EAEU and China want to digitalise their rail freight movements

The Eurasian Economic Union’s (EAEU) Member States and China signed a roadmap to speed up the digitalisation of rail freight between them. This simply means that after implementation, digitalisation could significantly boost rail freight services between China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Belarus and Armenia.

The roadmap was signed during a meeting between the trade minister of the Eurasian Economic Commission, and the assistant minister of commerce of the People’s Republic of China. The roadmap consists of three sections.

According to the trade minister of the Eurasian Economic Commission, Section I is the most important since it concerns the gradual transition to electronic document exchange in rail transport – a measure that will “simplify trade procedures and speed up cargo transportation between involved countries”.

Intention there already
An agreement on trade and economic cooperation between the EAEU and China has existed since 2018. The countries involved have been working towards building seamless connectivity between them. However, currently, the conditions seem to benefit the project’s development.

For example, by the end of 2022, a leading IT company in Kazakhstan in railway logistics, which covers 95 percent of all railway transportation in Kazakhstan while it has completed integration with RZD. Additionally, it is very close to doing the same with China while other countries, including Kyrgyzstan, participated in the process. This means that the needed infrastructure to reach advanced digitalisation and use solely electronic documents is there, at least in some of the EAEU countries.

Increased activity and interaction
Lately, the EAEU is becoming all the more relevant concerning transport and trade in Central Asia and further. For instance, most of its members are or will get involved in the International North-South Transport Corridor (INSTC). At the same time, the Union actively advocates the corridor’s development and invests in new projects.

The latest example is the Eurasian Agroexpress rail logistics project that the EAEU aims to expand outside its borders and include Iran, the United Arab Emirates, India, and Turkmenistan. Eurasian Economic Commission has commented that the project has a special significance since it boosted trade between the EAEU Member States and China and exceeded 200 billion dollars in turnover by the end of 2022.”

China drops in
China and Russia have been working closely in the Silk Road context and outside of it. Especially in 2022, after the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Russian-Chinese trade by rail increased while volumes between China and Europe dropped significantly. At the same time, Russia has been attempting to shift the transport power balance established before 2022 by absorbing the bulk of Chinese volumes while also exploring new markets and corridors like the INSTC.

The fact that Russia is currently attempting to dominate Central Asian rail freight and open up to large markets like India since the EU is not an option anymore has resulted in increased transport activity in the region. China has been a traditional partner of some countries in the region and with most EAEU Member States. As a result, it comes as no surprise that it strives to facilitate rail freight transport in the region through digitalisation because it is aware of the economic and geostrategic benefits it will have.

Source: RailFreight

5. Social and mobile commerce are two of the biggest digital trends in the retail industry — and they’re booming.
From selling on Instagram to launching an online store, retailers are experimenting with multiple ways of meeting the evolving needs of customers. This new omnichannel landscape is thrilling, with 91% of retailers surveyed now selling on social media.

Whether it’s through a fully shoppable store or flash sales, social and mobile selling are made possible by eCommerce tools, helping retailers reach more customers at a time when people may be even more glued to their devices. And it’s working, with 79% of consumers making purchases directly from their mobile devices.

Mobile payments are up 117% this year, driven in part by growth in online and social media channels. As customers continue to expect their favorite businesses to show up on social media, it’s on those businesses to meet them where they are.

#6. Experiential retail experiences are rapidly evolving.
2023 is shaping up to see the return of the experience. After two years of varying restrictions due to COVID-19, consumers are eager to enjoy the brands they love again — in a new, tangible way. While virtual and digital experiences still matter, the in-store experience is returning to prominence and 94% of retailers are focused on enhancing it for their business overall.

Prioritizing modern ways of shopping, like mobile checkout, VR/AR, or QR codes, are a top focus, with 70% of retailers reporting it as their goal. Mobile checkout options and QR codes, for instance, can often create a seamless experience for customers that helps increase engagement and overall satisfaction.

“Businesses that offer quick checkout methods see more sales, more repeat buyers, and lower abandoned cart rates,” says Kharazian. Quick mobile checkout methods that incorporate options such as buy now, pay later (BNPL) can also make all the difference for customers by giving them the flexibility they need.

#7. The borders between retail and other industries continue to blur.
Businesses are continuing to look for new ways to reach customers and stand out against the competition, and there’s one method that’s just not going away: multi-hyphenate stores. These mixed-use concepts often involve restaurants selling branded merchandise and retailers offering digital services like subscriptions, and they’re becoming increasingly normal.

Nearly three in five consumers have purchased retail items at a local restaurant in the past year, and, on average, 21% of restaurants’ revenue is currently coming from products and services outside of their core restaurant offerings.

For today’s businesses, diversifying their offerings is a key way of driving revenue and growing their brand. In an uncertain economy and an increasingly competitive business environment, businesses are realizing the importance of multiple revenue streams and need easy-to-use tools to help manage their growing offerings.

#8. Flexible payment options are becoming increasingly important to younger consumers — especially Gen Z.
Buy now, pay later (BNPL) options are improving the shopping experience, and customers — especially younger customers — are looking for them.

While 33% of retailers are currently offering BNPL options, according to our 2023 Future of Retail report, 41% of Gen Z retailers plan to add BNPL to their payment options to enhance their in-store experience. The data noticeably drops off for other generations, but for stores that are searching for ways to bring in a new generation of customers, BNPL options may be worth it.

Gen Zs and Millennials have experienced multiple recessions, which have changed the way they navigate the world when it comes to saving and spending. Due to these macroeconomic impacts, younger generations are increasingly credit averse, preferring to pay over time with BNPL. As BNPL adoption goes mainstream, retailers will need to meet this Gen Z and Millennial demand for payment optionality — enabling them to truly shop omnichannel.

Retailers are tapping into the qualities that make them unique, reworking them, and using them to their advantage as consumer needs evolve. The future of retail in 2023 lies in the overall experience.

To incorporate these retail industry trends into your business, consider digitizing your operations and then trying out new ways of selling. When you find what fits, you can give customers exactly what they need while giving them the room to try new things. And when you get to that space where you can pull the levers that work for your store, your future is wide open.

FAQs on the top retail trends

What are the biggest challenges facing retailers in 2023?
According to our 2023 Future of Retail data, the higher cost of goods due to inflation is the biggest challenge for retailers, with 47% expecting it to be their main issue over the next 12 months. In terms of other retail challenges, 36% of retailers are concerned about the economic recession and 35% are concerned about continued supply chain delays.

What are the latest trends in retail marketing?
When it comes to retail marketing, retailers are searching for new ways to improve, especially as it relates to reaching Gen Z with their marketing efforts. In fact, 43% are planning to use a different approach to reach this generation entirely.

When asked what improvements were needed to compete in today’s retail marketplace, reaching and engaging customers through a marketing program ranked in the top three responses, with 37% saying it’s needed.

NEOLink cooperated with our order processing system. He did not replace it or force solutions. Logfret did it better than other companies on the market – it adapted its system to ours. Logfret didn’t come to us saying, “We have this solution, and you either use it or we won’t cooperate.

Procurement Director

Pumps Manufacturer

We made a huge improvement in global visibility with a global platform—anyone can log into NEOLink and look at a shipment anytime, anywhere in the world. We wanted a freight forwarder with a good technology platform, which could handle the complexities of our business and we found NEOLink!

A global leader in performance materials and specialty chemicals

My suppliers have less or zero experience with international logistics. Thus, not able to create proper documentation which leads to tremendous delay. Thanks to Logfret who provide training to all suppliers and work with us to build up a consolidation hub to reduce transportation costs significantly.

One of the world’s leading designers, manufacturers and distributors of ride control products