by jan schemuth
the new normal
The Corona-related lockdown of physical retail has had a serious impact on people's shopping behavior - with major implications for the future. rpc has captured voices on this from Munich and Shanghai. We talk about the results with Jan Schemuth, Managing Director of rpc.
Jan, what major changes did you notice in the rpc markets as a result of the global lockdown?
Jan: The radical nature of the switch to mainly digital shopping has forced major upheavals in the behavior of many customer groups. Customers are usually adapting to the new situation faster than suppliers can react.
Especially in the premium market segment, for which the personal customer relationship represents an important quality and unique selling point, the adaptation of digital support functions is an indispensable hygiene factor. For the future, the effective interaction between digital service and the human factor of the customer salesperson will increasingly become a success factor.
Quentin Abel, Store Manager Loden Frey:
"Expectations of flexibility and speed have risen sharply. But also the interest in how we can meet the responsibility towards our employees. We are confident that our strengthened online competence will enable us to serve our customers even better after the lockdown."
rpc is represented on three continents and in nine markets. What characteristics do you observe, for example, in a market like China?
Jan: At first glance, the reactions of customers are similar, although in China the affinity for digital media is more pronounced. In addition, there is a much higher speed of the digital transformation processes, whereby only the urban regions with a pronounced willingness to consume can even be included in the analysis. But there is also a market in China for premium products with specific designs that are very well suited for sale in stationary retail, as Jerry Jao, Consumer Insight Expert at the Midea Group, confirms to us.
Jerry Yao, Consumer Insight Expert, Midea Group:
"Premium products with specific design are better suited for physical retail."
What can we learn from abroad?
Jan: We notice major differences when it comes to developing innovative stationary retail concepts. Whether it's about pop-up stores in New York, Fragrance Labs in London or the ECCO Quant-U Shop in Shanghai as a store with integrated co-production, in which the customer receives his shoe with a customized insole within a very short time - the major capitals are clearly setting the trends here.
With the current death of stores in German pedestrian zones, a rethink is now also taking place in Germany and we are noting requests for innovative solutions in our CX Design Line.
Ecco Innovation Lab Quant-U in Shanghai
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Jan SchemuthManaging Director
Jan Schemuth is managing director and chief financial officer of rpc. He is responsible for new client accounts and markets, business development, and operative business management.