Interview • 04.11.2019

Advice for small and medium-sized retail businesses: “Be a part of the change!“

A quick market analysis by Professor Rüschen of the DHBW Heilbronn

View of a smiling man listening to two other men talking....
Prof. Dr. Stephan Rüschen, lecturer in food retailing at the Baden-Württemberg Cooperative State University (DHBW) in Heilbronn, moderated the event Trendforum Retail.
Source: Trendforum Retail

Prof. Dr. Stephan Rüschen, assistant lecturer in food retailing at the Baden-Württemberg Cooperative State University (DHBW) in Heilbronn presented the second part of the Trendforum Retail 2019, which emphasized the challenges and opportunities for brick and mortar retailers. As a follow-up to the lectures and discussions, he summed up the findings for iXtenso.

Professor Rüschen, what is your takeaway from this event?

Prof. Stephan Rüschen: The event has shown that stakeholders across the industry are taking topics like digitization and artificial intelligence very seriously, but that they should also be cautious about being too euphoric. Those who want to use technology should examine very carefully what fits and matches their identity and strategy.

What is your advice for retailers?

Some digitize their processes more, some do it to a lesser extent. Either way, a spirit of change is in the air, which is why my advice to retailers is to be a part of the change! Keep up and stay well informed to make smart investment decisions. After all, there are so many options, making it impossible to implement everything all at once - not just because of the size of the investments, but because retailers would also need too much staff to get it all done.

What advice would you give to your students if you lectured about this event?

I would encourage my students to learn about big data and data evaluation. One issue that kept coming up was how you can translate data analysis findings into areas like marketing communication, digital signage at the POS and shopfitting. You shouldn’t have to make decisions based on intuition and emotion alone. That’s why I would urgently advise my students to learn how to deal with data. We don’t have information scientists who model data, but we have business economists who should have the ability to make decisions based on data.

Man with glasses speaks into a microphone and gesticulates....
Source: Trendforum Retail

In other words, data analysis is the way to achieve success?

It's a step in the right direction, but it can only yield success if you also have a vision and business strategy. Technology assists with strategy, not the other way around.

There was a lot of talk about strategies at this event. What was your takeaway pertaining to this subject?

There are only two successful strategies that work. The first one is a discount pricing strategy engaging in cost leadership, though this one was actually not the subject of conversations. Pursuing a differentiation strategy is the second option. When it comes to non-food retail, this means creating better customer experiences. Any path in between is very difficult.

Are you hopeful about the future of small and medium-sized brick and mortar retailers?

Yes, of course, I’m hopeful! The small and medium-sized retailers we featured at the Trendforum Retail prove that small and medium-sized businesses can still compete and survive if they play to their local strengths. The deep roots of SMEs in their community is a significant advantage and opportunity and something that’s somewhat more difficult to achieve for national retail chains. Despite the digitization of everything, it is critical for stores as an employer and contact to be an integral part of the city and community and highlight their distinct personality and character.

Interview: Julia Pott

related articles:

popular articles:

Thumbnail-Photo: Innovation in sales!
30.01.2020   #online trading #customer satisfaction

Innovation in sales!

N3XT by MediaMarktSaturn – finding ideas for customers and company

What do customers want? How can you create a more intense and powerful shopping experience? And what new technologies and innovations can help in this endeavor? MediaMarktSaturn has set up its own innovation unit to find answers to these and similar ...

Thumbnail-Photo: Smell – association - sale?
06.01.2020   #in-store marketing #brand management

Smell – association - sale?

How scents affect your customers

It’s highly likely that you have entered a store and immediately noticed a distinctive scent. The deliberate use of scents is no longer a rare occurrence. For quite some time now, companies like Abercrombie & Fitch, Motel One or Singapore ...

Thumbnail-Photo: Returns costing retailers billions each year...
09.01.2020   #online trading #dispatch

Returns costing retailers billions each year

B-Stock reveals the most returned Christmas gifts

The number of products being sent back on National Returns Day (2nd January) were expected to be 72 percent higher than the average day in December according to the Royal Mail - contributing massively to the yearly total of £60 billion worth ...

Thumbnail-Photo: Local food: consumers demand it, grocers need it...
27.02.2020   #supply chain management #food retail

Local food: consumers demand it, grocers need it

Forager and ReposiTrak partner to solve it

As shown in a recent survey from Forager, local food is key to grocers' success – and a weak point for many, with 73 percent of respondents either "somewhat" or "not" satisfied with the quality and availability of local ...

Thumbnail-Photo: Product information makes a beeline for stores...
02.01.2020   #online trading #data management

Product information makes a beeline for stores

Product data platform distributes information from manufacturers to retailers and on to customers

Online stores need great product descriptions and powerful product images to be successful. After all, this information must be able to substitute the first-hand experience online surfers would get if they visited a physical store. That’s why ...

Thumbnail-Photo: retail trends 1/2020 focus EuroShop 2020
05.02.2020   #digital signage #lighting systems

retail trends 1/2020 focus "EuroShop 2020"

The current issue with all trends around retail

Would you like to find out about the latest retail trends in technology, marketing, lighting, store design and logistics, browsing page by page? We would be happy to send you our current print edition retail trends on the focus "EuroShop ...

Thumbnail-Photo: New Mobile Phone Tracking service
30.12.2019   #mobile payment #smartphone

New Mobile Phone Tracking service

Less than 10% of U.S. consumers spend over $1,000 on their smartphones

While flagship smartphones that carry a hefty price tag are often at the forefront of technology news, data from The NPD Group’s new Mobile Phone Tracking service reveals that just under 10 percent of consumers are spending over $1,000 on ...

Thumbnail-Photo: The eye is shopping too!
20.02.2020   #brick and mortar retail #decorative lighting

The eye is shopping too!

Visual merchandising and product presentation at EuroShop 2020

For a successful purchase, it sometimes takes more than just a full wallet. Customers want to be addressed in the store - not only by staff, but also visually. We also took a look around EuroShop in terms of visual merchandising and product ...

Thumbnail-Photo: E-Commerce Day 2020 made by
13.01.2020   #online trading #e-commerce

E-Commerce Day 2020 made by

11 years e-Commerce Day in Cologne!

The e-Commerce Day - made by, offers online retailers, manufacturers and interested parties the opportunity to learn about the latest trends, the latest developments and interesting features in e-commerce and to exchange information with ...

Thumbnail-Photo: eBay: flexibility in payment
17.03.2020   #online trading #e-commerce

eBay: flexibility in payment

The UK will be the third market to introduce eBay’s managed payments experience

As part of modernizing its marketplace and creating a more streamlined experience for customers, eBay is expanding its management of payments to the United Kingdom. As part of the rollout this summer, the company will offer buyers flexibility and ...


POS TUNING Udo Voßhenrich GmbH & Co KG
POS TUNING Udo Voßhenrich GmbH & Co KG
Am Zubringer 8
32107 Bad Salzuflen
iXtenso - Magazin für den Einzelhandel
iXtenso - Magazin für den Einzelhandel
Celsiusstraße 43
53125 Bonn