Interview, ISN editor R Beladi talks to Elke Moebius Messe Düsseldorf Director, the organisers of Euroshop

Euroshop. The most important retail trade show in the world. International supermarket news editor, Riad Beladi talks to Elke Moebius, Director EuroShop, Messe Düsseldorf

Q1 – ISN – Can you talk to us about Euroshop, the trade show, history how did it start, exhibitors and visitors profile? 

EuroShop started small: in 1966 a total of 331 exhibiting companies took part and only 55 of these came from abroad. The exhibition space totalled 17,193 m² net and 28,762 trade visitors marvelled at such displays as the “modern drugstore”, “Frozen Goods the Merchandise of the Future”, or “Selling Textiles Up to Date”. Back then nobody knew that it would become the leading trade fair for the global retail world. 

Today, EuroShop looks back on a 57-year history of success. It is an innovation platform, trendsetter, discussion forum and a creative hub bursting with new ideas specifically for retail. It is with great anticipation that the international retail world looks to the 21th EuroShop held from February, 26 to March, 2., especially after the pandemic. EuroShop 2023 expects to the tune of 1,700 exhibitors from 56 countries, who will cover the complete investment needs for the global retail sector. 

Q2 – ISN – EuroShop is based on “Experience Dimensions”. Have these changed since the previous EuroShop? 

EuroShop continues to comprise eight Dimensions but we have now added Visual Merchandising to the largest Dimension, Shopfitting and Store Design, rather than staging it separately. This means the areas that are thematically dovetailed anyway now also move closer in terms of product categories/looks. Instead, EuroShop 2023 will see the premiere of Material & Surfaces as a separate Dimension; with this move we are responding to the developments of the past few years and the demand in this sector. All other Dimensions will remain unchanged: Retail Technology, Retail Marketing, Lighting, Refrigeration & Energy Management, Food Service Equipment and Expo & Event Marketing.

The Retail Technology Dimension will be especially in the limelight this year because both quantum leaps in developments and the demand for this topic are so enormous that we have decided to make an additional hall available to this Dimension. 

What are the hot topics of EuroShop 2023?

EuroShop has identified eight “hot topics” which mirror the currently crucial trends in retail. For the entire retail sector sustainability has become a highly relevant strategic topic. Many retail companies work towards achieving climate neutrality along the complete value chain. In line with this, sustainability is firmly embedded in all EuroShop Dimensions and will play a prominent role in our exhibitors’ product and services ranges. When designing any kind of physical retail space in times of increasing digitalisation, it is more important than ever to create Experiences that “wow” shoppers and prompt them to while away their time and come back. Important components here are the stimulation of the senses and the creation of a feelgood atmosphere but also the seamless integration of all digital channels to generate a holistic, positive customer journey. Connected Retail – the fusion of online and offline retail – has been given an additional boost by the Covid pandemic. Click&Collect Services have become a standard for consumers, many retailers have merged their loyalty systems from the on- and offline world thereby allowing shoppers a 360° view of their purchases made. The seamless connection between digital and physical channels will in future be indispensable for any retail company. Customer Centricity means that shoppers and their needs are centre stage. Many retail companies seek to establish ever closer contacts with end consumers with a view to offering them personalised and individualised digital customer services. Customers’ smartphones play an important role in this context. The buzzwords are digital shopping assistant, personalised offers, digital coupons and loyalty systems. Versatile automated store concepts – so called Smart Stores – have emerged where the shopping process is largely digitalised. Sensors and image recognition technologies play a significant role but are also deployed in conjunction with other applications such as “smart” shelves that monitor stocks and identify out-of-stock items, intelligent electronic shelf labelling and displays or also scales.  On the other hand for offline retail concepts to be successful it is about turning the store into a place where people feel at home, love to spend some time and not only turn to because of shopping proper. Design, materials, light, food service but also digital offerings decisively contribute to the success of such Third Places and make EuroShop an important impulse generator.  Optimized Energy Management in retail outlets will in future become an increasingly critical success factor for each retail company in view of energy market trends. Innovative and smart technology applications will play a decisive role for using lighting, refrigeration and air-conditioning efficiently and in a customer-focused manner at the same time. Lively Inner Cities in times of increasing digitalisation is one of society’s most relevant tasks for the future. EuroShop offers retailers all the tools to design bricks-and-mortar businesses in such a way that they also ensure lively city centres in future. EuroShop 2023 promises to become highly exciting precisely because of these topics. 

