Online shopping is booming and increasingly encroaching on the terrain of brick-and-mortar shops. This doesn’t have to be the case, because brick-and-mortar shops have their own strengths, some of which have been neglected thus far. Physical shops can capitalize on very individualized contact customers and customer loyalty, for example, which online shops will never fully achieve. Many retailers think there is no way to manage. And this is precisely where Messe Frankfurt provides support with its sales promotion project tendence.impulse. Philipp Ferger, Head of Tendence & Nordstil at Messe Frankfurt, explains what this entails and how retailers can benefit.
Mr Ferger, what is the tendence.impulse project?
tendence.impulse is a new type of added-value offering for brick-and-mortar shops in Germany. With this sales support tool, we want to give brick-and-mortar retailers the chance to be more successful in the age of increasing digitalisation.
What does that mean exactly?
We have found that consumers visit stores more often if something special is on offer – be it a wine or whiskey tasting, or a barbecue workshop. The “shopping experience” is key here.
Physical retail shops can fully capitalise on their advantage over online shops in this regard by creating a special atmosphere, engaging in direct contact with customers, consulting them and then even sell products either on site or online. This event feeling can only be offered by brick-and-mortar shops. And that’s precisely the point. They have much better opportunities to gain customer loyalty by providing experiences, but they often don’t use these opportunities. Many retailers haven’t yet realised that they have to invest much more in customer loyalty to remain competitive, or they feel overwhelmed by the prospect of having to organise such events.
And this is where you come in with tendence.impulse?
Right, because the first step of tendence.impulse consists of communicating to retailers the importance of such POS events based on examples. In the second step, we provide them inspiration and ideas as to what types of events in the fields of cooking, drinking and styling are conceivable. At the same time – and this is the core of our newly developed impulse.tool online platform – we provide a full-featured digital event planner. This includes a full schedule, all the ingredients and the necessary materials for the selected event.
We also provide a step-by-step guide with explanatory videos, checklists, proposals for promotional materials, online marketing and social media activities that they need for successful event implementation. With the impulse.tool, we are therefore giving registered participants support from the initial preview of how an event is to be implemented and planning of what items are needed to make it successful to the publicly advertised implementation of the event.
Are you happy thus far with the response from bricks-and-mortar shops?
We celebrated the kick-off at this year’s tendence at the end of June with live workshops, events and very good feedback from the participants, several of whom subsequently registered for the free impulse.tool.
image source: Messe Frankfurt/Pietro Sutera
Currently, any retailer can log on to and use our service. Overall, we are very please with the initial feedback. Based on this encouraging start, we are now starting subsequent promotional and information activities in the form of mailings and calls to German retailers to inspire more participants to join our online platform.
What other services are planned?
We will primarily focus on marketing the tool and optimizing it based on usability tests. For example, we have recognized that the digital competency of the participants varies widely. We are currently offering photos, videos, and post suggestions for social media communication. This is where we reach our limits, because only some of the retailers have their own online shop or Facebook page. In many cases, we would actually have to start on a much more elemental level and convey the basics of online and social media marketing to retailers. It would be useful to explain these topics to newcomers through webinars, in order to create the foundation for sufficient digital marketing readiness. This is just one aspect that we intend to focus on in the development of tendence.impulse to be able to equally support all retailers in their digital marketing endeavours.