It’s early in Cologne, Germany, and once more, we are taking the 9:31 a.m. train to Düsseldorf for the 4th day of EuroShop, which runs from March 5 to 9. EuroShop is one of the world’s most important retail fairs, bringing together dozens of exhibitors to show innovations in the areas of design, architecture, lighting and technology production, among others. Now on the last day of the event, we have a general idea of everything we saw at the fair, both in terms of presentations and stands.
What stood out most from this experience is that we noticed a transformation in Brands’ relationships with people. They all seek a real relationship, aiming at relevance and engagement, in hopes of one day earning the prize of a loyal consumer.
To achieve this difficult goal, only companies with lower risk aversion have been able to benefit from the first few moments of this new age, and have become examples that have been talked about repeatedly on the stages and in the aisles of EuroShop. We saw examples of retail Brand managers, research institutes, knowledge on consumption and trends, all presenting examples of companies that go beyond their core business to go after the much sought-after relevance.
As an example, here are the stories of two bicycle manufacturers. The first, with its super premium products, opened its own store to sell its bicycles and created an enriching experience at the event with a large screen where consumers could customize each part of the bike, including its paint.
The second was a London-based online retailer of products for cyclists; it also set up its own environment, but focusing only on a good coffee, and not on the sale of products. The strategy behind opening a café for cyclists was not to focus on its primary source of income, but rather on a space directed towards the formation of a community of cyclists, who could get together in the space to share experiences on the thing they have in common: the rides they’ve done and the next ones they’ll do.
On one hand, we can’t say whether one strategy is better than the other. On the other, we know that young adults think differently and the Brands who have noticed this are reinventing themselves, creating new services and thinking outside of their core business.
In this context, one may ask: what other service can your Brand offer to become more relevant and engaging for your consumers?[:]