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Future Retail: Online event looks into the future of retail and gives valuable impulses for onsite and online business

11 Jul 2022

What does the future look like for retail and what challenges do we face in order to keep delighting customers - onsite and online? As part of the online event series for the international consumer goods fairs Ambiente, Christmasworld and Creativeworld, Messe Frankfurt invited four renowned experts to answer these and other questions at the Future Retail online event. The great interest in this online event confirms that numerous retailers are looking for new impulses: over 300 people from 40 countries registered and were able to take away valuable ideas, look into the future, and learn about exciting study results.

Marilyn Repp (right) from the German Retail Association and Julia Uherek, Vice President Consumer Goods Fairs, at the opening of the Future Retail online event.
Marilyn Repp (right) from the German Retail Association and Julia Uherek, Vice President Consumer Goods Fairs, at the opening of the Future Retail online event.

Accompanied by the moderation of Marilyn Repp from the German Retail Association (Handelsverband Deutschland e.V. - HDE), the two hours of the Future Retail online event were packed with new business impulses at first hand. The participants now have a real knowledge advantage when it comes to current topics such as metaverse or the application of omnichannel. Surveys and studies also provided answers to what customers really expect today. The fact that this also involves recycling, sustainability and transparency in product information was brought to the fore with the help of striking examples.

Germany's top expert and keynote speaker of the afternoon, Stefan Genth, Chief Executive of the German Retail Association (Handelsverband Deutschland e.V. - HDE), used the latest data and surveys to show the current situation and development of the retail sector in Germany. Here, the factors of price increases, inflation, the Ukraine war, the disruption of supply chains, and the energy crisis have the greatest influence on consumer behaviour. "This brings together several factors that are causing consumer sentiment to drop drastically and with it the mood for consumption - especially in specialist shops and for non-food items," says Genth. Genth's recommendation is to counteract this by specifically strengthening the city centres and consistently expanding online trade and digitalisation. "We have to put the customers in the centre and see their needs and wishes as the top priority. A big wish is the linking of analogue retail shops and online platforms - that is the future of retail," Genth concluded.

His thesis was supported by the presentation Omnichannel is "the new normal": Insights from the Google Omnichannel Excellence Study 2022 by Judith Büchl, Google Germany GmbH. She presented the current Google study Omnichannel Excellence 2022, which provides essential insights into how important it is to link onsite and online. Study partners are the HDE and Pattern. For the first time, the study sheds light on the so-called "expectation gap", whereby both retailers and customers were surveyed. Among the revealing results are that the degree of trust in the retailer is particularly important, but that the aspect of sustainability is also increasingly in demand. "We asked both groups how flexible, consistent, informative, convenient and personalised shopping should be from the customer's perspective and what the reality of this looks like in retail. Important, but quite simple mechanisms are, for example, Click&Collect, a good information service and the realisation that often the shopping journey starts digitally. This is where brick-and-mortar retail must offer added value so that the journey ideally ends in the shop," says Büchl.

The attractiveness of stationary trade was also the focus of Stefan Nilsson's lecture "Better and more sustainable shopping - sustainability megatrend and its impact on retail". In his lecture, the trend expert and journalist not only focused on the experience factor in the retail shop, he was also concerned with how to strengthen sustainability even more. Because his starting point is that the consumption behaviour of consumers will decrease - and this is underpinned by the latest studies, for example by McKinsey. "Don't resign, but act! What can we change here concretely, where do we pick up our customers now?", asks Nilsson. His clear answer: in the area of sustainability. "Resale, Restore, Remake, Repair or Rent, that's what's needed today. Be creative and complement your assortment by offering items or services for repair," is Nilsson's call for a forward-looking concept in stationary retail.

Stefan Wenzel, Board Advisor, goes one step further in his presentation "Hype or Future? Metaverse & Web3 for Retail & Brands" and opens up completely new digital worlds of retail to the audience. In the metaverse, augmented reality technologies merge real and virtual reality. This opens up countless possibilities for the digital space and thus also for new business potential in retail. "Web3 is the future, the parallelism of reading, writing and owning in digital worlds. In the metaverse, there are already digital product twins that can be purchased. Here, real artists earn money with avatars that give concerts. Hundreds of billions of US dollars are generated in the gaming sector. This is highly interesting for the trade in the future and should already be kept in mind now," says Wenzel.

The presentations were broadcast and recorded in German and English. They are available at: free of charge at any time.

The next online events will take place on 31 August 2022 on Sustainability meets Design and on 12 October 2022 on the latest developments in the HoReCa sector. Further information will follow shortly.

The topics of the online events are of equal interest to retailers at Ambiente, Christmasworld and Creativeworld and will be given their own platform at the trade fairs from 3 to 7 February 2023: the Conzoom Solutions Academy. Here, experts will speak daily on a separate stage about the latest trends and developments in the retail sector and provide further impetus for onsite and online business.

