Meet Elke Moebius, Director of EuroShop and EuroCIS, Messe Düsseldorf. She sits at the helm of the most influential retail trade fair in Europe. Some say the world. From that position, she has an excellent view of the retail landscape. We talked to her about what retailers can expect during 2016, and asked her for advice on making the most of the fair exhibit investments.
What are some of the exciting retail trends you see emerging in 2016?
The ongoing digitisation of our society will also dominate developments in retail in 2016. Conventional shopping processes, regardless of whether they take place in textile or food retail, will be replaced by individualised shopping experiences characterised by the use of various channels – offline and online – in every segment. Today, but even more so in the future, shoppers alone will decide where, when and through which channel they find out about and buy products. This means that shoppers’ needs and wishes are a top priority for retail. Omnichannel retail, i.e. addressing shoppers via various, fully integrated channels, will become indispensable.
What do you think are the greatest challenges for retailers today?
The greatest challenge for retail will be precisely this complete integration of the different channels. It is true that many brick-and-mortar retailers have set up online shops in the past but they are still “detached” from their physical stores. This will no longer work in the future. Instead, a sophisticated omnichannel strategy will be required that permits a seamless shopping experience for customers across all channels, with smooth transitions and a consistent brand experience. To implement this successfully, retailers have to increase their IT budgets and invest in latest technologies for one thing, and carry out extensive staff training, for another. Because only if staff in the store is as channel-savvy as their shoppers will they be in a position to leverage the whole range of new possibilities and turn shoppers into loyal followers.
What news and surprises can visitors and exhibitors expect at EuroCIS 2016?
All the solutions that support retail in implementing its omni-channel strategies. This particularly includes mobile solutions be it for supporting staff in the store, for interacting with shoppers’ smartphones or for implementing mobile payment. In addition to this, topics such as business analytics, cloud-based solutions and – like at previous events – self-checkout and self-scanning will be at the focus of EuroCIS 2016. Likewise, digital price labelling and digital bill-boarding will play a prominent role at EuroCIS since the technologies here have developed enormously in a short period of time. Many of our exhibitors will be represented with product launches though, needless to say, these will remain well-kept secrets until the trade fair starts.
What news and surprises can visitors and exhibitors expect at EuroShop 2017?
EuroShop will face a new, optimised concept in 2017, because the dynamic further developments in retail are now also seeing the leading international trade fair EuroShop break new ground – with forward-looking, consistent changes. In concrete terms this means 2017 will see the four-segment structure of the past being replaced with a new system for the future. The new segmentation features seven Experience Dimensions: POP Marketing, Expo & Event Marketing, Retail Technology, Lighting, Visual Merchandising, Shop Fitting & Store Design and Food Tech & Energy Management. The new layout guarantees an even more visitor-oriented array of ranges, and provides synergies in various dimensions, because borders between the ranges will increasingly blur, as has been the case with display mannequins and high-end shop fitting with store design, for example. This means EuroShop 2017 will provide a more flexible framework as well as plenty of scope for presenting future-oriented developments and innovative products for global retail.
Exhibiting at fairs is a big investment. What advice do you have for getting the best return on that investment?
Proper preparation! A long time ahead of the event it will already be possible to visit the portals and find detailed information about the structure, target groups, registration procedures, costs involved and other details of trade fair participation. Once you have opted to take part you should register as soon as possible because the best stand locations are highly coveted. For our fairs, we place a lot of emphasis on personal service and our team in Düsseldorf will be at your disposal with both “words and actions”. For instance, we support exhibitors with complimentary advertising materials, international press liaison and the exhibitor database which they can use any time to post company news. Ordering admission ticket vouchers, which can be sent to customers, is just as important for exhibitors as booking sufficient stand staff or interpretation/translation services. Early trade fair planning and the use of the fair services are the key to successful trade fair participations.
Ms. Moebius was born in Mainz. She studied Romance languages, literature and economics before she went to the United States, Argentina and France. In 1996 she joined the staff of Messe Düsseldorf. After successfully graduating from a trainee programme, she took over project management responsibilities in the foreign relations section of Düsseldorf fair as early as in 1997. Since then, and amongst other duties, Ms. Moebius has been responsible for organising and running the international industrial and technological SHK fair in Moscow, which she managed to develop into the leading sectoral exhibition in Russia. Since 2008 Elke Moebius is the responsible Director EuroShop and EuroCIS (Düsseldorf), C-star (Shanghai) and Global Head Retail and Retail Technology of Messe Düsseldorf.