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Assortments for the child and their potential: interview with Jens Fischer from K.U.L.T.OBJEKT

Jens Fischer, owner of K.U.L.T.OBJEKT

Jens Fischer, owner of K.U.L.T.OBJEKT

“Assortments revolving around the child are not really presented in a way that promotes sales”, claims Jens Fischer. In an interview with Kind + Jugend, the owner of K.U.L.T.OBJEKT brands and experience architecture analyses the potential for optimisation.

You are active in a variety of commercial areas in an interdisciplinary fashion. Where would you place the retail trade with products relating to children in a ranking of segments?

Fischer: At quite a low level of development, to be honest. The retail trade in the entire children’s segment, from prenatal through outfitting and clothing to toys, makes a somewhat dusty impression, for reasons I can’t really understand, seeing as there is such an enormous  emotional potential in this market.


Where do you see mistakes in the way of thinking of the trade?

Fischer: We are no longer in a situation of competition of availability, but rather of the competition for attention.

The motivation of a retail trader shouldn’t be to keep children dry, warm and full, but instead to make the child and parents happy. This message isn’t arriving, or is much too quiet.


What exactly is going wrong?

Fischer: The existing highly emotional potential of the segment remains completely unused, instead of utilising it in the store as a sales argument and instrument. Many toy stores are better warehouses. Many children’s fashion stores are set up and arranged exclusively according to the logic of the collections and the fashion programme. Stores with baby items and accessories, even those of very high quality, usually have a purely logistical character. Thus, they encounter the customers in the most emotional phase immediately prior to or following a birth at a purely rational level. The chance to create highly emotional impulses to act is often completely missed.


Whereby, there are few industries as innovational as the world of baby and children’s outfitting.

Fischer: … which applies to the manufacturers and suppliers. Their innovative strength comes far too little into play on the trade side.


Where do you see fields of action for optimisation?

Fischer: As a planner, I may allow myself to pose a question that might seem provocative: What in the world is this strict classification of stores according to segments and products all about? In almost every industry, the assortment concepts have been in a process of transformation for years now, because consumer behaviour has also changed. Moments of surprise are mixed into the assortments, uniform themes are loosened up with products from elsewhere that are suitable, curiosity is aroused, emotional markers are set, there is a sense of wonder and surprise; all of this to keep the consumers’ arch of attention high. There isn’t much evidence of conceptual thinking in the retail trade with children’s items. Thinking still takes place within rigid departmental limits, and sorting takes place according to product groups. Why?


How might a concept change be initiated?

Fischer: Those who move to the level of children to consider the store and products with a child’s eyes will reach a completely different conclusion with regard to the sorting and furnishing of stores. Children are led by completely different signals and evaluate things completely emotionally and intuitively. If I am able to also draw the perception of the mothers to the childlike, unprejudiced, non-rationally controlled level, then I will be successful in ensuring that two happy customers leave my store. That is the ideal case. – That’s just one example. The details of a concrete concept must of course be oriented to the individual focus of the assortment. The following generally applies: when children also decide what mama pays for, the decision making processes must be evaluated differently within a store conception.


What does your approach consist of?

Fischer: The following principally applies: there is only one person that can assure the future of the company. That is the customer. Those who can win over hearts will have no problem with heads.

Our approach is formed on the basis of cross-industry experience and knowledge of neuropsychological behaviour patterns. Realising this in physical store concepts demands a lot of know-how and creativity. We specialise in both.


Jens Fischer, creative head and owner of K.U.L.T.OBJEKT, will explain his suggestions and ideas for up-to-date retail concepts for the world of children and baby outfitting in two lectures in the context of the supporting programme of the upcoming Kind + Jugend.




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