From February 2023, the leading international consumer goods fairs Ambiente, Christmasworld and Creativeworld will be held simultaneously at the Frankfurt exhibition centre.

Ambiente/Christmasworld: 3 to 7 February 2023
Creativeworld: 4 to 7 February 2023

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Ina Gerbig

Press Officer

Ina Gerbig

Information on Ambiente

New perspectives open up undiscovered opportunities: As the leading international consumer goods trade fair, Ambiente maps the changes in the market with an eye to the future. For five days, it presents a unique mix of ideas and products - and is the platform for global trends. For Table, Kitchen and Housewares, the fair is the unrivalled No. 1 in the Dining segment. In Living, all styles and market segments can be experienced around the home, furnishing and decorating. Giving presents gifts and personal accessories in all facets and will in future offer high-quality stationery as well as articles relating to school supplies. The new Working section fleshes out the working worlds of tomorrow. With its future-oriented HoReCa and Contract Business segments, Ambiente also has a strong focus on the international contract business. The major themes of sustainability, new work, design, lifestyle, digital expansion of trade, and future retail accompany the event, as do a large number of industry events, young talent programs, trend presentations and awards ceremonies. Due to its unrivaled product range in terms of breadth and depth, it is unique worldwide and offers the best connections for making contacts and finding new business partners.

Information on Christmasworld

Christmasworld focuses on the strongest-selling and most emotional time of the year and exploits the success factor of experience at the point of sale like no other consumer-goods trade fair. This makes it the world's most important ordering event for the international decorations and festive decorations sector. Every year in Frankfurt, it presents the latest products and trends for Christmas and all other festive occasions. In addition, it provides innovative concept ideas for the decoration of large and outdoor areas for wholesalers and retailers, shopping centres and city centres. Christmasworld offers the entire range of decorative and festive articles - from hand-blown Christmas tree baubles, ribbons and packaging to large-scale light displays for shopping centres and city centres.

Information on Creativeworld

Creativeworld is the world’s leading trade fair for the international hobby, handicrafts and artists’ requisites sector. At Creativeworld, exhibitors show their latest products, techniques and materials for decorative crafts, graphic and artists’ requisites, handicrafts, textile design, graffiti, street art and creative hobbies. And, as a trend and business platform, the trade fair is the first important venue of the business year. Creativeworld is the ideal order platform for the wholesale, retail and specialist trades, DIY markets, garden centres, the internet and mailorder trades. With its multi-faceted complementary programme of events, Creativeworld is a source of new ideas, inspiration and expert knowledge.

Home of Consumer Goods - the new one-stop store for the global order season

Under the motto "Home of Consumer Goods", Ambiente, Christmasworld and Creativeworld will be held simultaneously for the first time at one of the world's most modern trade fair centers from February 3-4 to 7, 2023. The newly created combination of three successful leading trade fairs at one location at one time thus combines their strengths and thus offers an unprecedented, simultaneously available, future-oriented product range in quality and quantity. Global business with large volumes is intensified. Messe Frankfurt will continue to offer the largest platform for global sourcing outside China. Frankfurt is thus the center of the global order season, strengthening synergy effects and efficiency for all participants, and is thus the one, comprehensive inspiration, order and networking event for a globalized industry. This is where the newest trends are presented and the global metatrends are experienced and made visible.

Nextrade - the order and data platform for the home & living industry

The digital order and data management system Nextrade for brands and retailers in the consumer goods industry extends the trade fair and enables orders to be placed at any time of day or night, 365 days a year.

Conzoom Solutions - the platform for retailers

Conzoom Solutions is a knowledge platform that offers the consumer goods industry a wide range of studies, trend presentations, workshops and guidelines for the point of revenue. It provides a complete overview of Messe Frankfurt's international portfolio in the consumer goods sector – bundling a wide range of information for retailers.

Background information on Messe Frankfurt

The Messe Frankfurt Group is one of the world’s leading trade fair, congress and event organisers with their own exhibition grounds. With a workforce of 2,200 people at its headquarters in Frankfurt am Main and in 28 subsidiaries, it organises events around the world. As in the previous year, annual sales for 2021 were significantly lower owing to the COVID-19 pandemic: approximately €154 million compared with Group sales as high as €736 million in pre-pandemic 2019. We serve our customers’ business interests efficiently within the framework of our Fairs & Events, Locations and Services business fields. Sustainable business practices are a central pillar in our corporate strategy and strike a healthy balance between ecological and economic interests, social responsibility and diversity. Another of Messe Frankfurt’s strengths is its powerful and closely knit global sales network, which covers around 180 countries in all regions of the world. Our comprehensive range of services – both onsite and online – ensures that customers worldwide enjoy consistently high quality and flexibility when planning, organising and running their events. We are using our digital expertise to develop new business models. The wide range of services includes renting exhibition grounds, trade fair construction and marketing, personnel and food services.

With its headquarters in Frankfurt am Main, the company is owned by the City of Frankfurt (60 percent) and the State of Hesse (40 percent).

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