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C-star Retail Forum Speaker Topic review - Mr.Michael Gerling from well-respected EHI Retail Institute in Germany


Michael Gerling is the CEO of the well-respected EHI Retail Institute in Germany. As a researcher he has been watching the retail scene for more than 25 years. With his presentation on the developments in retail industry including numerous international examples he opened the C-star Forum on April 26 and welcomed the audience of retail experts from all over the world. His advice for brick-and-mortar retailers: Concentrate on your unique qualities!


E-commerce has caused a trading up of the brick-and-mortar retail. More emotions and more services in the stores are required. Therefore retailers are renovating and redecorating their stores more often - investments in sales areas are increasing. At the same time online and offline are merging more and more. Screens, tablets or smart phones in the stores offer salespersons as well as customers the use of the internet at all times.


Another change in the retail industry is, that more often producers open up online or offline shops, partly they offer complete sales functions. That puts more pressure on traditional retailers. They have to concentrate on their unique qualities. A small toy store for example would do good to include courses in painting or handicraft work or the organization of i.e. birthday parties for children instead of selling standardized products online. Also services like reparation or maintenance will regain importance in retail. Repair of shoes for example, altering clothes and similar services return to retail landscape. Cafes and restaurants are included in stores more frequently. 


In Germany more than half of the Top-1000 online shops do omni-channel-retail. That number is increasing daily. EHI is predicting that there will be less pure player in future. Also the big player in e-commerce are opening up stores of brick-and-mortar. Amazon, Zalando and also Alibaba seem to be working on that.

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