡΑΤΟΣ, Philip Morris International



In conversation:


Jasmin Battista, Head of e-commerce sector, EuropeanCommission


02 The Impact of Technological Innovations on the Supply Chain

The aim is to explain how to adopt technological transformation in the supply chain across the business spectrum.  

The survival of a business in the supply chain sector is linked to the development of appropriate methods to successfully adopt new technologies and to integrate them into the corporate strategy, in order to become even more competitive. They are led to change the traditional management mode, both on operational and organizational level, by adopting integrated systems that help increase the speed and volatility of physical flows and information. In order to achieve this level of integration, they are investing in new information technologies.

Supply chain logistics are a pillar of the new development paradigm of the Greek economy. Greece's geographical location and historical transit role, make the country an important actor in commodity transportation. In this context, the technological innovations resulting from the fourth (4th) industrial revolution are expected to influence extensively the mode, time and volume of product transportation.


Ζήνα Μαυροειδή, Διευθύνουσα Σύμβουλος e-Fresh.gr

Ανέστης Παρταλίδης, Διευθύνων Σύμβουλος της Trade Logistics

Νικόλαος Ροδόπουλος, Πρόεδρος Διοικητικού Συμβουλίου ΕΕL

03  The Features of Millennials 

The speakers will seek through their interventions, to highlight the features of Millennials, one of the largest generations in history, which is already causing the reshaping of sectors of the economy, according to their habits and preferences. 

The “Millennials”, as generation, includes those born after 1980, representing the first generation of the new millennium and one of the largest generations in history. They were born amidst major technological developments, such as the widespread use of personal computers and the birth of the Internet, and experienced as children or young adults crucial events in world history, such as the 9/11 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center Twin Towers, or the economic crisis of 2008. Events that shaped their political opinion and perception, as well as their views on the economy, on life and death. For Millennials, the digital world is their life. They participate in social media and use every technological mean available to save time. Their maturity within the digital environment reflects also the shift of marketing to purely digital strategies. TV advertising, for example, has been largely replaced by advertising on Youtube, Instagram, Facebook or Google. If, in fact, we consider that these social media act as an intermediate space in which consumer trends are analyzed and forged, we realize that the danger that Millennials' preferences may be "driven" by the oligopoly of the Internet is real. 

In this framework, speakers are expected to outline the profile of Millennials' and the way businesses can become attractive in order to approach them. 


Λευτέρης Κιοσές, Γενικός Διευθυντής ΙΕΛΚΑ

Γιώργος Καραμανώλης, Co-Founder & CTO/CIO at Crowdpolicy Chairman of Hellenic Blockchain Hub


Plenary Speech


Christian Verschueren, Director-General, Eurocommerce


04 The Onsite Physical Store of the Future 

Speakers will seek through their interventions, to show what the future physical store will look like, following the impact of digital technologies.

The changes that the retail is undergoing are causing the transformation of the traditional physical store. Historically, these changes have emerged as a reflection of the wider transformations taking place in the economy, the technology and the internationalization of commerce. The transition from the small independent store to the department stores, from the traditional grocery store to the supermarkets, from commercial streets to malls. Onsite stores managed to remain relevant working as a channel between producers and consumers. With sales staff or self-service, free entry or face control. By accepting cash and on credit, credit card and interest-free installments, debit or prepaid cards, P2P payments, online banking or digital wallets, or even cryptocurrencies. In the last decade, as technology is evolving, an important development of e-commerce has been observed, where internet giants such as Amazon, eBay and Alibaba seem to have been gaining the largest market share. The European Union is trying to move businesses towards the adoption of a digital strategy, creating that way an existential search to the physical store. However, at the same time, Amazon enters the real market with the launch of “Amazon Go”, the first onsite supermarket, which will operate without employees, equiped with hundreds of cameras and sensors, where the whole shopping process will be based on the famous digital application of Amazon, that runs on “smart” mobie devices. At the same time, important changes are taking place in the fashion industry. Traditional mirrors are replaced by digital ones, models by holograms, and by using technology of augmented reality, real environment and real images are enriched with virtual representations and information.

In this context, speakers will contribute through interventions to the understanding of this new “shopping” environment that each business is required to implement, in order  to secure an actual purchase through the shopping experience. 


