This is why the series of workshops will focus on answering the following questions: In quantitative terms and at product level, how big is the potential shift from stationary to online business? Taking account of the demographic developments as well, what does this mean for individual regions in terms of consumers’ affinities to online shopping and for regional retail structures?

Solutions are needed, for instance to ensure that we:

  • Discuss the future of rural areas in the digital age, develop ideas as to how we can strengthen rural areas in their role as centres for commerce and trade, and put in place the relevant technical infrastructure needed for this to happen
  • Focus on security of supply, i.e. develop strategies and alternative supply systems such as neighbourhood initiatives for rural areas, mobile trading concepts, and decentralisation, and find ways of making the necessary adjustments for the digital age
  • Develop strategies for the future of retailing in rural areas, i.e. by encouraging grocery shops to start offering non-food items and services.