Silvio Kirchmair, CEO at Umdasch Shopfitting Group, one of the leading shopfitting companies in Austria for Lifestyle, Food, Premium and Digital Retail, explains the importance of e-commerce and how offline retail strikes back now. In the interview he also shows the main influencing trends and how to create a valuable customer journey.
'Brick-and-mortar shops are on the move – Offline strikes back!' is the title of your presentation at the C-star Forum. How does online influence the shop-fitting trends?
Silvio Kirchmair: Online shops are a game changer around the whole world: Goods get comparable and the customer frequencies shrink year by year. As a consequence, stores are forced to provide a better shopping experience, for example with digital solutions, interactive applications and above all with an intensified human approach. The target for all our stationary retail customers is to improve efficiency, conversion rates must rise. Store makers have to support the commercial development of retailers and improve the understanding of business and customers’ behavior.
Besides the influence of online, what are the most interesting trends in shop-fitting today?
Kirchmair: The most interesting trend is the enforcement of combination of analogue shopfitting with digital solutions. This process can start with the enlargement of the assortment and available space by digital options. And it might end with better information for end customers on the POS by digital signage. The challenge is to create a valuable customer journey.
Which trends in shopfitting are regional and what would you describe as global trends?
Kirchmair: Two very important global trends are given by focus on storytelling and digitalization. In parallel to that stores have to present local roots. Nowadays it is less efficient to roll out an unchanged store concept worldwide. Our customers aim for unique brand experience integrated into regional or even local characteristics. One of our customers said: “My stores have to look different around the world but one must experience the brand immediately after entering.”
Interview: Ute Holtmann; EHI Retail Institute