As a reaction to the steady increase in the eCommverce sector and to retain its place as an attractive point of sale, the Retail industry invested significantly in the technical equipment and appearance of its stores. According to the EHI-Laden-Monitor 2014 (a study on new store concepts and trends published by the EHI Retail Institute), about 6.8 billion euros were invested in remodeling and expanding existing stores as well as building new ones in the year 2013. This represents an increase of 700 million euros compared to 2010.

The biggest challenge for retailers is the integration of online and stationary trade into one multi-channel concept. The magic formula here is to create a uniform brand experience for customers throughout all channels. This leads to a more flexible design in regard to offers and sales formats based on the respective location as well as the customer’s individual buying situation (making a purchase for the experience of it or out of necessity). The customer has to be able to use the best-suited sales channel for the respective purpose.

The results of the study also hint at a certain challenge for suppliers since they have to strongly adapt their service portfolio according to the needs of their customers and constantly provide them with information on the latest innovations concerning products and practices. Driven by the high pace of innovations and retail’s demand for individuality instead of uniformity, supplier pools have become much more open to new and flexible providers. With an unceasingly tight cost management in the retail business and a further increased percentage of foreign suppliers, the competitive pressure in the supplies industry will continue to grow.

The study is based on 50 qualitative personal interviews and illustrates the current status as well as the development of the business concepts of leading retailers in Austria, Germany and Switzerland. Furthermore, it offers the latest findings regarding the implementation of multi-channel concepts, sustainability in store design as well as process optimization in store planning.

For more information please see the EHI-Laden-Monitor 2014 (in German).