Once every three years, industry leaders from around the globe gather in Dusseldorf, Germany for the EuroShop Retail Trade Fair to showcase and admire the latest trends and products within the retail industry.
Derek Patrick, TDC&Co Founder and CEO recently returned from the retail mecca, which showcased everything from lighting, store fixtures, materials to store mannequins.
“Coming back from there, we’ve had a little time to think about things and do a little soul searching as to what were the takeouts that we had from that show and I think for me, there were five highlights.”
5 Highlights from EuroShop 2017
1. Do more with less
The first highlight for Derek was the emphasis on ‘responsible retailing’ and as designers, thinking about the environmental impact of certain activities and actions. This can be achieved through use of more natural, recycled and upcycled materials.
“People are becoming more responsible, not only in retail, but in their life spaces and we need to emphasise this in the work that we do,” he explained.
Derek emphasised that this should not be done in a “clichéd manner” where designers try to look like they are doing the right thing, but are more just “greenwashing” their products and designs.
“This is about actually being responsible and being authentic to the work that we do,” he said.
2. Softer, more meaningful visual merchandising
Many visual merchandising displays or ‘VM’ last for a very short time in a display area before they are thrown away. At EuroShop, there was a focus on doing away with this trend and instead opting for more permanent designs.
“People do massive window displays that are there to beautify an object on display, it then gets disposed of thereafter,” Derek said.
“What we are seeing take place, and EuroShop is a good platform for it, [is the] the development of lasting VM product, rather than having disposable VM product.”
EuroShop also introduced the idea of installations becoming more about artwork, rather than a short-term goal to sell products.
“It’s more about creating something of a lasting memory than just a hanger to put a piece of product on.”
3. A meaningful customer journey
We all know that a meaningful customer journey is the number one priority when ensuring customer loyalty and customer satisfaction. A highlight from EuroShop for Derek was understanding the ‘authenticity’ that needs to be presented behind the customer journey.
“It’s all about being true to being customer-centric and not being operational-centric.”
Derek emphasised the fact that there should be no ‘pretending’ to service our customers’ needs. “If we don’t have a meaningful customer journey in the display of the work we do, we’re actually failing to present ourselves correctly.”
A large part of EuroShop was focused on technology and its influence. Derek believes the pendulum is swinging to more of a middle playing ground between non-digital and non-technology, and a complete focus on digital and technology.
“There is a balance between the two,” he explained. “We see companies like Amazon who are going to brick and mortar, and we have traditional retailers like Walmart going to digital. There is a balance between the two of them and a large part of the show was centred around that.”
This shift to a more impactful ‘omnichannel’ business model is about bringing meaning and understanding to the customer and the retailer.
“It’s about digital shopping, it’s about knowledge gathering, it’s about a quicker point of purchase and about being able to enter and exit a retailer in a quicker timespan.”
Derek says technology is going to have a big influence on the work that retailers do and how their concept is presented.
How do we entice people into stores, not only in brick and mortar but in the virtual and digital space as well?
Storytelling is where retailers can bring a lot of the authenticity and the integrity back into retailing. Derek believes better storytelling is going to remind people of the heritage retailers founded.
“It’s creating excitement and intrigue within a retail concept,” he explained.
These five take-outs, Derek believes, are “key pieces” of what has come out of EuroShop 2017 and should become firm trends rather than fleeting trends in the future.
Derek Patrick is the Founder and CEO of TDC&Co. He started the company in 1994 which today boasts over 50 employees.
TDC&Co. have offices in both Cape Town and Johannesburg and work on a global platform for both local and international retailers.