Putting heads together: The future of electrical retail

 In Business

Delegates from Europe’s leading electrical retailers and manufacturers joined together in Geneva this April for the Sixth International TCG Retail Summit. An exclusive report by ERT.

This year’s conference edition was named ‘Collaborate to Innovate’ and it looked at the true benefit of strategic partnerships to help businesses grow. Top executives from more than 25 countries joined the Think Tank for electrical retail and industry to share their expertise, insights and best practices.

Leading European retailers and brands from the technical consumer goods (TCG) industry shared the current challenges faced by the sector and discussed the opportunities and ideas to continue to attract the high street shopper.

Speakers and panellists this year included: Antreas Athanassopoulos, Chief Customer Officer, Dixons Carphone Group; Jean Baptiste Thomas, Director Hardline, Amazon UK; Hans Carpels, President, Euronics International; Alpay Guener, COO Europe, AO World; Anna Ohlsson-Leijon, Head of Major Appliances Europe & EVP, Electrolux Group; Matthias Ginthum, Chief Markets Officer, BSH; Carsten Olesen, SVP Global Markets, Harman Lifestyle Division; and Cyril Buxtorf, EVP EMEA, Groupe SEB.

Interaction was certainly the key theme for this event. Guest speakers were analysed and presented with questions from delegates – using a very clever interactive Q&A platform called Pigeonhole – and various panel discussions throughout the event opened up topics further.

Declan Curry, Conference Host

Dynamic conference host, Declan Curry – journalist, business broadcaster and former BBC news reporter – continually pin-pointed the crux of each session and posed some straightforward questions to speakers.

The Open Topic Panel on day two was decided democratically by attendees; on the first day, delegates were asked to submit their favourite topic proposal and votes were then taken. The chosen question was ‘How can brands and retail collaborate to increase experiences in the store for the consumer?’

“White goods are definitely moving a bit slower, so we’ve got some catching up to do,” said Norbert Schmidt, VP Commercial Operations, Products & Brands at Whirlpool.

“There’s so much online content available, but how do we bring that in-store? Augmented reality, perhaps, but this relies on brands providing the best content to help consumers understand what their products are all about.

”Conversation turned to merging online and in-store platforms. “Customers want to talk to human beings,” said Mr Schmidt, “some might order products online with a salesperson while they’re in-store, but they’re looking for that personal connection.

“White goods definitely take up a lot of space, but our job as a brand is to continue to innovate and help retailers tell a story with their displays.

”Reflecting on the whole event, International TCG Retail Summit Chairman, Chris Buecker, commented: “We believe we once again put a very qualitative, diverse program together with renowned international speakers. This year we had different players that presented their strategies going forward and elaborated on how a strong ecosystem of strategic collaborations will be vital to this.

“What makes this summit so different is the format itself. Short presentations followed by intense panel discussion. Not only this, but topics covered many different areas and the speakers are carefully chosen to reflect the real state of affairs across the TCG industry and to pose the best questions.”

The TCG Awards

Karl Trautmann, Member of the Management Board, ElectronicPartner and Frank Offermanns, West European Retail Director, Huawei 

Introduced at last year’s conference in Berlin and hailed as the “Oscars” of Technical Consumer Goods (TCG) and a crucial part of the Summit, these Awards recognise the most innovative TCG brands operating in EMEA. Winners were selected by the Grand Jury, comprised of top management from leading tech retailers and a top representative of GfK.

This year’s winners were: Integrated Marketing Award – LG; Technology Innovation Award – Huawei; Disruptor Award – Google; Leadership Award – Dr. Reinhard Zinkann (Miele); and Brand of The Year Award – Huawei.

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