I can only hope that all you (fashion) retailers and retail managers out there have been visiting Euroshop in Düsseldorf last week.
Not only to keep up to date with what’s the latest in store design and technology (and because this huge retail trade show happens only every three years), but also to regain something that seems to have gotten lost in the everyday struggles of the tough fashion business: the self-confidence when running a brick and mortar store.
We all know that selling fashion has not become easier during the last two decades and very often e-commerce is being blamed to have caused these troubles. Well, true indeed: the Amazons, Alibabas and Zalandos of this world have become a serious competitor to the good old retail world. But to separate the universe into the Good (= independent brick and mortar multi-brand retailers) on one side and the Bad and Ugly (= e-commerce giants) on the other side does not improve the situation.
Instead it would be better to focus on the advantages and strengths that stationary stores (still) have, so to check out at an event such as Euroshop: be it sound, scent, technological gadgets or mere shop design – whoever spent time at the various booths simply must get inspiration for a new approach and ideas how to stage his assortment, no matter if located on 100 sqm in the countryside or on 1,000 sqm in a big city mall, no matter if the budget is tiny or unlimited.
‘Creating a customer experience’ and ‘emotionalize the store’ are the highly claimed or even overused buzzwords, but they do have a meaning. Of course, apart from all product and service, it does make a difference what music or sound your customers have to listen to, what it smells like in your store, if the light is appealing and what the visual merchandise can do to promote your assortment. By the way, a nice surrounding will not only make your customers happy, it might also motivate your staff!
That doesn’t mean you have to follow EVERY trend that is promoted these days: some stores might have the clientele that appreciates technical equipment such as magic mirrors or digital screens to give access to the stock or additional information about a product, other stores might not. Some stores might have the logistic capacities to run an e-shop on top, others might not. You know best what your in-store shopper likes - and if not, you better find out about it asap. There is enough emotion to create and senses to be talked to - in person or via store design.
So far no e-commerce shop on earth can compete with the special characteristics of a real store - and vice versa. Don’t waste your time to whine about what others are better at. Instead, take advantage of the special means your business can offer. Don’t try to compete with something you are not and never will be: there is already one Amazon and one H&M, the world does not need one more.
Facts & Figures Euroshop*
- 2.368 exhibitors from 61 countries
- More than 113.000 visitors from 138 countries during its five-day durance (5-9 March 2017), 4% more than during the previous edition in 2014
- 18 halls with 127.000 sqm of net exhibition space
- Devided into the segments POP Marketing, Expo & Event Marketing, Retail Technology, Lighting, Visual Merchandising, Shop Fitting & Store Design and Food Tech & Energy Management
- 2016 saw the 50th anniversary of Euroshop
- The next edition of Euroshop runs 16-20 February 2020