We are under great pressure of adopting and embedding digital processes, the pace of innovation being extraordinary, while performance metrics begin to include customer-satisfaction scores as a result of new or improved digital offerings and user experiences. It is our duty to reconfirm that only the passion, the competence and the perseverance of Professor Virgil Popa made it possible to build a real brand such as Supply Chain Management (SCM) for Efficient Consumer Response (ECR) Conference. The theme of this year’s SCM 4 ECR Conference (organized at the International Conference Center of Valahia University of Tȃrgovişte on October 30, 2015) was: “The New Challenges of Digital World: Consumer Engagement in SUPPLY CHAIN MANAGEMENT for Efficient Consumer Response”.
Allow us to remember within this special context that the Italian architect Carlo Ratti (also a Professor at the well-known Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Boston, being Director of the MIT’s Senseable City Lab) has worked together with the supermarket chain “COOP Italia” (Italy’s largest supermarket chain, which follows the natural production chains in organizing the store’s main sections; a research commissioned by Coop Italia and Sita identified 6 eating habits which mean six different ways of shopping) by bringing to EXPO Milano 2015 the so-called “Future Food District”, a supermarket functioning within a pavilion (the “Vertical Plotter”, considered the largest plotter in the world) where EXPO visitors can purchase items while having different options such as: checking out infographics aggregating the supermarket’s data on a large wall; downloading an app (which was developed by Accenture for Coop and CoopExpo, and increases visitor awareness inside this supermarket) and typing in their preferred diet etc. Their common target was to see whether introducing processed and reinterpreted digital information (about browsing and purchasing thanks to a computerized system including the arranged at the center of one stand robotic arms which are performing acrobatics as they move apples and cups into different places) into such a food store would affect the way that consumers interact with and select food, while also providing their feedback thanks to this new forms of interaction (which are facilitated by COOP Italia’s decision to substitute the usual supermarket shelves with low and long wooden tables, looking friendlier and explaining to the customers where the products were grown, for example) with food within this unique more informative, engaging and surprising shopping experience via flat screens, displays and interactive tables. It is already known that the above mentioned “Vertical Plotter” (this version designed for EXPO Milano 2015), is a device (that moves on a vertical wall and allowing the reproduction of messages, images, and graphics, converting in reality the received digital information) drawing on the facade Expo visitors faces of the supermarket, this way each EXPO visitor becoming part of an architectural process.