Q2 – ISN – What other events, such as conferences, talks, innovations and awards can be expected inside Euroshop 2023

Besides the extensive ranges displayed by participating companies from throughout the world, EuroShop’s USP is the quality and bandwidth of its unique line-up of side events.  The backbone are the seven EuroShop Stages. These are lecture and discussion forums with high-calibre speakers addressing latest developments, innovative trends, and best practice amidst the trade fair activities; admission is free for all EuroShop visitors without pre-registration (simultaneously interpreted into German/English or in English only). All stages at a glance: Store Design Stage, Retail Designers’ Stage, Retail Technology Stage, Connected Retail Stage, Start-up Stage, Retail Marketing Stage and Expo & Event Stage. The Special Areas of EuroShop comprise various areas that offer free spaces for specialists, start-ups, the X, Y & Z Generations, for ideas, visions and innovative products. Tried-and-tested EuroShop Special Areas include the Designers’ Village, the Start-up hub, POPAI Shop Global Village and IFES Global Village as well as the Italian Lighting Lounge. 

Particularly exciting are three specials that will celebrate their premiere in 2023: Future Urban Lab, Room4Senses and Retail Ball Game.  Above all, they provide food for thought for future retail scenarios and show the changed framework conditions that will influence retail in the future. It’s all about a change of perspective, brainstorming, new terms such as socio-retailing and the active involvement of trade visitors, who can playfully contribute their own ideas about the retail of the future and help develop attractiveness factors and reasons for visiting the cities of tomorrow. The Retail Ball Game and Room4 Senses involve students of retail-related courses of study, which per se guarantees a young, fresh and certainly also unusual approach to the topic. 

The EuroShop Awards not only reflect the significance of EuroShop but above all honour outstanding achievements of the international retail community and related fields. First and foremost, the renowned EuroShop Retail Design Awards will be presented for outstanding store concepts and store designs, as will the coveted Retail Technology Awards Europe (reta) for excellent IT and the science award of EHI for excellent scientific work, that are highly relevant to the retail sector. Furthermore, the Shop!/ POPAI D-A-CH Awards, the IFES Development & Innovation Award and the Exhibitor Magazine EuroShop Awards will be presented during EuroShop 2023. 

Q3- ISN  – What are the health and safety measures that you would take as many people are still worried about covid 

As things stand, trade fairs can take place without the Covid restrictions of the past two years. For example, the access restrictions, distance regulations, the obligation to wear masks and strict specifications for stand construction do no longer apply. However, Messe Düsseldorf has developed a comprehensive hygiene and infection protection concept. In 2022, we have fully equipped the complete Düsseldorf Exhibition Halls and Congress Center with HEPA filters. These high-efficiency particulate air filters introduce clinically clean air into the halls while at the same time reducing heating and cooling energy consumption.People are longing for real platforms now with products and technology to touch and try out, with intensive discussions on the key issues of their sectors, face-to-face networking and also the coincidental encounters that only international trade fairs can bring. 

04- ISN- in the last 4 years we have noticed retail technology have attracted the attention of the Tech giants and large corporations, do you think the industry is growing at a very fast rate?

Absolutely. Euroshop is the best proof of this. The Corona pandemic has had a massive impact on brick-and-mortar retail with numerous lockdowns worldwide. On the other hand, the pandemic has created a digitization push that was not previously expected in this form, which has ensured that many retailers have greatly accelerated the implementation of their omnichannel strategies for example in order to offer customers the much-cited seamless shopping experience. AI-based decision-making in procurement, assortment management and pricing will continue to gain importance. In this context, investments in analytics will be of utmost importance in the coming years. Many companies are stepping up their investments in self-checkout and self-scanning solutions. The focus here is primarily on scanning and payment via the customer’s own smartphone. The “perennial favourite” among the top projects of the coming years will be the renewal and optimisation of ERP systems, especially in food retail. The dimension Retail Technology at Euroshop 2023 is perfectly geared towards offering retailers a comprehensive range of solutions in a great variety of areas.

Q5- How do you see the future of shop-fitting and retail technology.

In future, both areas will be almost inseparably linked. Shop fitting will no longer be able to do without retail technology, and for several reasons. On the one hand, it can support what makes brick-and-mortar retail so special: live experiences, wow effects. On the other hand, retail technology ensures customer service and customized retailing.  After all, it is now the case: customers still love to shop in bricks-and-mortar stores with all their senses, to immerse themselves in worlds of experience and “event shopping”, and to be addressed emotionally. There is also no substitute for live advice. The brick and mortar store is still a place of communication. But customers do not want to give up the comfort, speed, constant availability and high degree of personalization of online shopping. If the stationary retailer then succeeds in seamlessly connecting his physical store with customized online services, he has done everything right. “Connected Retail” and “Seamless Store” are the magic words!


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