Multichannel Area: "There are still plenty of fresh ideas"
Interview with Ariane Rieger, AR-Medienberatung
From the think tank directly to the retailer: at the first Multichannel Area of EuroCIS 2015, six companies demonstrated how cross-channel solutions can work in the store from concept to technical implementation without major time and effort. In the midst of the trade fair activities, Ariane Rieger explained the Multichannel Area concept to us, and describes how this area reflects the overall development of the online and offline world.
Ms. Rieger, what’s the concept behind the Multichannel Area?
The idea is to introduce traditional retailers to the next generation, the young rebels with their new concepts that combine brick-and-mortar and online retailing. What makes this so special is that you can try out the solutions that are being introduced on the Forum stage in the exhibitor area at the same time.
How did the fair and you come up with the idea of creating a Multichannel Area?
We have been analyzing trade fairs often and for a very long time. In doing so, we are good at filtering out what visitors and exhibitors want from a trade show. Thanks to the findings from our analyses, we know the development potential of the industry sector.
As a complement to the Multichannel Forum with its presentations, the idea arose to complete it with its very own exhibitor area – with suppliers, who are accommodated with their topics at the EuroCIS better than at any other tradeshow. Most of the exhibiting companies were just founded in 2013 and 2014. There are still plenty of fresh ideas that need their own platform.
The exhibitors provided a large mix of solutions. What were we able to see?
One of the products that offered a great live experience was the iPad POS system by Inventorum. Here you can operate your entire POS system all the way to your webshop for your brick-and-mortar store with an iPad.
Another highlight was clearly the interactive dressing room by Phizzard – a system that offers customers alternative sizes and products for a clothing article via touchscreen, which the sales assistant can then deliver to the dressing room. Both systems were setup here to try out.
How was this received by customers?
I noticed that several audience members of the well-attended Forum immediately afterwards stood up to try out the products right away. That is why I think the concept fits perfectly and offers retailers an interesting insight into the possibilities of digital connections.
Many retailers are generally still somewhat skeptical when it comes to digital innovations in the store. How can you best introduce them to the subject?
On the one hand – as I have just mentioned – by trying things out. On the other hand, by utilizing equipment they might already know from home. At this point, you can do a lot with the iPad – something that is quite evident at this year’s EuroCIS. This already lessens the hurdle immensely. The communication with the device, the software solutions, are increasingly well adapted to the needs of retailers.
In addition, consultation is a very important part of the next generation’s work – they organize roadshows or roundtables where certain questions are simply easier to ask. The interpersonal component plays a decisive role here.
In your opinion, does the Area generally reflect multichannel development?
Absolutely. These days, you can no longer do without multichannel solutions. The development is simply progressing too quickly for this. Customers want a consistent shopping experience. The retailer has to rise to this challenge – this begins with baby steps. Oftentimes however, it still happens that even though you offer a little bit of everything, the overall concept is still not coherent.
This yields the potential for the concepts that are being introduced at the EuroCIS. You can use them to present stringent solutions for linking the channels.
The Multichannel Area will become increasingly important at the EuroCIS. To me, the EuroCIS is the only trade fair where this subject has this kind of strong reason to exist.