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We need to talk – Guest commentary by K.U.L.T.OBJEKT

K.U.L.T.OBJEKT - We need to talk.

K.U.L.T.OBJEKT – We need to talk.

It is timid, not innovative and inflexible, and needs to do this and that to get business really moving again. There is no shortage of criticism of the retail trade. Instead of dividing with accusations, we should do everything we can to talk with one another without bias, is the opinion of Jens Fischer, CEO of K.U.L.T.OBJEKT brand and experience architecture.  

In crisis situations or when things aren’t going smoothly, there is often a tendency to quickly find a guilty party to really put the boots to. This automatism may be human, but it isn’t an attractive quality. And in the case presented, it leads to a dead end.

That many trading houses are at risk of losing the connection with a contemporary way of doing business can’t be attributed entirely to them. We service providers also bear a certain responsibility.

Fear governs in some trading houses. Instead of keeping the flow of information moving that a company urgently needs to avoid being digitalised away, entire executive levels appear to be preoccupied with holding onto to the legs of their seats. In many places we observe a paralysis in thinking and system that extends to the inability to reach decisions. Even smaller retailers often give way to the reflex to draw in their heads and tails and hope they will be spared from digitalisation.

Even at the trading events and congresses, where it’s all about innovation and the reinvention of the retail trade, the medium-sized companies, as well as the smaller and medium-sized chain store operators are usually underrepresented. And, to be honest, we are also surprised that they don’t break down our doors on a daily basis and request non-binding information and the exchange of ideas at a time that, with its digitalisation, is forcing everyone to question old customs.

The fear of the future, of change and uncertainty paralyses. In our section for store staging, where updated business formats, store design and customer experiences are involved, fear of high costs prevails. However, there is also fear of having something “forced upon them” by some know-it-alls that later proves to be unusable. Many retailers close down as a reaction. Not their shops, but their antenna systems.

The planners and service providers also bear a certain degree of responsibility for this paralysis. Quite a bit seems to have gone wrong in terms of communication in past years. While we bombard the retailers with appeals to act more in keeping with the perspective of their customers, we apparently too often ignore this advice ourselves.

We at K.U.L.T.OBJEKT firmly believe that every formal or informal exchange benefits the discussion partners. We see being open, approachable and networked as factors for success. We make active efforts to adopt the perspective of out potential customer, the retailers, to “take them with us” and make them familiar with our way of looking at the world of retail. Without reserve and open, regardless of whether an independent, owner-operated specialist business is involved, or a company with 30 outlets.

We therefore increasingly often activate a non-binding consulting component prior to a store conception or detailed planning, in which we send a retailer on a visual journey through their own segment – simply to allow them to become familiar with another way of thinking. Virtual reality is a sensible technology for this purpose. It makes it possible to visually “walk into” visionary, ideal store concepts. Thus it is possible without great effort and expense to make perceptible the emotional experience that a well-made store staging is able to activate for customers. It is thus relatively easy to make emotionally experienceable which neuropsychological, digital and staging methods are available in retail architecture, and how they can transform customers into a community.

We invite you enter into a dialogue with us, intensively and non-bindingly, on the occasion of Kind + Jugend.

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