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Convenience and customer experience are in demand – the ideas at Christmasworld 2020 inspire the retail trade

13 febbraio 2020

The challenges for the future are growing: in the retail trade, it is all about remaining competitive. That is why networking, presentations and exchanges about exceptional customer experiences, digital communication and sustainable collaborations are much in demand at this year’s Christmasworld.

The 'customer journey', convenience products and the experience factor at the point of sale – these are three core themes for exhibitors and visitors at this year’s Christmasworld. Three areas in particular, 'Retail BLVD', 'Christmas Delights' and 'Decoration Unlimited', provide valuable inspiration to make retailers viable for the future.

The Retail BLVD focuses on digital solutions

The Retail BLVD provides a positive outlook on the future of the retail trade. Together with the Institute for Retail Research (Institut für Handelsforschung - IFH) in Cologne, it focuses on the customer journey in retail and illustrates the steps from the initial impulse to buy, through to customer retention.

Visitors can find information in the 'Social Media Playground' house, 'Convenience' house and 'Experience' house about how different customer needs can best be met. As Ricardo Camacho of Luces Feliz, a Christmas goods retailer from Mexico, says: "The tour through the Retail BLVD was very interesting – I was able to gather various things to take away for my business, for instance, how you can use the digital media as a supplement to in-store business and how you can display products to best advantage. Particularly online as well, in order to improve the purchasing experience. The more the business grows, the farther away the customers are. And it’s important to find ways to stay in contact with the customer".

Marta Golec of Candlemania from Ireland explores the 'Social Media Playground': The Facebook talk was very helpful. The explanations were confirmation that I’m doing everything right with Facebook in terms of content, and I’m addressing the exact target group that I want to attract. Because I am on my own when it comes to online activities for my business, it’s been really helpful to have some exchanges", the Irish businesswoman explains. "We’re at the fair to meet our suppliers and to find out about the latest products. The Retail BLVD is a fantastic complement to the ever more important digital communication activities."

Boris Hedde, IFH Managing Director, sums up as follows: "With the Retail BLVD, Messe Frankfurt makes it clear that it’s an industry insider and expert for the retail trade. Together we provide initial impulses and solutions for owner-operated businesses. The core target group is made aware of the challenges of tomorrow." In his opinion, collaborations within existing or new structures are a possible approach to strengthening retail. "Purchasing cooperatives are an example: in the future they should collaborate in sales as well and orient themselves towards the customer rather than the product", Hedde adds.

Christmas Delights create culinary customer experiences

In the search for products to liven up their product ranges in a surprising way, many visitors find themselves in the Christmas Delights product area.

This is an exhibition space that takes us back to the Christmas season with its cosy alpine huts. It smells of waffles, coffee, tea and mulled wine. One of the mulled wine aromas stems from Dr. Jaglas. The elixir, which is made by the family-run company, tastes like a walk around the Christmas market. The apothecary family from Wuppertal has produced herbal bitters for decades. As Dr. Helmut Jagla relates: "Our customers are looking for a surprise effect. Target groups who buy designer furniture also go for high-quality spirits. Our business partners are looking for a niche product; they ask about natural corks and pay attention to regionality."

In close proximity to the mulled wine aroma, visitors can find Lieb & Lecker. With love and passion, the grandmother of the family business bottles fruits, which are processed into liqueurs and other drinks. A bestseller of the manufactory is 'Hot Harry', an alcohol-free organic aronia punch. "The products taste delicious; they’re regional and sustainably produced, and the small manufactory’s staff are incredibly nice", says one visitor to the stand. There is a strong focus again on sustainability and regionality this year. Olaf Panne from the British Tea Shop says that customers are paying much more attention to sustainability factors than in the last few years. "Because our fair trade tea is not only produced, but also packaged, in Sri Lanka, we ensure that the value added stays in the country. Our customers very much appreciate this", Panne adds.

The Soulmade brand from Christine Hamburger provides something quite special in our fast-moving age. She offers gift bags 'with time', so you can concentrate in Advent on what it’s all about: contemplation. For example, there’s the 'Time for Hope' gift bag with songs like 'The rose' or 'It took a child to save the world', a bag of tea, a tealight, something sweet, and a 'Do not disturb' door sign. With her products, the exhibitor wants to create a connection between the giver and the receiver – for the high-quality gift bags, Tine Hamburger interprets the selected music titles herself. Appearing at Christmas Delights pays off for the businesswoman and singer: there’s a very international audience and she makes many new contacts with potential customers. Gabriele Knobloch-Haag from the Peter Haag shopping garden (Einkaufsgarten Peter Haag), who comes to Christmas Delights out of interest for the 'Time bags', says: "This is a product range that’s a bit more out of the ordinary – very interesting. At Christmasworld I look for, and find, products that enhance my product range, in order to create unforgettable customer experiences."

The owner of an Italian interior shop also sees it like this. She is currently trying out gin and liqueurs on the Costoluto stand. The Costoluto brand combines all sorts of gin and liqueurs under the same roof. Christian Schumm, initiator for the family-run company, hears from visitors to his stand that they are looking for products to 'break up' their product ranges. "With my products, my customers create a shopping experience, whilst differentiating themselves from online trading", the businessman explains. Costoluto gin and liqueurs are available in the usual half-litre bottles and miniature sizes. According to Schumm, the miniatures are primarily used for decoration in concept-, fashion- and home interior stores. With more than15 botanicals and their own liquorice, grown in Bamberg, the gin represents a hundred-year-old family tradition. The Italian specialist retailer has just completed her order. She says she was won over by the look of the packaging and the taste of the product. After our conversation, Schumm adds with a smile "The wonderful thing is, Christmas will be taking place again this year."

Creating customer experiences is something that the tea producer Tafelgut is also thinking about. Their teas offer retailers a platform for tasting events, where the winter teas become the basis for tangy summer drinks.

Decoration Unlimited – 'Dark Ocean' for a wow effect at the point of sale
The 'Decoration Unlimited' area generates huge enthusiasm. The visitors are able to find an unexpected mix of themes and products for Christmas decoration: "I am very impressed by the exhibition. Exactly my taste, with the fresh colours and plants. A fantastic inspiration. It shows the range of ways in which Christmas decorations can be interpreted", says visitor Silvia Meroni, who has come over to Christmasworld from Italy for the first time.

Decoration unlimited – Dark Ocean at Christmasworld

Edith Lücke, from the perfumery of the same name in Trier, follows suit: "At Christmasworld I look for unusual decoration ideas. Every year I need a new theme. That is a concept for success which functions across all age groups."

Kerstin Schmidt Maskow from Jaksch Idee & Konzept takes many ideas for her work away with her: "I think natural decorative elements are great – the ideas for flower arrangements are simply unique. I always come here first to look which products are used by which exhibitors, and I then seek out their stands."

You can find further interviews and information on these themes during the course of the year at:

The next Christmasworld will take place from 29 January to 2 February 2021.

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