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Experts from IFH Cologne invite you to interact in each store–with short presentations, explanations, and live demonstrations. Credit: Messe Frankfurt Exhibition GmbH / 2dezign

New impulses for the “customer journey”

From January 24 to 28, 2020, Christmasworld is focusing its product range on the success factor customer-experience at the point of sale. Together with the Institute for Retail Research in Cologne, the Retail Boulevard (BLVD) 2020 will focus on the ‘customer journey’ by illustrating the steps towards the purchasing impulse and good customer relationships in different stores.

Customers expect a broad product range, a digital presence, a feel-good atmosphere, and personal consulting from retail stores. This is emphasized by the current study ‘Structural Change in the Retail Sector: from the Customer’s Perspective’ by IFH (institute for retail research) in Cologne, which was commissioned by Messe Frankfurt. The study also identifies three different types of shoppers, who need to be convinced that they will get more convenience, service, and a better experience in the wake of digitalization. How retail shops can implement these success factors will be shown in the redesigned ‘Retail BLVD’, in Galleria 0 at Christmasworld. IFH Cologne has brought a large number of experts and service providers on board, who will inform us how different customer needs can best be served, in three stores set up along a shopping street: the ‘Social Media Playground House’, the ‘Convenience House’ and the ‘Experience House.’

“Last year we staged an attractive product combination of seasonal and floral decorations at the point of sale for five different kinds of retail stores. We are now developing the Retail BLVD to emphasize the different phases of the ‘customer journey’. In 2020, we are bringing customer interests into focus as a first step and highlight the needs of experience, convenience and service-oriented shoppers. Working with our partners IFH Cologne, we provide solutions for retail that can be implemented easily and quickly”, says Eva Olbrich, Director of Christmasworld, Messe Frankfurt Exhibition GmbH.

Eva Olbrich, Director of Christmasworld, Messe Frankfurt Exhibition GmbH: “Last year we staged an attractive product combination of seasonal and floral decorations at the point of sale for five different kinds of retail stores. We are now developing the Retail BLVD to emphasize the different phases of the ‘customer journey.” Credit: Messe Frankfurt Exhibition

Experts of IFH Cologne with invite you to interact in each store–with short presentations, explanations, and live demonstrations, for example about seasonal window dressings that can be quickly implemented and modified. In addition, there will be guided tours through the Retail BLVD three times a day.

Visitors will be invited to exchange experiences and knowledge in the central marketplace ‘Market Square’ and there will be opportunities for networking. Comments can be written on a board and will be addressed in the short presentations. Lively exchanges, questions, and feedback will be expressly encouraged. There will also be short presentations twice a day on the different types of shoppers that IFH has identified.

The IFH study 2019 is based on three types of shoppers

“Shoppers can be categorized into three different types in terms of their basic attitudes and needs. At Retail BLVD, we will illustrate the classic customer journey from shoppers’ needs to good customer relationships. We hope this will give trade visitors new ideas on how to communicate with their customers,” says Boris Hedde, Director of IFH Cologne. Experience-oriented shoppers enjoy buying in bricks-and-mortar shops and appreciate being able to handle and try out (new) products. Convenience-oriented shoppers, on the other hand, find shopping in bricks-and-mortar shops tiresome and want to get to the product they want as quickly as possible. Service-oriented shoppers expect special customer service and consulting, which they find predominantly in specialist shops.

“We’ll be bringing partners to the fair who use their expertise to facilitate persuasive product combinations, customer service, and consulting in retail shops, which appeal to every type of shopper. We want to show how shopping can function in the future and how digital solutions can be integrated into the experience”, says Eva Olbrich, Director of Christmasworld.

From the product to the customer in three stores

In the ‘Social Media Playground House’, the digital channels, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat, and You Tube will be presented in short ten-minute talks. These channels are used more and more frequently by consumers as a source of information and inspiration, which means that a social media presence is becoming ever more important for retailers. Visitors will learn which channels they should use for their target group and what this can look like in practice. In addition, the talks will address questions such as: when is influencer marketing worthwhile and how does a possible cooperation with influencers work? Screens will visualize possible stories, posts, and influencer activities.  An experimental area will invite visitors to try and test new approaches.

Customers appreciate first and foremost comfortable shopping, good service, and the shopping experience in stores. The Retail BLVD shows how different customer needs can be addressed, both online and offline. Credit: Messe Frankfurt Exhibition GmbH / 2dezign

There will be an equal focus on information, consultancy and service In the ‘Experience House’ and the ‘Convenience House’–but from different perspectives: in the ‘Experience House’, visitors will be made aware that future customers expect a special shopping experience and would like to be inspired and amazed. Multisensory marketing and an unusual shop design as well as decorations, for example, play an important role here. In addition, it will show how digital services can intensify shopping experiences in stores and how important well-trained employees on the shop floor are in this regard. Visitors will be given practical tips on this.

In the ‘Convenience House’, the purchase transaction needs to be quick, simple, and convenient–the inspirational factor provides guidance for this for type of consumer. How can I offer more convenience combined with digital services? How do I make purchasing easier for my customers?  How can I introduce them to using Click & Collect and mobile payment apps to avoid queuing at the till, or help them use smartphone scanning for more personalized offers? How can the Alexa digital voice control be used in retail stores? Specialists from the IFH Cologne will present digital solutions to the visitors, which they can try out themselves.

About Christmasworld

Christmasworld, the world’s most important order venue for the international decoration and festive articles sector, takes place from January 24 to 28, 2020. Held annually in Frankfurt, it presents the latest products and trends for all festivities of the year and provides innovative concept ideas for decorating large-scale and outdoor areas of the wholesale and retail sector, shopping centers, DIY markets, and the green sector.