Jonathan Chippindale, Chief Executive, HOLITION

Κωνσταντίνος Κουκοράβας, CEO & Founder Intelistyle & Μιχαήλ Μιχελής, COO & Co-founder Intelistyle

Κώστας Στεφανίδης, Καθηγητής στο Τμήμα Επιστήμης Υπολογιστών του Πανεπιστημίου Κρήτης, Ιδρυτής και Επικεφαλής του Εργαστηρίου Αλληλεπίδρασης Ανθρώπου-Υπολογιστή ΙΤΕ

Keynote Speech

Dan O' Connor, Executive in Residence, Harvard Business School


05 Retail and Sustainable Development

Speakers will seek through their interventions to show how important it is for businesses in the commerce sector to serve UN's 12th Goal for sustainable development, calling for “Responsible Consumption and Production”.

The importance of corporate responsibility and sustainable development is constantly increasing. Retailers are nowadays paying particular attention to packaging, energy efficiency and circular economy. Nevertheess, there are some voices who believe that sustainable development is overburdening the operational cost of businesses, amidst an unfriendly economic environment, and are demanding substantial state intervention. In particular, according to the current legislation, those who merchandise packaged products into the Greek market, are required to ensure that their packages are collected and recycled.

In this framework, it is particularly important to show how businesses can contribute responsibly and effectively to the goal of sustainable production and consumption across the supply chain. While at the same time pointing out the need for initiatives to manage natural resources and to substantially reduce waste through prevention, reduction, recycling and re-use.



Κωνσταντίνος Αστρίδης, Founder Recycglobe

Ευριπίδης Δήμου, Διευθυντής, Τμήμα Διαχείρισης Συμβάσεων, Ελληνική Εταιρεία Αξιοποίησης Ανακύκλωσης

Γιώργος Μελισσαρόπουλος, Project Manager, Fabric Republic

Διονύσης Μπουντουβάς, Διευθύνων Σύμβουλος, Combatt 

Γιάννης Σιδέρης, Διευθύνων Σύμβουλος, Ελληνικός Οργανισμός, Ανακύκλωσης (ΕΟΑΝ)

06 Innovative Strategies 

Speakers are expected through their interventions to highlight on the one hand the multilevel role of innovation in business development and on the other hand the way its adoption will help avoid the disastrous consequences of “creative disaster”.

The interaction between the academic and research sector with entrepreneurship is without doubt necessary, as well as the further establishment of research and development laboratories within companies, accompanied by highly qualified human capital. Otherwise, a potential communication gap can lead to serious difficulties in the process of knowledge acquisition by companies.

The development of strategic corporate governance and innovation is a necessary condition in order to address the challenges of the modern business and financial environment. The process of designing and implementing the appropriate strategy, of managing the strategy of change, of linking innovation and competitiveness as well as of supporting knowledge and learning, accelerate the development of a modern competitive advantage for retail businesses. The adoption of innovative strategies by retail businesses will contribute in responding to the challenges of the changing business environment.



Λέων Γαβαλάς, General Manager Bespot Private Company

Λουκάς Γαργαλάκος,  Commercial Director, INTALE 

Γεώργιος Δουκίδης, Καθηγητής, Τμήμα Διοικητικής Επιστήμης και Τεχνολογίας, ΟΠΑ

Δημήτρης Οικονόμου, Αναπληρωτής Γενικός Διευθυντής, Επικεφαλής της Γενικής Διεύθυνσης Small Business Segment στη Eurobank

Δημήτρης Συρίγος, ΣΟΛ Crowe, Διευθυντής, Υπηρεσίες Business Monitoring

07 The commerce in City Centers 


The purpose of the thematic section is to explore ways and best practices to revitalize the centers of the cities via the reinforcement of retail commerce and the support of Open Commercial Centers.

