German retail industry voices
compiled by Julia Pott (exclusively for EuroShop.mag)
Does the future of retail have a small or large footprint, is it digital or analog? 2020 has raised many questions, highlighted unique challenges, and accelerated some developments. How will the sector change in 2021?
We asked industry expects, including retailers, manufacturers, associations, and scientists. What trends do these insiders expect and what will be essential in the coming year? Here are their answers to our questions.
We will see an even stronger merger of sales channels in 2021: Apart from innovative services such as Scan & Go, Thalia Mayersche will emphasize a simple, yet optimized omnichannel customer journey as it pertains to our in-store pickup, for example. This means we focus on translating the features and advantages of brick-and-mortar retail into our online store and expanding our bookstores with additional digital services.
Daniel Prüser, OmniChannel Services Expert, Thalia Mayersche
The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the world’s digitization. This trend will continue to influence the retail sector in 2021. We need creative solutions that successfully connect brick-and-mortar and online shopping. Examples include online stores of local retailers or social media driven shopping events.
Stefan Genth, Chief Executive Officer, HDE
Food retailers are tasked with setting the right atmosphere, making customers feels comfortable and enhancing the shopping experience. This involves everything that complements an integrated overall in-store concept (including lighting, wood decorations, scent, acoustics, etc.). Multipurpose cold storage systems or plug-in refrigeration solutions allow store operators flexibility in visual merchandising.
Bernhard Bötscher, Product Management, HAUSER GmbH
We will continue to see a rise of the platform economy. Our ‘Sourcing Platform’ offers our customers simple, quick, and comprehensive procurement solutions. Apart from digitization, we focus primarily on a personal customer relationship and personalized customer service.
Ralf Bühler, CSO B2B, Conrad Electronic
COVID-19 is detrimental to brick-and-mortar non-food retailers. That is why 2021 will mainly focus on the industry’s biggest challenge: Surviving the current crisis. The German Retail Federation (Handelverband Deutschland – HDE) predicts that 50,000 businesses will close by 2021, which means more retail vacancies in city centers. Retailers, restaurants, or offices will likely not fill this vacuum. Structurally lagging cities center will only have a stake in the future if they manage to transform into beautiful settings with a higher quality of living.
Prof. Dr. Gerrit Heinemann, Director of the eWeb Research Center, University of Applied Sciences Niederrhein
I expect the final departure from ‘sustainability as a marketing activity’, to a deep and serious sustainable process and execution. The exercise is no longer valid to only gain efficiencies and cost reductions for their own brands. Brick & mortar retail as well as e-commerce must contribute beyond their own corporate environments and be capable to be part of the community.
Pablo Rodriguez, Chief Creative Officer, 10CC GmbH
In challenging times, it is key to offer customers in city centers reliable and dependable service. Many want a one-stop shop for all their basic needs. Our 450 store locations nationwide offer a wide range of products and services and an attractive price-performance ratio to meet and exceed customer expectations.
Lennart Wehrmeier, Managing Director Expansion, Woolworth GmbH
COVID-19 drives a surge in online shopping. Brick-and-mortar retailers must generate innovative ideas in 2021 to compete and survive. Concepts such as self-service terminals, shop-in-shop solutions, and self-checkout systems are just some ways to offer customers more payment options and facilitate a unique shopping experience.
Thomas Rausch, Sales Director, GLORY Germany
2021 will see many innovative online marketing strategies. The COVID-19 pandemic forced many retailers to jumpstart their online business, giving rise to extreme market density. 2021 will sort the good from the bad: Businesses that find creative ways to attract customers and drive innovation will survive in this competitive market.
Florian Lange, Trade Logistics Manager, Bitkom e. V.
The new year will be all about giving customers many options: It will be a critical priority for retailers to respond swiftly to government requirements and changes in consumer behavior. Examples include services such as click and collect, or self-service solutions that help speed up the checkout process and promote social distancing.
Christoph von Lingen, Country Sales Leader for Retail Solutions, Toshiba Germany
2021 will be the year of interactive displays that promote POS communication. These will answer consumer questions, help retailers to build stronger relationships with customers and enhance the brand image. The shopping experience will continue to be a big trend, which starts with your smartphone but continues in the comfort of your home.
Matthias Hofmann, Area Sales Manager DACH, Scala