Stationary retail as a market place for generations

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Veit Gregor Lange says, "Our findings show that stationary retail will assume the role of the meeting point of generations in the future."


In the old days, it was the market square; today's generation of elderly people likes to have a chat at the café integrated into the supermarket. Stationary retail is facing the challenge of a rapidly aging society.

Veit Gregor Lange and Jun.-Prof. Vivek K. Velamuri of HHL Leipzig Graduate School of Management have examined how established German retailers react to the requirements of an aging society.

The authors of the study specifically explored innovation applied on the sales floor to cater to the needs of the so-called silver generation. Interviews, structured following the proven and tested case study approach, were conducted with a large number of experienced experts and managers from the industry to obtain the data.

The examinations focused on firstly, alterations to store layout and physical environment, secondly, the importance of customer service, and thirdly, changes in the product portfolio. Lange and Velamuri were able to prove that well-directed alterations in these three fields can help companies to benefit from the demographic change.

"Our research emphasizes how retailers can specifically adjust their business models to better meet the needs of the growing segment of customers from the silver generation," says Vivek K. Velamuri, Schumpeter Junior Professor for Entrepreneurship and Technology Transfer at HHL.

Research findings of highest practical relevance

Veit Gregor Lange explains, "The societal framework conditions are changing rapidly. Stationary retail can benefit from this development due to its physical nature: by means of personal interaction, stationary retail has a human face and can provide an experience which e-commerce cannot offer. Our findings show that stationary retail will assume the role of the meeting point of generations in the future. Some successful retailers such as fashion retailer Engelhorn Mode are already not only training their employees to recognize generation-specific requests but also invite their customers to stay and interact at a gourmet restaurant integrated in the main building."

Source: HHL Leipzig Graduate School of Management