Technological expertise required
Nothing is more stable than change is something that shopfitters are well aware of. With creativity they respond to the changes in the retail world which are shaped by increasing customer demands and driven by digitisation. Both factors require a broad technological competence: where previously only shelves, cash registers and counters made up the delivery, now experts for fragrance, lighting, multimedia, digital pricing, security technology and the integration of online and offline sales are in demand.
Reinhard Peneder is convinced that the days of shopfitting systems off the peg are gone for good. Peneder is considered a profound expert of the European retail and shopping scene. In his StoreBook of 2014, he states: “Only in the food trade are system outfittings still widely found.” For fashion-oriented industries, however, a high degree of individuality is in demand. This is supported by presentation concepts such as strategic dramaturgy (see also our interview) and tailor-made, brand-compatible furnishing and presentation. Calculations must also be reckoned right from the beginning, because economies of scale as in classical system construction are hardly available here. A higher need for coordination with customers and architects must also be taken into account.
Shopfitting companies will especially need to acquire the technological skills they need in the IT area and collaboration with external partners is increasingly important. Only those willing to keep looking beyond the horizon of their own shop counter will be able to deploy LED systems optimally for “visual marketing”, implement a neuromarketing programme or a modern security concept or fulfill the complex task of meaningfully combining analogue and digital structures at the POS.
In addition, it will be important to constantly develop new store formats, and to recognise customer demands before they are ware of them themselves. Who would have thought that customers in the grocery store would like to cook themselves or meet at the discount store for an espresso? For engineers, lateral thinking has always been important in order to find innovative solutions. The shopfitter can and must do the same and combine things again and again in a surprisingly intelligent way.
If you do not possess the imagination yourself, you can be inspired by the numerous and up-to-date industry reports such as those from the German Shopfitting Association and the EHI Retail Institute or at the annual Euroshop and other specialist events. Creative, daring and technologically competent, shopfitters need not fear the ever increasing spread of e-commerce. On the contrary, they will increasingly see their opportunities in the inevitable change.