Re_invent Retail: A Recap

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A few days ago we came together with professionals from aross the fashion and lifestyle industry to talk about the future of retail, and what digital means for brands.

In the first of our talks at Berlin’s Hallesches Haus, Steven Cook took the stage to talk about what his past—and current—experience has taught him about the state of retail today, and how there’s a way for all brands to find their place in the digital world.

Up next was Steffen Liese, Head of Retail EU at Urban Outfitters, who discussed the role sales staff play in the future of in-store experience. Customer experience is the most important factor for Urban Outfitters, so, Steffen explained, it’s vital for the brand to have staff who want to work in their stores.

After the talks, Anita Tillmann, founder of PREMIUM, and Niels Gerbe of Anotherproject were joined by both Steven and Steffen for the panel discussion, moderated by Björn Lüdtke, fashion journalist and our contributing editor.

Future of Retail Event Panel

The panel offered varying perspectives on the issues facing retailers. On the role of sales staff in customer experiences, Anita Tillmann said “sales staff don’t know enough about the brands. Brands can fix this with things like digital storytelling, so their own employees can learn about the brand and pass this on in the customer experience.”

Discussing the German retail market, Steffen Liese said “we’ve taken our eye off the ball—things internationally have moved much faster.” For an international retailer like Urban Outfitters this offers unique challenges, as they have to ensure a consistent brand across all of the varied markets in which they operate.

When one guest asked panel members for their last outstanding retail experience, Anita offered two very different responses: “The Store at Soho House, it’s so nice and personal, and they’re so into what they’re selling—it’s a great experience every time. But I love Amazon too. With online, the easier it is the better. And in-store, the friendlier the better. That’s what makes me happy.”

And finally, as one last insight from the evening, here’s Anita Tillmann’s advice to brands when it comes to making changes and preparing for digital transformation:

The main question behind everything should be what can I do for my customers to make things easier and better for them?

Thank you to Steffen, Anita, Niels, and everyone who attended.

Future of Retail Event Talks