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EuroShop: More Impact for Customers and Less to the Planet

By Tina Chadwick

Walking the halls at EuroShop was akin to having a looking glass into the near future of retail but with the comfort that it may be coming with a bit more consciousness and balance. This is refreshingly in line with consumer expectations of enhanced experience, but also acknowledgment that it cannot happen without costs.

I attended my first EuroShop in Düsseldorf, Germany last month and saw firsthand the hum and hustle of all aspects of retail. While EuroShop has been around since 1966, it’s clear that all of the industry is moving at an accelerated rate to keep up with the customer expectations created by quick fixes made during the pandemic.

Heightened Customer Experience

My first takeaway was that there is a collective focus on enhanced customer experience with standout iterations in dressing room avatars and self-serve/scan-and-go technologies. The efforts to broaden the experience were also evident in evolved body awareness and acceptance with the varied sizes, facial features and colors of mannequins. Refreshing, indeed.


Size Inclusive Optionsphoto: Tina Chadwick

Technology also catapulted customer interaction with products using smart digital displays that sensed what was on a scanner and touted information or suggested pairings for both clothes and food. Virtual customer service reps offered help through speech recognition and human-like response.

Euro23_FS8817-smart trolleyphoto: Messe Düsseldorf/ctillmann


For every customer interaction – shopping, ordering, purchasing, shipping – there were technology-enabled improvements. If the past is any indication, these processes will be widely adapted in the U.S.


Euro23_MK26139-technology smartphoto: Messe Düsseldorf/ctillmann


Shrinkage Prevention

As covered extensively in the U.S. recently, freedom and access to goods have created shrinkage across all areas of retail. Combined with indications of a recession, it’s clear we need to create ways to mitigate loss via theft, both from associates and customers. I saw advancements in single-unit tagging as well as checkout systems that aggregated carts to ensure items in the cart matched receipts. In the States, corporate policies often reduce or remove entirely the ability for both security guards and employees from engaging with shoplifters so these methods of mitigation can save retailers millions in annual shrinkage loss. But the costs and maintenance of the systems that make it work can be daunting and costly as well.


Euro23_MK2003- smart digital displayphoto: Messe Düsseldorf/ctillmann


Impact on the Planet

European retailers have removed the separation between business and sustainability, seemingly acknowledging that retail has an immense impact on the planet. Eco-friendly practices were an all-encompassing layer over the innovations and emerging standards of retail.

Euro23_FS2403-eco friendlyphoto: Messe Düsseldorf/ctillmann

While everyone is mostly on board with reducing degradation to the planet, some of the rapid adoption of processes are fueled by government mandates and regulations. The degrees of those mandates vary per country; however, the overarching vibe is knowing it will eventually get stricter, so start the planning now.


Euro23_FS2586photo: Messe Düsseldorf/ctillmann

The term “Full Circle” is replacing sustainability proving to be more comprehensive in terms of retail efforts. Full Circle incorporates not just the materials to make something, but also the entire process starting with raw materials sourcing, harvest practices (worker safety), transportation (right temp, least impact, breakage), manufacturing processes (environmental practices) and distribution. It also takes into account retail environments and, eventually, how products are disposed.


Euro23_MK24560-sustainabilityphoto: Messe Düsseldorf/ctillmann

A lesson learned from the pandemic as well as recent sustainability initiatives is traceability is both good for the environment and good for business, as it increases awareness of the supply chain and retail goods creation. That end-to-end awareness provides opportunities to increase both efficiency and sustainability.


Euro23_MK26029photo: Messe Düsseldorf/ctillmann

EuroShop 2023 provided great insight into how other markets are leveraging new ideas in retail. In addition to about seven miles of walking each day, I gained a broader view of retail innovations that directly connects to shopper wants and expectations – and knowing that is how retailers can apply all the tech to meet customers where they are.