Euroshop 2017: The Greatest Retail Show on Earth
Every three years we head over to Euroshop, the world’s top retail trade fair. It’s a real luxury to take some time out to wander around the spectacle with some of our clients – talking, looking, absorbing, and discussing retail around an astounding backdrop.
At first the Messe – with its 18 or so halls dedicated to all aspects of physical retail kit – seems so familiar. But then you start to see the new and novel. Water feature technology that shapes words and symbols within rain-like formations by using clever software and LED lighting looks pretty cool. But is it useful? Maybe somewhere. More useful, and perhaps the way of the future, is the workbot barista making coffee for visitors. And imagination ran riot amongst stands made entirely of stencil-cut paper, jellyfish, and seaweed!
The commitment, creativity, and investment made for this four-day event by some of the European shopfitters and suppliers is really impressive. The sheer theatricality is brilliant in terms of scale, detail, and things to entertain and delight. Exhibitors such as Itab, Vitra Umdasch, Aichinger, and Schweitzer really went for it – and many retailers could benefit from this ‘neck on the line/colours to the mast’ approach.
The exhibitors get close to the retail design perfection for which we all strive. Of course it’s all a bit of a pretend world: no B2C customers, no concerns as to whether the format experience and offer are enduring or not, and no worries about supply chain, deliveries, logistics, and out of stock products. There’s just a basic sense of trading (I show you my goods – you tell me if you’d like them) mixed with an extravagant world of theatrical suspended animation.
The other thing that stands out is the use of old school wining and dining. Any stand worth its salt has its own coffee bar, wine bar, and even restaurant for more casual conversations – a recognition that people matter.
Compared to 2014, this year’s Euroshop has more technology and more digital (everyone had an app, no matter the business, and no matter its relevance). But despite this, the big take out is that physical retail channel is very much alive and kicking – it’s just changing faster than ever!