Commerce constitutes one of the most important sectors of Europe, in terms of the number of businesses operating and the number of people employed. There are approximately 5.5 million active businesses in the retail and wholesale sector, which represent approximately 23% of the non-financial sector within the European Union economy. The European Commission believes that retail commerce can play a key role in maintaining and enhancing the vitality of the European urban centers. In fact, during the recent years, due to the increasing trend of consumers, who are returning to the city center markets, the European Commission has been promoting the debate and the exchange of good practices among Member States in order to revitalize city centers through the strengthening of the retail sector. By observing the evolution of retail over the years, and the transition of shopping from the city centers to closed-type malls located usually in the suburbs and outlet villages, it becomes evident that this change is mainly working on the advantage of large retail chains. The launch of the "Open Commercial Centers" is expected to enhance the image of cities and to boost local markets, since it will also include a series of actions, such as road marking, joint commercial actions, development of commercial actions for business and/ or product promotion, enhancement of public spaces, secure disabled access, organization and planning of activities for children, promotional activities and cultural events. "Open Commercial Centers" aim at promoting retail in city centers by offering a new shopping experience to consumers, new opportunities and potential for synergies through innovation to business owners. In particular, businesses could expand their customer base and develop further their activity while creating multiple benefits for local communities.

In this framework, the speakers will seek to highlight ways and best practices of cooperation of different actors, aiming to revitalize city centers and make the "Open Commercial Centers" work more efficiently.



Leena Whittaker, Legal Officer, DG Grow, European Commission

Γιώργος Ιωακειμίδης, Δήμαρχος Νίκαιας - Αγ. Ι. Ρέντη

Δημήτρης Παπαστεργίου, Πρόεδρος ΚΕΔΕ, Δήμαρχος Τρικκαίων

08 New Trends in Payment Methods 

The purpose of this section is to explore the new trends that have developed in the field of payments.

Changes in technology are also reflected in the way transactions are conducted. The fact that consumers became familiar with the new forms of payment in combination with the recent economic developments (capital controls) accelerated the use of plastic money and digital payments in general. However, the evolution of technology contributes to the constant development of new trends in payments. Recently, one of the largest supermarket chains, Sainsbury's, chose to launch in one of its London stores a new "cashierless" operating model. Before that there was the example of Amazon and its physical Amazon Go store, which did not include cash registries in order to reduce the operating costs. The 'tap to go' experience, where the consumer simply scans the products he or she chooses and pays automatically via an application in one of the 'smart' mobile devices, leads to new data. This is also reflected in the strategy followed by the Greek banks during the recent years, which have been constantly updating the payment instruments they provide to their customers, on the basis of contactless transactions. At the same time, blockchain technology presents new challenges.

In this framework, speakers are expected to shed light in the new trends in payments and to illustrate the profile of Greeks who choose digital payment methods.


Κωνσταντίνος Καλογεράκης, Chief Innovation Officer, Crowdpolicy

Γιώργος Κορφιάτης, Τράπεζα της Ελλάδος

Λάζαρος Φελούς, Founder Retailabs,Οικονομολόγος

09 The Future of Work in Retail Sector

The speakers will seek through their interventions to highlight the contradictions, obstacles, and challenges that the modern technological transformations will create for labor organization, labor relations and old and new professions.

Rapid technological transformations can undoubtedly pose a threat to employment. Nevertheless, this concern does not characterize exclusively our time since it has preoccupied economic science since the industrial revolution. John Maynard Keynes referred to the concept of “technological unemployment”, in other words the loss of job positions due to the evolution of technology (Keynes 1930), but also pointing out to the future adaptation to technological innovations. On the one hand, there may be a decline in the number of workers who have had jobs but on the other hand there is a demand for new jobs resulting from technological progress. These transformations in commerce also entail radical changes in the structure of the labor relations in the whole sector. There are new qualifications and high skills requirements that are now considered essential. At the same time, the adoption of digital practices is putting pressure on traditional jobs in the commerce sector, while flexible forms of labor are gaining ground. Already in 2019, employment in the sector has not been able to keep up with the growth of jobs across the economy, a fact that raises questions about the future developments in commerce.



Χαρης Δασκαλάκης, Executive BCA College

Νίκος Θεοχαράκης, Καθηγητής Πολιτικής Οικονομίας, ΕΚΠΑ

Κώστας Παπαδάκης, Senior Social Dialogue and Governance Specialist, ILO 

In conversation: Jeremias Adams- Prassl, Professor of Law, University of Oxford

Keynote Speech


Jonathan Reynolds, Director, Oxford Institute of Retail Management, Said Business School, University of Oxford, UK


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