1. ECE INNOVATION FORUM
For the first time, ECE organized a new event that took place during the Retail Meeting. The new "Innovation Forum" aims to connect ECE more closely with its tenants. A small group of 30 participants, among them representatives from Deichmann, Thalia, Guess, H&M, and OTTO Group, discussed issues like innovation and digitalization.
"The exciting presentations by Google and Locafox and the interactive workshops put a number of new ideas on our Agenda. At the same time we had the opportunity to network more efficiently," explains Dr Philipp Sepehr, Director Marketing, Research & Innovation.
In his key note, John Gerosa, Director Retail Markets at Google, talked about the next technology wave and how it will influence our business models. He emphasized that the moments when customers use their smart phone to make decisions, they want to look up something, do something, or buy something. These were the very situations where the brand of a product, its presence, and its recognition play a great role for the customer.
In his presentation, Matthias Peschel of Locafox stressed that it is crucial for consumers to check online whether a product is available in a store near them. Unfortunately, only few brick and mortar retailers provided this information on the Internet at the moment. Locafox is a start-up that offers an online platform where physical shops can let customers experience their products. The aim is to enable the brick-and-mortar retail compete with e-commerce retailers on equal terms. Customers can use the platform to inform about the available products in a store, reserve the desired product and subsequently buy it at a nearby shopping center. "The Future Labs team is currently working in a cooperation project that aims to implement this very idea for Alstertal Einkaufszentrum," says Sebastian Baumann, Head of ECE Future Labs.
During a workshop the participants of the Innovation Forum discussed the shopping center of the future and were inspired by e-commerce retailers such as Amazon. They especially discussed new services that enable a more individual and personal contact to customers and convenience services like Click & Collect.