In Interview with Elke Moebius, Director Euroshop

Elke Moebius

Euroshop is the world’s largest retail trade fair and a major regular highlight in the industry. This year, more than 1500 exhibitors from around the world will once again come together in Düsseldorf from February 26 to March 02 to tackle the topics that shape and define this industry. We sat down with Euroshop Director Elke Moebius to talk all things Euroshop 2023 – the key focus points, changes, trends & movements, and highlights to look out for this year.

1. EuroShop 2023 in 3 words:

Innovative – emotional – unique

2. What's new at EuroShop this year?

What is new is that EuroShop is focusing on eight “hot topics” that reflect the key trends in retail at the moment: First of all, there is Sustainability. Sustainability has become a highly significant strategic issue for the entire retail industry. Experience is the second hot topic, because with increasing digitization it is particularly important to create experiences in physical spaces that arouse enthusiasm and encourage people to stay and return.
The fusion of online and offline retail has gained another major boost from the Corona pandemic, Connected Retail. The seamless connection of digital and stationary channels will be essential for every retail company in the future. Closely related to this is Customer Centricity – many retail companies are seeking ever closer direct contact with end consumers in order to offer them personalized and individualized digital customer services. The customer’s smartphone plays a major role in this context. Smart Stores are gaining ground, i.e., automated store concepts in which the shopping process is largely digitized. Sensor technology and image recognition technologies play an important role here. EuroShop 2023 will also be an important driver in terms of Third Places. In other words, making the store a place where people feel comfortable, where they like to spend time, and where they don’t just come for the actual shopping. Energy Management is another indispensable hot topic. In view of developments on the energy market, precise control and monitoring of energy consumption in retail stores will increasingly become a critical success factor in the future. Last but not least, the topic of vibrant city centers is one of the hot topics at the upcoming EuroShop. In times of increasing digitization, making city centers attractive and lively is one of the most important societal responsibilities of the future.

The Special Areas at EuroShop once again offer a blaze of ideas. They include various special areas that offer free space for specialists, for “Generations X, Y & Z”, for start-ups, ideas, visions and innovative products. Of course, I am particularly excited about the three specials that will premiere in 2023: Future Urban Lab, Room4Senses and Retail Ball Game. These primarily provide food for thought for future retail scenarios and show what will influence retail in the future. The focus will be on changing perspectives, brainstorming, new concepts such as socio-retailing, the active involvement of trade visitors, and co-developing attractiveness factors and reasons for visiting the cities of tomorrow.

3. What role does sustainability play at EuroShop?

As already mentioned, sustainability is one of the hot topics at the upcoming EuroShop and is firmly anchored in all EuroShop dimensions. Here are just a few examples: Sustainable store furnishings, for example, not only contribute to climate protection, but also offer retailers plenty of material for storytelling: whether lampshades made from coffee grounds, checkout counters made from worn-out shredded jeans, or completely biodegradable display mannequins. Even at the planning stage, care is taken to use as little material as possible and to ensure the eventual reuse of the materials or furniture. The increasing use of fully biodegradable or recycled raw materials is just as much part of the catalog of measures as the focus on regional suppliers.
At EuroShop, dynamic lighting solutions will be presented, among other things, which can reduce energy costs by up to 50 percent and at the same time improve the customer experience. Making their debut in the retail marketing sector will be fiber-based materials, for example wood-based materials, as an alternative to plastic. These products are also printable and can be given a high-quality finish. A material made from collected marine plastics for digital printing will also be presented.

Particularly, I would like to highlight our special area “THINK SUSTAINABLY – ACT RESPONSIBLY. How to create a sustainable future in LiveCom”, which we, Messe Düsseldorf, are designing together with our cooperation partners IFES and fwd. In this special area, everything revolves around more sustainable events. Interested parties can find out how they can achieve the next level of sustainability in their own presentations and appearances in the future, based on examples of best practice and in individual discussions. Of course, the implementation of the special area itself also meets the criteria for the most sustainable trade show appearances possible and thus impressively demonstrates that a sustainable appearance by no means has to be characterized by sacrifice, but can still be a real eye-catcher.

4. One day at EuroShop – what do you suggest, what should we put on our agenda?

Above all, good preparation in the run-up! With our various tools, such as the interactive hall plan, the matchmaking tool and the EuroShop app, you can plan your visit to the trade show optimally so that you don’t lose any time on site by making appointments directly with the exhibitors in advance, for example.
For our seven stages, where exciting trends and best practice examples are presented by exhibitors with their customers from the retail sector, there will probably be little time left on a single day of the visit. Nevertheless, you don’t have to miss anything, because four of the stages – the Connected Retail Stage, Retail Technology Stages, Store Design Stage, and the Expo + Event Stage – will not only be streamed live, but will also be available on demand in the EuroShop Portal free of charge after EuroShop.

5. A question for you as a retail expert: What does the future of retail look like in your opinion?

It will no longer be about just selling off products, but a mix of retail, gastronomy and third places. I think the time of XXL areas is over and it will be more about a limited selection of products, with individual retail concepts booming. My favorite example where you can already see this trend implemented is “Victoria Yard” in Johannesburg. Here, different small, artisanal stores exist symbiotically side by side: retail, art, workshops areas and much more. In addition, digitization will continue to increase: Customers still love to shop in stationary stores with all their senses, to immerse themselves in worlds of experience and “event shopping” and to be addressed emotionally. There is also no substitute for live customer consultation. Stationary retail is still a place of communication. On the other hand, however, they do not want to do without the convenience, speed, constant accessibility and high degree of personalization of online shopping. If the stationary retailer then succeeds in seamlessly connecting its physical store with tailored online services, it has done everything right. “Connected Retail” and “Seamless Store” are the buzzwords!

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