The event many regard as the benchmark for our industry, EuroShop 2020 has come and now gone. Occurring every three years, it brings together an array of suppliers, vendors, service providers, designers, thought leaders, and a great deal more. All focused, in some form and fashion, on the multifaceted retail category. Hosted at the Messe Dusseldorf across approximately 500,000SF in 18 exhibition halls, it’s one of the largest trade shows in the world. With this being our first time attending, and having seen recaps over the years from fellow Bergmeyer colleagues, we had high expectations and can safely say the event didn’t fail to impress. Awesome would be the word to capture the reaction of most visitors to the event; Followed by a small dose of overwhelmingness at its sheer magnitude.
We, like everyone else, had to do a good bit of prep work to ensure seeing those things we prioritized while taking in as much as one can in the 4-day event. We began with the halls focused on store design and shop-fitting, moving on to the visual halls, lighting, and retail technology. In each, there were standouts. Amazing booth design, fresh new products and enthusiastic sales teams which surfaced some great connections – from Italian firm Grottini Advanced Retail World’s booth façade consisting of a large-scale screen made from a 3D printer, Umdasch’s impressive millworker booth interspersed with stories of their history and production methods, to Aluvision’s digital screen technology featuring mitered corners, curved walls and LED floors, and German design agency D’art’s booth, transformed into a fully interactive digital experience built entirely with stacked crates featuring QR codes revealing unique project details.
Given the near impossibility we face in distilling the entire EuroShop 2020 conference with brevity, we decided instead to focus on three key themes that made a lasting impression on our team.
Walking the show, we strived to find connecting threads that point to meaningful trends that will have an impact on what we do and how we do it, however trickle-down it may be. And a few surfaced. While not new, sustainability was at the forefront. From bio-sourced resin mannequins to shelves made from recycled denim to the domination of LED lighting, the forward message from many exhibitors was the importance and mission of sustainability within their business practices. Somewhat related was the above-mentioned 3D printing. Seeing the likes of Betondruck and Grottini leveraging this technology with impressive results takes the technology from novelty to viability. And it didn’t take much time in the foodservice halls to see the emphasis sustainability plays in this manufacturing segment with brands like Viessmann leading the way (in one of the most memorable and well-designed experiences across the entire show).
Of the many highlights of the conference, one thing that became quite evident is that EuroShop is just that, “Euro.” It’s a highly euro-centric event. Scale, breadth, energy aside, it poses challenges for those of us from North America to maximize the resources presented. But honestly, we’re okay with that. There is a lot to be said for being exposed to so much interesting stuff. From lighting to surface materials to fixture systems, inspiration was abundant. Whether it be our long-standing friends at Visplay to new friends at 3D Betondruck Solutions, we see these groups pushing technology to innovate and broaden boundaries propelling our industry forward.
An industry in constant flux
In addition to the exhibition, attendees had the opportunity to hear from a wide array of speakers from around the globe, offering views on the current state and future of retail. And the recurring theme most everyone focused on is that our industry is in constant flux, accelerating at a pace never before seen. Which, in many respects, is a blessing and a curse.
As we all look for the next big thing, the danger is that we fail to cement tested key behaviors as good business practices in the rush to try something new. It is, of course, our mandate to serve our clients and their customers by leading. But critical to success, in our view, is an insistence on being thoughtful of what is ultimately right instead of simply pushing for the new. And EuroShop 2020 was worth its weight in supplying resources on both sides of that fence, putting it in the hands of the attendees (present parties included) to sort out where the future of retail lies.