Jos de Vries The Retail Company: "Let me tell you a store"

Christiaan Rikkers, General Director Jos De Vries The Retail Company.
I was recently interviewed* by a leading German retail magazine. As part of a series of interviews with famous retails and retail experts, they wanted our take on things. The theme was the striking revolution taking place in German retail. For the first time in decades, German retailers seem not to be working based on price alone, but acknowledging assortment and service as having added value.

These types of interviews are also valuable because they force you to take stock and look at what it’s really all about right now. To differentiate between short-lasting hypes and actual market trends and developments. Making the distinction is not always easy. In 2008, with the entire European economy growing and Eastern European nations developing at a breakneck speed, everyone seems to be looking for new opportunities. Innovation is the watchword. But is every innovation equally useful?

Now that funding is available for development, the question of what direction we want to move in must be considered carefully. Even in the best of times, money can only be spent once. Renewal does not always mean innovation, after all. By placing too great an emphasis on technological development, the most important communicative elements of the retail concept are often forgotten. And these are what consumers really care about. Is it time to take a step back from the cold, often useless technology, and put people back in the spotlight?

As an organisation, what is your position in these developments, what are your values and how do you express them in your day-to-day operations? What is your story? Today’s consumer wants the answers, but also wants to belong. ‘Who are you, where do you stand, and is what you’re doing acceptable’, asks the modern consumer. So Nike has to tell us where the shoes are made. And Ikea needs to explain where the wood in their furniture comes from. The key message of the interview is this: creating your own story is important. And activities like innovation, renewal and development are only useful and deliver returns if they serve this story. They need to fit into the whole. And the store… as always, this the place to tell your story to the consumer.

Our company also has a story. And a vision. That’s where this new book comes in. Our sixth publication since the company was established in 1986. This time, it’s a book filled with stories from enthusiastic people who pour their creativity into new developments in the retail sector, day in, day out. In addition to our own employees, trend setters, trend watchers and leading retailers tell their stories. We hope that reading their stories will inspire you to work on your own success story.
More information in our book "Let me tell you a store"
Please check the Jos de Vries The Retail Company website for further information and contact data.

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