EuroShop 2014, coined “the world’s largest retail trade fair,” is a chance to see the industry’s “What’s Next” and to discover the areas that global retail thought leaders have placed as priorities in the creation of state-of-the-art experiences. Held in Dusseldorf, Germany in February, more than 109,000 visitors from 110 nations attended the event to get an extensive overview of the latest industry developments. With the constant drum of “Internet and Ecommerce” in today’s world, EuroShop reinforced how the shift from brick-and-mortar to online is actually not a threat, but rather a partner for becoming consumer-centric. These omnichannel solutions help consumers understand the difference between what is experiential versus efficient, or what is worth going to versus merely convenient? Ultimately, this partnership reinforces that both modes work, and work best in concert together -- depending on where your head is at, related to the social vs. pragmatic aspects of shopping behavior. We thought the best way to approach “What’s Next” is to share a recap of what the more than 2,000 exhibitors revealed.
Not surprising, technology influences the aesthetics of EuroShop and its futuristic sensibility. Mannequins, who through the use of state-of-the-art robotics, have the ability to be “refaced.” Their identities can be changed through a series of faceplate options that are removed and replaced through a ballet of robotic arms is but one example that is not only technical in nature, but as well, indicative of the influence of technology in experience. The use of interactive screens for in-store ordering, customization, and to facilitate the brick-and-mortar space as a destination, becomes an environment that is not only about logistics supply (what it has to sell today), but as well, a portal to expanded offerings and personalized goods. Clear LCD screens that create a series of layers similar to what one would see within the scenes at the opera create a 3-D effect. And of course elements such as 3-D projections, the use of avatars, and various projection devices are all examples of where technology was at the forefront.
Because of the enhancement of photographic technology, 3-D printing and manufacturing techniques, the everyday pragmatic materials such as glass, porcelain, tile, concrete and acrylics can now take on a lifelike sensibility, but with operationally-friendly results. One of the best examples is the explosion of porcelain surfacing materials that appear to have realistic features wood, stone, and even precious materials such as lapis or onyx; doing so in a faux-to-real sensibility.
Kenneth Nisch, Chairman, JGA